Practice Areas

lady-liberty-image-onlyAll areas of Criminal Defense including:

Criminal Defense Including:

Driving Under The Influence

If you are arrested for a DUI charge, you face two separate legal concerns: (1) The loss of your driver’s license, and (2) jail time, fines and other penalties. Let me simplify each one:

(1) Driver’s License:  This is a proceeding with the DMV. Upon the arrest, the DMV will take immediate action on your driver’s license. The DMV can suspend your license from 4 months to 12 months. To protect your rights, you must request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. If you fail to do so you may lose your right to contest the DMV action.

The DMV hearing consists of an administrative hearing during which the DMV hearing officer must find:

  • that the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence.
  • that you were lawfully arrested.
  • that your blood alcohol content was 0.08 or greater.

DMV hearings must follow complex legal procedures. These hearings are very difficult for a lay person to effectively navigate. In choosing your attorney, it is imperative that you select experienced representation. In addition, it is very important that the DMV results coordinate with the actions your attorney takes in court.

(2) The Court Case:  The court system process for your criminal case consists of:

  • arraignment
  • pre-Trail Conference
  • potential Jury Trail

(if the actions are not coordinated, you may be subjected to a longer term of license suspension.)

If convicted, you can face fines, additional insurance requirements and premiums, potential jail time and an order to complete a Drinking Driver course.

The majority of DUI cases are filed as misdemeanors but can be elevated to a felony in certain situations. There are additional penalties for excessive speed, excessive blood alcohol level, priors, under age 21, driving without a license, accidents and an injury caused by an accident.

In light of my extensive exposure of over 25 years of dealing with DUI matters, I am able to provide a fair and honest assessment of your case after an initial consultation. I can tell you what to expect from the DMV and the court. Before becoming a defense attorney, I was a deputy district attorney prosecuting cases like these. Because of my experience as a DA, I know both sides of the courtroom and I have 25 years of experience with the prosecuting attorneys and judges in criminal court. I will work with you to explore the best defense strategy. I will also tailor the resolution to take into account what is best for you.

Going through a DUI case can be one of the most stressful and nerve wrecking events in a persons life and it can happen to ANYBODY!…..

I solicited legal representation from Stephanie after a referral and felt I was in good hands from the start. She and her team thoroughly examined and evaluated all aspects of the case, patiently answered all questions, and most importantly provided clear and detailed instructions on what steps to take in the process and when. She has excellent rapport with the courts and judges and defended my case to the full extent of the law.

There’s no substitute for caring and effective legal representation, and that is exactly what was provided to me. Don’t put your trust in an advertised DUI lawyer, take my personal testimony as a referral and ask for a consultation from Stephanie should the need arise. – Greg B., San Jose

The potential repercussions of a drunk driving conviction are numerous and can have long lasting effects. I will be available to meet with you to discuss the merits of your case for both DMV and the criminal process. If you would like me to review your case, CALL ME today.

Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter Cases

Gross Vehicular Manslaughter: Without Intoxication

The crime of gross vehicular manslaughter consists of a person driving a vehicle and while driving that vehicle, commits a misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act that might cause death, and the person committed the misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act that might cause death with gross negligence, and the person’s grossly negligent conduct caused the death of another person.

The crime of Gross Negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgment. A person acts with gross negligence when: he or she acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury; and a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk. In other words, a person acts with gross negligence when the way he or she acts is so different from how an ordinarily careful person would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of that act.

Examples might be, excessive speeding, recklessly passing cars, crossing double yellow lines (to pass or for other reasons), recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, impromptu street racing, dangerous driving prompted by road rage.

Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter Cases

The crime of vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence occurs when: while driving a vehicle, the person committed a misdemeanor, infraction, or other lawful act in an unlawful manner; the misdemeanor, infraction, or otherwise lawful act was dangerous to human life under the circumstances of its commission; the defendant committed the misdemeanor, infraction, or other lawful act with ordinary negligence; and the misdemeanor, infraction, or otherwise lawful act caused the death of another person.

The element that distinguishes Gross Vehicular Manslaughter from Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter is the degree of negligence required. Ordinary negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to oneself or another party. A person is deemed negligent if he/she does something or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation.

If you have been charged with Gross or Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter, give me a call so that we can go over your case to determine any potential defenses you may have.

Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence is the term that is used to describe verbal, physical or sexual abuse in intimate relationships: married, dating, children, parents.
Domestic violence can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the conduct which led to the arrest, the prior history of the accused and the accuser and the degree of injury.

