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William Howard Safford

Criminal defense Attorney at Palo Alto, CA

5.0   3 reviews

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About William

Learn William’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    Before I moved to the Bay Area, I worked for criminal defense firms in Colorado and Ohio. We handled every type of misdemeanor and felony case, from the simplest infraction to serious felonies such as drug trafficking, sex offenses, armed robbery, and violent crime. I have experience working with witness testimony, scientific/forensic evidence, and the murky depths of criminal law.

  2. Federal crime
    From possession of a handgun to drug trafficking, more and more cases are being referred by local police to the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney. This can mean a complex, unfamiliar court setting, a lengthy wait before trial, and under the federal sentencing guidelines, much higher sentences! If you have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney, brought into a United States Courthouse, or investigated/arrested by federal agents, you are facing federal charges and the consequences are extremely serious!

  3. Speeding and traffic ticket
    Traffic citations can be expensive, annoying, and a major source of stress. Most people handle their own traffic cases without getting help from a lawyer, usually because lawyers charge more than a "small" case is worth. However, I believe that everyone deserves excellent legal counsel - no matter how "small" the case or how thin the wallet, you deserve a lawyer whose sole job is looking out for your interests.

William Safford graduated from Capital Law School, Columbus, Ohio, in 2009.  While living in Columbus, he worked for three years with the Franklin County Public Defender, helping with felony trials and appeals.  Prior to attending law school, he worked with several notable criminal defense litigators.  His case work with these attorneys included defense against charges of drug trafficking prosecutions, murder, money laundering, and a variety of other crimes, in both state and federal courts.


While still in law school, Mr. Safford represented multiple clients in trial court, including one whose case involved the county sheriffs, the county prosecutors, and the state attorney general as parties.  After the trial court decided in favor of Mr. Safford's client, the other parties appealed, and Mr. Safford successfully defended the case upon appeal.  O'Brien v. Whalen, 2009-Ohio-1807, Tenth District Court of Appeals.  This case was one of thirty-six trial court cases and six district appeals that Mr. Safford handled while working for the Franklin County Public Defender.


Mr. Safford is a member of the California Bar Association, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the American Civil Liberties Union.  He lives on the peninsula, but practices law throughout the Bay Area.




I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, orientation, or economic status, deserves excellent legal counsel.  To put it another way - every person, in every court case, no matter how "small" the case or how thin their wallet, deserves an attorney whose sole job is looking out for their interests.  This is not a new idea, but it is an extremely important one!

Licensed for 10 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 2012
Updated 12/03/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact William

Safford Legal
P.O. Box 211
Palo Alto, CA, 94302-0211


5.0 / 5.0
  3 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by anonymous | July 12, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Lawyer
I hired Mr. Sanford to represent me in a difficult matter, where the other side had grossly exaggerated events. Mr. Safford explains the process, is very fair in setting expectations for costs and retainer. He returns your calls within 24 hours or sooner. He was able to get the cases dismissed.
Posted by anonymous | March 4, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Criminal Defense Attorney + Social Justice Advocate
Defense attorney William Safford was hired by me for a complicated legal matter. William Saffords work ethic and performance is very strong. Examples, of this are answering your calls, following-up with you, educating you on the process, finally and most importantly arguing and winning your case for you. Seeking the best possible outcome for his clients. William is an excellent attorney. If you were thinking of using a Public Defender, try hiring the Law Offices of William Safford instead.
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Posted by Yonghong Shen | December 10, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great outcome for a speeding ticket
Mr. Safford helped my son with his speeding ticket from Oct. 2015 to Dec. 2015. My son had above 100 mph speeding citation. Since he was tried as adult and is 17 year old, the outcome for the case looked grave. In fact, the judge was so determined to teach the teenage a lesson; he refused to let the case go when the officer did not show up in court. Mr. Safford understood my son’s worries and the teenage mentality. He planned a strategy for the next scheduled court date. He is sympathetic to our situation and understood that this was also a teachable moment for the youngster. When the police officer did not show up the 2nd time, the case was dismissed. We had a better outcome than we hoped for, thanks to Mr. Safford! I gave him a five stars because he dealt well with our case and responsive promptly for all my inquires through email or text.
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AVVO RATING 6.4 (Good)


  • Capital University Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2009
  • Metropolitan St Coll
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 2005

Languages Spoken

  • English

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (0)
Endorse William
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse William. William is a social justice warrior who was chosen to represent clients. William is VERY competent. He is also HIGHLY ethical. I have worked numerous cases with him, consider him to be a mentor, and chose him to represent me in my traffic matter several years ago. I highly recommend this outstanding lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. A dedicated attorney, respected by his peers and a superb advocate for his clients in the courtroom."
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William Howard Safford
Criminal defense Attorney
Palo Alto, CA
Licensed for 10 years