San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney

  • San Jose's biggest and most experienced criminal defense firm
  • Ex prosecutors and Police officers working on your side
  • Immigration consultations included in fee
  • Reasonable pricing
If you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor or a serious felony in the San Jose or Silicon Valley Area, a criminal defense attorney can help. At Summit Defense, our goal is always the complete dismissal of all charges. If this isn’t possible, we often negotiate solutions for our clients that allow them to avoid jail and sometimes even prosecution.


Summit Defense
2570 North 1st Street , Second Floor San Jose, CA 95131

San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney

  • San Jose's biggest and most experienced criminal defense firm
  • Ex prosecutors and Police officers working on your side
  • Immigration consultations included in fee
  • Reasonable pricing
If you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor or a serious felony in the San Jose or Silicon Valley Area, a criminal defense attorney can help. At Summit Defense, our goal is always the complete dismissal of all charges. If this isn’t possible, we often negotiate solutions for our clients that allow them to avoid jail and sometimes even prosecution.


Summit Defense
2570 North 1st Street , Second Floor San Jose, CA 95131
Last Modified: March 11, 2024

San Jose criminal defense attorney

Summit Defense is San Jose’s premier and oldest criminal defense firm. With over 120 years of cumulative experience, our trial-tested staff of criminal lawyers and support staff understand what it takes to face a criminal charge and what it takes to endure the often-painful process of a criminal prosecution.

Our attorneys have one simple starting point: to make every effort to keep our client’s record clean. When that is not possible, we use a combination of litigation and mitigation strategies to provide you with the best outcome possible. In other words, our team of criminal lawyers strategically isolates elements of the case that may be problematic for the prosecutor while simultaneously presenting our client in the best light possible.

Our case results truly speak for themselves, and as your criminal defense attorney, we’ll go above and beyond to exceed your expectations by making the most out of your unique scenario within state and federal courts.

Below, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of criminal law and the criminal justice system. Contact us online or at (408) 333-9622 to speak directly with experienced criminal defense attorneys during your free consultation. Our criminal defense law firm is here to fight for you.


How to find the best San Jose criminal defense attorneyThere’s no denying that criminal charges are stressful, and choosing the right criminal defense lawyer for your case is much easier said than done. There are many San Jose criminal attorneys out there to select from. Still, you should know that your lawyers have experience handling criminal charges similar to yours. You also want to hire a legal team that has good relationships with prosecutors in San Jose, California.

A few tips to keep in mind as you’re trying to find the best criminal defense lawyers in Santa Clara County include:

  • Your lawyer should be very responsive.
  • The right attorney will specialize in criminal law.
  • Choose a law office with experience within San Jose local courts (knows the local district attorney/are former prosecutors).
  • Check reputable sources to verify the law firm’s expertise within defense law.
  • Ask for referrals from past clients who faced similar legal issues as you.
  • Top-rated San Jose, CA attorneys will fully understand the basics of law and will be able to explain your charges to you thoroughly.
  • Make sure your attorney provides a precise payment plan.
  • Try to gauge the attorney’s overall enthusiasm.
  • Make sure they’re experienced as a trial attorney.

At Summit Defense, our law firm has the experience needed to put your case in the best position possible. We strive for a favorable outcome with every client, and we always put the client’s needs first. Contact us today to schedule a case consultation with our criminal law attorney.


There are countless situations where an individual must hire a criminal defense lawyer. Summit Defense has the experience and connections in the San Jose criminal justice system to provide you or your loved one with a comprehensive strategy. You can get a good glimpse into our past success by simply reading our reviews.

There are plenty of crimes we defend. A few examples of common criminal cases we handle include:

  • Violent crimes;
  • Drug crimes;
  • White-collar crimes;
  • Murder cases;
  • Misdemeanors;
  • Felony charges;
  • Rape charges;
  • DUI/DWI;
  • Assaults;
  • Domestic Violence;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Grand theft; and
  • And many others

You’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney when you’re facing charges. Our experienced law firm has decades of experience. When you need someone in the Santa Clara or San Jose area who practices criminal law, call our team.


