Skip to main content
Katherine Laurie Schwinghammer

About Katherine Schwinghammer

About me

I am a criminal defense attorney. The only type of cases I will accept are criminal defense cases and DUI defense cases. 

I have extensive experience handling DUI/driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, public intoxication, theft, domestic violence, assault, battery, vandalism, Vehicle Code violations, and many other types of criminal cases.  For the first three years that I was licensed as an attorney, I worked for the Public Defender's Office in Santa Barbara County. I handled a lot of cases in those three years and it was an incredible learning experience.

Since 2009 I have been in private practice. I want to put my knowledge and skills and talent to work for you, the people who hire me.

I have actual trial experience, trying criminal defense and DUI cases. There are a lot of attorneys in California who want to represent you in your criminal or DUI case, but some of those attorneys have never even tried a single case. I have successfully resolved many, many hundreds of cases. I have set dozens and dozens of cases for trial, but only nine of those have gone to trial.  (As of April 2013)  The rest received very good settlement offers or even dismissals on the eve of trial, so we didn't go to trial. Of the nine cases I took to trial, six were jury trials, and three were "court trials" with a Judge only, no jury.  Of those nine cases, five resulted in Not Guilty verdicts, Not Guilty of all charges.  One case resulted in a Hung Jury/Mistrial, where the jury could not agree on a unanimous verdict.

If you might consider taking your case all the way to trial, ask potential attorneys how many cases they have tried and what their "stats" are. Many attorneys will probably tell you that they "don't keep track," but perhaps the reason they don't keep track is because they don't win a high percentage of their cases?  That is, if they've even ever taken a case to jury trial as a defense attorney. I think there is a big difference between trying cases as a prosecutor and trying cases as a defense attorney.  Defending people is all I've ever done, through my whole career as an attorney. It's what I want to do.

A client told me recently that he had been trying to decide between hiring me and hiring a defense attorney who used to be a prosecutor. "That other attorney, he used to be a proseuctor, so he knows all the prosecutors, and they're his friends." The client thought that was a good thing -- that other attorney, the former prosecutor, he's friends with the current prosecutors. But is that a good thing?  The former prosecutor, he's used to prosecuting cases, and he's going to look at your case as a prosecutor and tell you why he thinks you're guilty. I'll look at your case from the other perspective and tell you where I think we might be able to find some flaws in the prosecution's case.  The former prosecutor probably cares what his old co-workers think of him, and will they still like him if he really *fights* for his client?  I wouldn't want an attorney who might have conflicted loyalty like that.  Defending people is what I do. Prosecutors who've been in court against me know that I will do whatever I can to fight for my client. My loyalty is to you.    

If you are facing criminal charges, whether it is your first experience with the criminal justice system or not, there is a strong chance that you might be feeling scared and confused -- and I can help you. I have the experience, knowledge and desire to fight for you and protect your rights.  I will provide you with an aggressive defense, and I will work hard to minimize the disruption to your life.  If you are my client, I will keep you informed, I will explain things fully, and I will be personally available to you as long as your case lasts.    

Whether you retain me to represent you or not, I hope that you obtain the very best result possible for the circumstances you are in.