Domestic violence cases require a through investigation of the history of the accused as well as the accuser and an in- depth analysis of the injuries alleged.

To properly represent you, your attorney must understand the case from a human level. This requires the attorney to do more than read the reports and gather evidence, but to listen carefully to what his or her client says, and to have the experience and intuition to put all of the information into the context of what happened and how events unfolded. Understanding the “why” is as important as the “what.”

This can happen to anyone. This offense can be very complex with multiple motivations by the accuser including potential media exposure, restraining order and custody battles.

Some of the consequences the accused face in a domestic violence case are immigration, loss of custody, and jail time. I have extensive experience working with the courts and am very familiar with how to work with investigators on your case.

When you need the very best . . .
I was fortunate to get Stephanie Rickard’s phone number from a friend at a time when I needed the advice and counsel of a good criminal lawyer. Even before I met her in person, she answered my questions and took my phone calls. Through the course of my case and afterward, she has proven to be an expert in her field, and a lawyer who commands the respect and admiration of everyone in the court system. She sets a high standard for all attorneys to meet, and I would recommend her without reservation. – Kevin S. San Jose

I have represented many individuals accused of a domestic violence offense, and I understand the complex interplays in the incident itself as well as the issues involved in restraining orders and media exposure. This is a very delicate area and I treat each client with the utmost care and concern. With my extensive background in this area, I am able to provide the most effective defense and representation unique to a case’s specific circumstances. If you would like me to review your case, please CALL ME .

Controlled Substance/Drug Cases

Controlled substances, under the influence, possession, possession for sale or transport,s imports and distribution of drugs are crimes that potentially have serious consequences: lengthy jail or prison time, and possibly having to register as a narcotics offender.

Experience is essential to navigating the resolution of such a case as most courts have a calendar dedicated to particular classes of offenses. In some areas there are also courts that deal with a combination of substance abuse and mental health issues. I provide a thorough analysis of your situation and can help define the best place to resolve it.

I have over 25 years of experience in dealing with everything from small cases of possession of marijuana to large cases involving trafficking. I have successfully defended cases resulting in limited or no jail time. I am particularly devoted to the treatment of the client and will stand beside you in representation and along all steps of your progress. In my experience, treatment can be very effective.

I can’t thank Stephanie enough…. she is not only a brilliant attorney, but a kind and compassionate human being with a beautiful heart! Stephanie went way beyond what you could expect of an attorney. I can’t put into words the depth of the kindness of this human being.
Her staff was always extremely nice, patient and empathetic to my situation, no matter how many times I would call in a state of panic.
Thank you so much for the words of wisdom, and encouragement each time we spoke, Stephanie! I can’t thank you enough, for you have given me hope and a deep belief that there are wonderful things ahead for me in my life! – Joseph P, San Jose

Substance Abuse with Mental Health Issues

I have extensive experience in dealing with substance abuse cases where there is a combination of factors, including substance abuse issues coupled with a mental health diagnosis. Often an accurate mental health diagnosis and treatment plan can result in a much better outcome of the underlying criminal matter.

Felony Criminal Cases

Felony criminal cases are the most serious class of crimes charged. They must be treated as such, and defended as aggressively as possible. The district attorney’s office is very zealous in these case matters and it’s important that you have an attorney who is prepared to match their intensity, and who has expertise and experience in working through a felony charge, who is familiar with the prosecution process and has seen the other side of the justice system. I am experienced in all aspects of felony defense.

I have practiced criminal law in the Bay Area for my entire career and have dealt with the judges, deputy district attorneys, probation officers and court staff on a daily basis.

Successfully Defending Felony Criminal Cases
In order to obtain the best results, we must gather all discovery; including all audio and video. Obtaining all available discovery through legal research is the key to a successful defense. It is also essential to establish a strong relationship with my clients with an emphasis on trust and honesty. As your criminal defense attorney, I am on your side and will work with you to obtain a successful resolution to your case, be it legal settlement or trial.

My approach is thorough. Once I have obtained all the evidence, I consult with investigators and experts to build your defense. This consists of interviewing all relevant witnesses, consulting with appropriate experts and examining physical evidence in order to most effectively present your defense. I am very thorough in preparing your case.

I am a licensed Private Investigator who has worked a number of cases with Stephanie. She makes sure that her clients are always given the best possible defense and that all stones are turned over during the investigation phase. With her vast experience in the criminal justice system particularly here in Santa Clara county, Stephanie knows how to get the best possible outcome for her clients. – Tony M. Santa Clara

The majority of the people I represent are law-abiding people who have become involved in a difficult situation. Let’s talk about your case and how I can help you. Give me a CALL.

