Professional Experience, Jury Trials & Other Notable Cases

During his 30 plus years experience as an Attorney in California, Mr. Smith has handled  nearly every kind of criminal case and is widely recognized by the Courts, Prosecutors and his peers as one of the area’s top Criminal Defense Attorneys. The overwhelming majority of Criminal Cases resolve through negotiation and plea bargaining. In fact, less than 3% of all criminal cases actually go on to Jury Trial, usually when the settlement offer from the prosecutor or the Court does not match the specific circumstance of the case. If you must go to trial, put Mr. Smith’s courtroom skills and Powerful Advocacy to work for your defense! Here is just a small sampling of some of our recent successes  on behalf of our clients:



Client charged with felony assault with deadly weapon with prior convictions for Felony Assault.  After extensive Defense Argument and Investigation, All charges and Probation Violations  DISMISSED by Prosecutor. (13CF3207)

Client charged with felony child abuse with allegation of serious bodily injury. Client found NOT GUILTY after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Susanne Shaw presiding)

Client charged in U.S. District Court with assaulting a federal officer. Charges against client DISMISSED after extensive negotiations with Assistant United States Attorney.

Client charged with multiple counts of robbery of Fashion Island jewelry store. Allegations of use of firearm, possession of firearm by felon, gang membership and taking over one million dollars value found not true after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Patrick Donahue, presiding)

Client charged as third striker with possession for sales, possession of body armor by felon, possession of ammunition by felon, gang membership. Possession of body armor Dismissed, found NOT GUILTY of possession of ammunition after JURY TRIAL (Hon. Greg Prickett, presiding). Defendant avoids mandatory life term.

Client charged in Santa Clara County with felony domestic violence and felony assault. Charge reduced to misdemeanor after JURY TRIAL. Client received no jail time and no additional programs.

Client charged, along with Co-Defendant (former Assistant Orange County Sheriff), with felony charges. Case DISMISSED by prosecutors at time of Grand Jury hearings.

Client with numerous prior drug convictions charged with possession of narcotics in vehicle. Case DISMISSED.

Extradition to Mississippi for convicted felon. Warrant was recalled, and he was not extradited.

Client charged with multiple counts of felony assaults with a deadly weapon and felony terrorist threats to a peace officer. All counts reduced to misdemeanor, professional license reinstated.

Client charged with assault with a deadly weapon, all charges DISMISSED.

Client charged with possession of firearm by felon, also his third strike. Motion to Suppress Evidence for illegal entry granted. Case DISMISSED.

Rape allegation against Client. Charges never filed after case discussion with prosecuting attorney.

Client charged with resisting arrest and assault and battery upon a peace officer. Client found NOT GUILTY on all counts after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Vickie Hix, presiding)

Client charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury arising from a dispute at the Irvine Lanes. Client found not guilty after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Mark Kelly, presiding)

Client is charged with felony arson at Santiago High School. Charges are DISMISSED at conclusion of People’s case. (Hon. Joy Markman, presiding)

Client charged with DUI with Prior and with Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test. Client sentenced to statutory minimum 96 hours with Credit Time served after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Kenneth Schwartz, presiding)

Client charged with Vehicular Manslaughter and Street Racing. Pretrial offer of 4 to 6 years State Prison. Client sentenced to Probation and one year local jail after JURY TRIAL. (Hon. Mark Kelly, presiding)

Client accused of forcible sexual assault. After extensive defense investigation and negotiation, NO CHARGES FILED.

Client charged in Mendocino Co. with transportation and possession for sale of 31 pounds of marijuana. After extensive negotiation and plea bargaining, felony charges DISMISSEDclient pleads guilty to simple misdemeanor possession.