What does a criminal lawyer doUnderstanding what our San Jose, CA, attorneys will do for you or your loved one throughout your legal proceedings is essential. The Summit Defense law offices have seen criminal charges in many shapes and forms, so we know the differences and similarities throughout all scenarios.

Although everyone’s criminal charges are unique, a few core components of our legal representation include:

  • Case Evaluation: When you contact us for a free consultation, our San Jose criminal defense lawyers will get as many details about your unique legal situation as possible. We’ll ask questions to learn your case’s strengths and weaknesses, and this crucial information will dictate your best course for legal action.
  • Case Investigation: Our team will comprehensively investigate your case after conducting our thorough case evaluation. This investigation will be aimed at discovering specific avenues of acquittal. We will speak to police officers, eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, and anyone with important information about your case. This investigation process will go a long way toward developing a solid defense. We’ll also review the prosecution’s case to find holes in their case and plan our strategy.
  • Evidence Analysis: This is where your defense attorney will carefully study all the facts and theories that apply to your case.
  • Continued Client Contact: You’ll be kept in the loop throughout every step of these processes so you’ll know when certain developments arise and how your course for legal action expands. Communication is vital because we understand how essential these services are for you and your future.
  • Jury Selection: Your San Jose criminal defense lawyer will be integral during jury selection because removing biased jurors will give defendants a better likelihood of acquittal.
  • Plea Bargaining: Negotiating with prosecutors and reviewing plea bargain scenarios could be an option. We will provide you with all the information you need to decide whether a plea deal is in your best interests.
  • Trial Participation: In some cases, we may recommend taking your case to trial. This is where we present your case to a judge or jury and let them decide. This will include examining witnesses and cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses. The goal is to convince the jury of your innocence or the prosecution’s failure to meet a sufficient burden of proof. We will discuss your case with you if we think a trial is in your best interests
  • Sentencing: If our client is found guilty or accepts a plea bargain, our job will be to represent you during the sentencing negotiations. We’ll help limit the amount of incarceration time or help you obtain alternatives to incarceration.


The overall costs of hiring a criminal defense attorney will largely depend upon the complexity of your unique case, your attorney’s overall experience, and where you’re located.

The three main payment options for a criminal law specialist are:

  • Hourly billing;
  • Case billing; and
  • Retainer fees

Each payment plan will have pros and cons; you can learn more about paying a defense attorney here. We will be completely honest and transparent about our fees and costs to ensure you are not surprised by anything.


What if I can't afford to hire a San Jose defense attorneyA Santa Clara County Public Defender is affordable if you feel you can’t afford a private San Jose criminal defense attorney. San Jose, CA, has great public defenders. We strive to make our services as affordable as possible, so please reach out to us to learn more.


  • Assaults;
  • Deadly weapon assaults;
  • Battery of police officer;
  • Battery that causes bodily injuries;
  • Child pornography;
  • Child molestation;
  • Drug crimes;
  • Domestic violence;
  • DWI/DUI;
  • Expungement;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Grand theft;
  • Federal cases;
  • Marijuana law;
  • Indecent exposure;
  • Hit and run;
  • Other types of sex offenses;
  • Shoplifting/Petty theft;
  • Small business and professional licensing;
  • Prostitution;
  • Probation violation;
  • Rape;
  • Resisting arrest;
  • Registration of sex offenders;
  • Solicitation;
  • Statutory rape;
  • Sex crimes;
  • And many more.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes in California are offenses that result in physical harm or threat toward another individual. These can range from more severe crimes like murder or manslaughter to less severe like simple assault. The penalties for violent crimes typically depend on the severity of the offense and any prior criminal history of the offender. When a weapon is used or serious injury results, the punishments can be incredibly stringent.

Sexual Offenses

Sexual offenses in California encompass a range of non-consensual or unlawful sexual conduct. Crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and child molestation fall under this category. Convictions for sexual offenses can lead to lengthy prison sentences, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and significant societal stigma. It’s imperative for those accused to seek legal representation, given the severe consequences.