Weapons Offenses/Assault With a Deadly Weapon Cases

Weapons cases tend to fall into two categories. The first is an accusation based upon the accused having a prior history or probation condition that prohibits them from gun or weapon possession. The second is where an object that is capable of a legal use is used in an illegal manner such as a car or a baseball bat.

Long story short, I was facing very serious weapons charges due to California’s extremely strict firearms laws. I am a law abiding citizen, former member of the military and career software engineer that messed up 20 years ago and California charged me with various weapons and ammo charges stemming from those previous mistakes. Stephanie worked diligently and with compassion on my case. She took the time to get to know me and my situation and ability to navigate the legal morass helped me out tremendously. I was facing multiple felonies and state prison time and due to her tireless dedication she worked with the courts to get me a SINGLE misdemeanor, dismissal of the major charges with a minimal fine and a few days of community service. Stephanie saved my life, my career and my freedom and she asked very little in return. Do yourself a favor and hire Stephanie and LISTEN to what she has to say to you. Follow her guidance and you will get the best possible outcome to your case. Stephanie is the type of team member that is always working for you and I cannot emphasize enough her skills in negotiating what is best for you. I hope to never require her services again, but if and when I do I sincerely hope she is there for me to fight by my side once again. When it comes to defending yourself in court, do no rely on luck – rely on Stephanie! G V. San Jose, CA

Each particular offense depends on the status and prior history of the accused. These cases must be handled on an individual basis to address the circumstances unique to the charge. The penalties will vary depending on factors such as the type of weapon and what it was being used for, whether or not it was loaded, and whether or not it was concealed. These cases require thorough research of the exact nature of the prior conviction as well as a thorough evaluation of the possible interpretations of the actions of the accused. I will investigate and obtain all the underlying facts in order to present the best defense for you. Once I gain a thorough understanding the unique circumstances of any case, I can determine how to best attack the “weapons” aspect of a charge.

Stephanie is a phenomenal lawyer who will do everything in her power to help you with whatever is necessary. She makes you feel comfortable and she makes you feel at ease in your time of need. I highly recommend Stephanie! – Adam H., Los Altos

Successful resolution of your case depends on your goals, we will work together to meet those goals. If you would like to discuss your case with me, please GIVE ME A CALL.

Theft Cases

A theft case typically involves taking property from another with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. The scale ranges from minor theft to more serious scenarios.

In some cases there are diversionary programs for minor theft and in more complex matters repayments of money can be effective in mitigating the consequences. My primary goal is to keep my clients charged with theft from serving jail time if possible and to assist in resolving the underlying issues. I will conduct a detailed interview with you to evaluate all possible defenses. We will review the prosecution’s evidence and utilize my investigation team. Each case is unique and my experience in all levels of theft cases will allow us to obtain the best possible result.

I don’t write reviews often but what Stephanie pulled off in court for me was nothing short of a miracle (At least for me). Long story short I fired my prior attorney who was telling me I was probably going to jail b/c Santa Clara Co likes to punish people, ok.. So on short notice I called Stephanie and she agreed to show up in court the next day. In less than an hour in court she saved my job, my home and my freedom. Needless to say she’s a top-notch lawyer. Thank you Stephanie! Roger Y., San Jose

If you are facing theft charges and would like me to review your case, please CALL ME.


Juvenile matters require the ability to relate to the client, the probation department, and the district attorney. In more serious matters edI work with programs providing appropriate alternative placement for minors when it becomes necessary to have them explore alternative living arrangements in light of the underlying offense. Each case is unique, but all juvenile and young adult matters require the ability to relate to all the parties while keeping the client’s future as a primary consideration. I enjoy working with juveniles and young adults and am skilled at negotiating alternatives that benefit the client and his or her future.

I have known Stephanie Rickard for over 20 years now and have had to reach out to her for several family members and friends when they have had legal problems. Her integrity, ethics and moral compass is so above the typical attorney. She is highly respected within the legal ecosystem, which includes the judges, opposing counsel, staff and court clerks. Stephanie is also extremely responsive which is so important when you feel like you are in a crisis. When you tell others you are represented by Stephanie Rickard, they all know her and say she treats you fair, with respect and will do a great job for you. Isn’t that all we want? If you have a legal problem, you want Stephanie Rickard in your corner. She will guide you to the right results, there will not be any surprises and you will quickly realize you hired the right attorney for the job. Stephanie is a ‘CLASS ACT’, very professional. I highly recommend her office and services. You are in good hands with Stephanie and I am never disappointed when I have to ask for legal help. Kris, San Jose


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