Client charged in Riverside County with three counts of Felony Child Molestation. Client found NOT GUILTY or Hung Jury after Jury Trial (Hon. _____ Hanks, presiding)

Client Charged with First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances of Firearms Use, Gang Membership, Premeditation, and Deliberation, facing life in prison without Possibility of Parole. After Jury Trial,client found NOT GUILTY First Degree Murder, Not True Special Circumstance, NOT GUILTY of Second Degree Murder, Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter. Client faces maximum Sentence of 11 years custody. (Hon. Daniel McNerney, presiding)


Professional Experience

  • 2002 to Present — Private Practice, Law Offices of Joseph P. Smith, focusing in Federal and California Criminal Defense
  • 2002 to 2002 — Family Support Attorney, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 2001 to 2002 — Drug Court/Prop.36 Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 2000 to 2001 — Gang/T.A.R.G.E.T. Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Anaheim Police Department, CA
  • 1994 to 2000 — Training Coordinator, Legislative Liaison, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 1988 to 1994 — Major Narcotics Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 1987 to 1988 — Felony Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 1986 to 1987 — Misdemeanor Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 1985 to 1986 — Juvenile Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana, CA
  • 1983 to 1985 — Regulatory Affairs Manager, MCI Telecommunications, Western Region, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • 1978 to 1983 — Government Relations Manager, MCI Communications, Headquarters, Washington, DC


  • 1983 — Juris Doctor (J.D.) — George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • 1978 — Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) — Fordham University, New York, NY


  • State Bar of California
  • California Public Defenders Association
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) National Legal Committee
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Orange County Peace Officers Association
  • California Narcotic Officers Association Ð Life Member
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Teaching Experience

(including Homicide, Narcotic Laws, Searches, Confessions, Trial Tactics, Gang Crimes, Domestic Violence, Drunk Driving, Evidence Collection, Report Writing and Courtroom Testimony)

  • Anaheim Police Department
  • Asian Gang Investigators Association of California
  • Azusa Police Department
  • Brea Police Department
  • Buena Park Police Department
  • California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.)
  • California Department of Justice
  • California District Attorneys Association
  • California Gang Investigators Association
  • California Narcotic Officers Association
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • Cathedral City Police Department
  • Chapman University
  • Conference on Illegal Street Racing
  • Cypress Police Department
  • El Paso, Texas Police Department
  • Fullerton Police Department
  • Garden Grove Police Department
  • Huntington Beach Police Department
  • International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators
  • International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators
  • Irvine Police Department
  • Laguna Beach Police Department
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
  • Los Alamitos Police Department
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • National College of District Attorneys
  • National District Attorneys Association
  • National Homicide Symposium
  • Newport Beach Police Department
  • Orange County Crime Lab
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Department
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Advanced Officer Training
  • Orange Police Department
  • Palm Springs Police Department
  • Santa Ana Fire Department
  • Seal Beach Police Department
  • Tustin Police Department
  • Vehicle Theft Task Force Conference
  • Western States Information Network

Other Distinctive Experience

  • California Narcotic Officers Association, Statewide Prosecutor of the Year — 2000
  • Orange County Bar Association Board of Directors — 2001 to 2002
  • Member, Legislative Committee, California District Attorney Association — 1996 to 2001
  • Chair, Narcotics Enforcement Committee, California District Attorney Association — 1999 to 2001,
  • Member, Narcotics Enforcement Committee, California District Attorney Association — 1994 to 2002
  • Member, Training and Education Committee, California District Attorney Association — 1995 to 2001
  • Author, CDAA Narcotics Prosecution: Filing and Preliminary Hearing Guide
  • Board Member, Training Officer, California Narcotic Officers Association, Region V 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • President, Orange County Deputy District Attorneys Association — 2001 to 2002
  • Board of Directors, Orange County Deputy District Attorneys Association — 1998 to 2002
  • Orange County Narcotics Officers Association, District Attorney of the Year — 1992
  • Orange County Narcotics Officers Association, Prosecutor of the Year — 1994
  • Vice President, Tri-Cities Chapter, LeTip International — 200