Property Crimes

Property crimes involve theft or damage to someone else’s property without the use of violence or threat against the person. Common examples include burglary, theft, and vandalism. These crimes can range in severity from petty theft, like shoplifting, to more serious offenses, like grand theft auto. The penalties vary widely, from fines and probation to significant jail or prison time.

White Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes in California are non-violent, financially motivated offenses, often involving deceit or breach of trust. Embezzlement, fraud, and identity theft are typical examples of these crimes. While they don’t involve physical harm, the financial damages can be extensive, leading to severe penalties. Offenders can face restitution, hefty fines, probation, or incarceration.

Drug Offenses

Drug offenses in California relate to the illegal possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking of controlled substances. Penalties for these crimes can vary depending on the type and amount of drug involved, the intent (personal use vs. sale), and any prior convictions of the offender. It’s essential to be informed about current regulations to avoid unintentional violations. As social attitudes evolve, so do the laws, particularly as they pertain to marijuana. Reach out to us to learn more.

What Happens After an Arrest in San Jose?

We understand that being charged with a criminal offense is stressful. Our team is here to guide you through the legal process. Some of the steps that will follow include:

Arrest and Miranda Rights

Upon arrest, law enforcement must read the individual’s Miranda rights, ensuring they know their right to remain silent and an attorney. These rights protect those accused from self-incrimination. Officers typically make an arrest based on probable cause, believing the individual committed a crime. We will make sure your rights were and are respected during the process.

Booking Process

After the arrest, the individual is taken to the police station for the booking process. This involves recording personal information, the alleged crime, and taking fingerprints and photographs. Personal belongings are typically confiscated and stored until release. The police will also check for any existing warrants. This information is stored in the system, establishing an official arrest record.

Determination of Bail

Depending on the crime’s severity, once booked, the individual might be able to post bail. Bail is a set amount of money acting as insurance between the court and the person in custody. If the individual can pay or secure bail, they can be released until their court date. If they cannot pay, they’ll remain in custody. Judges usually set bail amounts, but some common offenses have predetermined bail amounts.

Initial Appearance or Arraignment

The arrested individual will have an initial appearance or arraignment in court. Here, they are formally charged with a crime. The judge will explain the charges and ask if the defendant needs an attorney. A public defender may be appointed if the defendant can’t afford one. The defendant will also enter a plea: guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury

In some cases, a preliminary hearing or grand jury proceeding to determine if there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial. During a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor presents evidence, and the defense can counter it. Alternatively, a grand jury reviews evidence in private and decides whether to issue an indictment. This step ensures a valid reason to continue with the legal process. Not all cases will involve this step, especially if they are misdemeanors.

Criminal Trial

If the case proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defense will present their evidence and arguments before a judge or jury. Witnesses might be called, and evidence is presented. The defense and prosecution will both make closing arguments after all evidence has been submitted. Then, the jury (or judge in a bench trial) will deliberate and render a verdict: guilty or not guilty. If found guilty, sentencing will follow, either immediately or at a later date.

Sentencing and Potential Appeals

If convicted, the defendant will face sentencing, ranging from fines, probation, and community service to incarceration, depending on the crime’s severity. The judge considers various factors, including the nature of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal record, and any remorse shown. After sentencing, the defendant can appeal the conviction or sentence. An appellate court reviews the case for any legal or procedural errors. If errors are found, the case can be retried, the sentence modified, or the conviction overturned.

Frequently Asked Questions About San Jose Criminal Cases

Our legal counsel will always answer your questions before proceeding with criminal defense cases. Some of the most common questions our clients ask us include:

Miranda Rights are a set of rights the police must inform you of when you’re arrested. They include your right to stay quiet and your right to have a lawyer. We will make sure your rights are protected.

A felony is a more severe crime than a misdemeanor. Felonies usually have harsher punishments, like longer jail time. Misdemeanors are minor offenses that might result in shorter jail time or a fine.

Bail is like a promise made with money. If someone pays bail, they can leave jail but must return for court dates. If they don’t return, they lose the money and can be arrested again.

A public defender is a lawyer who helps people who can’t afford to hire their lawyer. They defend their clients in court and give legal advice. Everyone has the right to a lawyer, even if they can’t afford one.

