I am Ryan L. Smith.
I have practiced criminal defense in Alameda County, San Joaquin County, and Contra Costa County (in the Dublin, Oakland, Manteca, Stockton, Lodi, Martinez, Pittsburg, and Richmond courthouses) since 2013.
I have been passionate about criminal defense, and the ethics of being an attorney, since I was 17 years old:
As a teenager, I was cited-released by police for “Street Racing.” I hired the first lawyer I spoke to. He told me that unless we won the case, or negotiated a good plea bargain, I would be convicted of a misdemeanor, suffer two driving points, incur thousands of dollars in fines, and possibly go to jail for up to 6 months.
Years later, after becoming a lawyer, I realized this attorney exploited and incited unreasonable fear in me to coerce me to hire him. He didn’t care about my best interests, he only cared about his profits. He never told me my case might be charged merely as an infraction (i.e. a “ticket”), with no possibility of jail, a few hundred in fines, and one DMV point. He never told me the case might not be charged at all. He never told me I could expect to be informed of whether the charge was an infraction or misdemeanor at the first court date, and given the opportunity to hire a lawyer afterward. He only made me feel pressured to hire him, and immediately.
Had I known then what I know now, I would not have spent all the money I saved for college on this lawyer, when ultimately no misdemeanor charge was ever filed against me.
American Bar Association Model Rules for Professional Conduct, Rule 1.4(b) states:
“A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.” I take that VERY seriously. I explain concepts THOUROUGHLY. I want all clients, and potential clients, to be able to make INFORMED decisions; even if that means not hiring me, or waiting to make that decision.
I begin all my cases by having a long, free initial consultation. I typically discuss: how “charges” get charged, and along what timeframe; minimum and maximum consequences for the potential charges, and common “lesser-included” offense punishments as well; what happens at Arraignment; what happens after Arraignment; my approach to plea bargain negotiations; what “Diversion” and “Pretrial Motions to Dismiss or Suppress Evidence” are; some common or possible defenses to the potential charges alleged; and our standard billing practices.
Guilty or innocent, I treat all clients with respect and sensitivity. I believe we as humans are all just one or several circumstances apart from one another — meaning we are all capable of making the same mistakes many of my guilty clients have made; none of us are superior beings.
After graduating Granada High School (Livermore, CA), I completed a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree at UC Santa Cruz in 3 years. I graduated Golden Gate University Law School in 2012, from the “Honors Lawyering Program” and with a “Certificate of Specialization with Distinction in Criminal Law.” I passed the bar exam my first attempt.
Prior to taking the bar exam, I held internships at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and First District Appellate Project. I understand how cases are treated inside the prosecutor’s and public defender’s office. From 2013 to 2022, I practiced criminal defense with attorney Ivan O.B Morse at Morse & Associates in Dublin, CA.
I’ve represented hundreds of clients; negotiated countless dismissals; and prevailed on many Motions to Suppress Evidence and Motions to Dismiss the Case. I’ve won and lost Jury Trials and Appeals. I’ve had property returned to my clients; $0 damages awarded at Restitution Hearings; and prevented driver’s license suspension at DMV Hearings. I’ve had dozens of Arrest Records Sealed, and even more Convictions Expunged.
If you’ve been arrested, cite-released, or contacted as a suspect in an investigation...
or have a Conviction to Expunge, or Arrest Record to Seal...
(in Alameda, San Joaquin, or Contra Costa County)
Contact me, Ryan L. Smith of RLS Criminal Defense for a FREE consultation.