An appeal is when someone asks a higher court to review their case because they think a mistake was made. If you are convicted and we think you have grounds for appeal, we can explore this option with you. In some cases, your conviction can be overturned, and you might be given a new trial.

Contact Our San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney Today To Schedule a Free Case Consultation

Contact our San Jose criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultationIn California’s criminal justice system, having a knowledgeable and dedicated advocate by your side is essential. Summit Defense has some of the best San Jose criminal defense attorneys ready to fight for your rights and guide you every step of the way.

Remember, the stakes in criminal cases are high, and early legal intervention can make all the difference. Don’t wait—contact us today to ensure the best defense for your case.


Hall of Justice

191 West Hedding Street San Jose, CA 95110
Cases Handled: If you are accused of committing any criminal offense in San Jose, your case will likely be handled at the Hall of Justice.
(408) 808-6600

Family Justice Center
Courthouse (FJCC)

01 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Cases Handled: Drug charges
Criminal Court Calendar : Santa Clara Country
(408) 792-4200


The Main Jail

All inmates are initially booked through this correctional facility in Downtown San Jose.

Elmwood Correctional Facility

This correctional facility in Milpitas has complexes for both male and female inmates.


From North (River Oaks)
From East (Berryessa)
From South (Downtown San Jose)
From West (Santa Clara)
Meet The Team
With over 120 years of cumulative and exclusive Criminal Defense experience, our reputation for aggressive and results oriented performance, whether in State court or Federal Court, has been documented by several Bay Area news channels and vetted by hundreds of satisfied clients. Our success and industry recognition is the result of our EXCLUSIVE FOCUS on criminal defense; we don’t accept personal injury or family law cases. This single-minded focus allows us to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of legal doctrine and provide you with the best results possible.
our attorneys
James Reilley

Successful Case Results in San Jose

Mortgage Fraud
Domestic Violence
Possession of Drugs for Sale


Our firm focuses exclusively on criminal defense matters.

Client Testimonials

Real People. Real Stories.
Summit Defense is nothing short of AMAZING, namely, Rabin N. When I caught my case, I was scared out of my mind and didn’t know what to do or what to expect, Rabin kept gave me realistic expectations but got me THEE BEST outcome imaginable. I was facing 3-5 years IN PRISON, and walked away with NO JAIL TIME!! I will forever be grateful for his knowledge and expertise!! This man KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING and is VERY WELL CONNECTED!
Michelle C.
San Jose
After my son’s arrest, I met with several attorneys who promised miracles for very high fees.  I ended up hiring Summit Defense right before the Preliminary Hearing in the case.  If you are looking for honest and skilled lawyers, choose Summit Defense.  Despite several mistakes by my first lawyer, Mr. Weese was able to correct the record and get us the best results at a reasonable price.
Sunny c.
Los Altos
Thank you Mr. Riley for not giving up and saving our family from ruin.  I can’t imagine where I would be if it weren’t for your diligence and amazing talent.  You are truly one of a kind Mr. Riley and I will be greatful for you for the rest of my life.
Marcus P.
San Jose
The attorneys at this firm are amazing!  It  took two years to resolve my case and through out everyone was amazing.  Special mention for Jessica, the paralegal who worked tirelessly with me to deliver all the documents needed and was probably my best friend for the entire time.
Timothy C.
Amazing lawyer and just a kind, no bullshit human being.  Told me what could be done and did it for half the price and ridiculous promises other attorneys delivered.
Ginger W.
Thank you for everything.  Your empathy, diligence and for not giving up.  Highly recommend if you get a DUI.
Tony F.
I have known many lawyers in my day and these guys are top guns. Richard Weise was professional and  really went to bat for our whole family.  Highly recommend if you need a criminal lawyer.
Connie L.
Can’t express how pleased with Tennille Duffy.  She is the most talented attorney I have seen and challenged every detail and never backed down.
Athena H.
Forever grateful to whole team of attorneys for doing an outstanding job on a DUI case. Very responsive and talented. Richard is an exceptional lawyer and I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking a criminal lawyer.
Sophie H.