My Role

I will zealously represent you. I will develop a sound strategy designed to get you acquitted at trial. As a San Bernardino defense attorney, I will work with you in this process to help you understand all aspects of the proceedings, all available defenses, and what to expect during a trial.

If we decide your case should not go to trial, and that a plea might be the right decision, I will work to reduce your charge, eliminate jail time, or lessen the severity of the punishment, depending upon the circumstances of your case.

“Hiring Gary Smith was the smartest thing we’ve ever done. He was always honest about what was going on in our sons case. He never made promises he couldn’t keep. He never sugar coated anything. Just an all-around honest, trust worthy attorney. And you can bet if we ever need to hire a lawyer again, we wouldn’t hesitate to call him again for representation. Thanks Gary, you’re the best!!!”
“Gary handled my family’s criminal case several years ago. He got my parents and brother out of jail for alleged crimes they did not commit. The courts acquitted my family of all charges. He then went after the county for the harm they had done to my family. Gary did not give up on any battle during our lengthy litigation process and I am very grateful for his help. Gary is an extremely capable attorney and an even better human being. His passion for what he does and his values set him apart from other attorneys that I have met over the years. He understands his client’s situations and helps them to the best of his ability. He is one of few reasons I am in college and planning to attend law school.”
A Client
“Gary is a very aggressive lawyer but a very warm hearted friend. I had several cases going at once and I felt absolutely ashamed, hopeless and scared. Gary rescued me from myself. I just wanted to plead guilty and start my time that I would get. He said absolutely not. He believed in me and proved to the courts that I was a worthy individual who made a few bad decisions and deserved to keep my freedom. I have not done a day in jail on any case that Gary represented me.
My rebel days are over so my conversations with Gary these days are about our kids and grandkids and beautiful places to vacation, but I can still call him for advice and he is always willing to give it. How many attorney’s do you know that will answer their home office phone up until 8pm? If you need Captain America to rescue you call Gary Wenkle Smith the best criminal defense attorney in the Inland Empire. I have a very special love for him, Thank you for being my friend and the best lawyer one could ever ask for.”
“In 2009, my family and I hired Mr. Smith to represent my brother who was charged with 3 counts of Homicide. After being tried in front of a jury, Gary was successful in proving Self Defense and got my brother acquitted of all charges. Mr. Smith was very thorough and accurate in providing a forensic expert, CCTV video, and witnesses during the trial. He had a great rapport with the jury, which I thought was extremely important, and he also maintained constant communication with my brother and my family during the evolution of the trial – that way, we were all on the same page, and knew what to expect. His weekly visits with my brother kept him affront of all procedures and gave my him the most vital thing of all – HOPE. I highly recommend Gary Wenkle Smith for anyone needing a defense lawyer. Simply put, he saved my family.”
“I didn’t know Gary prior to retaining him in 1990 to represent my wife in a federal criminal matter. Although he came very highly recommended, I was still surprised by what an effective lawyer he is. In response to my queries, I heard things like “a real warrior,” “someone who will go the distance,” “He will fight for you, like you’re his own blood.” I found that even those references didn’t describe the man I had the good fortune to retain. It only took a moment to realize I was dealing with a man of honor and integrity; someone with a passion for the law and fighting for his clients. His courtroom demeanor went beyond my expectations; his rapport with the judge was like no other I have seen. Gary is one of the only lawyers I’ve known who has been to hell and knows what it’s like — he will do everything he can to keep anyone else from ever having to go there. His representation of my wife was no exception, she walked out of the courtroom a free woman. Whenever I’m asked if I know a good attorney, I say “No, but I know a great one!””
“A few years back, my husband and I hired Gary because our son got charged with a felony as a juvenile. It was a scary time for us. Gary’s genuine concern for us as a family was outstanding and very comforting. He handled everything for us. His professionalism and knowledge of the system is outstanding. We were both very satisfied with how it was handled. I would and DO recommend Gary for any legal issues. This man is genuine and very good at his profession.”
“GARY WENKLE SMITH SAVED MY LIFE! My life was literally hanging in the balance, after a series of bad choices both alcohol and drug induced led me into an arson charge. Gary Wenkle Smith’s exceptional knowledge of the law coupled with his experience and the relationships he has formed in the judicial community allowed him to formulate a course of action that gave me a second chance to live a productive life.”
“Thirty years of trustworthy advice and service. Gary Wenkle Smith has been our “go to” attorney for our family for over 30 years. He is easy to get a hold of, no matter what time of day or night. He has handled all of our family cases, which have been a few, I must say, with the utmost professionalism. Without being too specific, he has kept our family members from being treated un fairly in the court system. Because of Mr. smith’s vast experience, and his many years of service in our community, and for our family personally, I would highly recommend him to anyone who finds themselves in a predicament where they are facing charges, and possible jail time, especially in criminal cases where the individual feels that they are truly innocent. Mr. Smith, knows the law, inside and out.”

Most clients charged with a serious felony are in custody throughout the course of the proceedings against them. The bail schedules are so high today, that most people cannot afford to post bail. For example, in San Bernardino County when a person is charged with murder, the bail is set at a minimum of one million dollars.

Enhancements, like use of a firearm, increase the bail. Probably most lawyers would not be able to post that amount of bail. Regardless, this is a common bail amount for that kind of crime. Persons charged with spousal abuse often have a bail of $100,000. Therefore, and most often, the client wants to get the proceedings under way quickly.

Although I understand that being in custody is not the ideal situation, preparing an adequate defense often takes more time than the sixty days from arraignment in Superior Court, and some cases get continued. I make certain that my clients understand what is taking place, and why I need more time, if that is the situation. I do not stall cases just for the sake of doing so. I do not take on more cases than I can handle, as I believe that my clients would suffer because I am simply too busy to serve them competently.


Is limited to intentional acts of misconduct on the part of law enforcement, including killings and beatings of people by law enforcement officers while acting “under color of law,” which means that they must have been on duty when the act complained of occurred.


I will gladly assist anyone in finding a personal injury lawyer to assist them with a claim for damages arising out of motorcycle or automobile accidents or any other injury arising out of the negligent conduct of others.

Serious Felonies That I Defend

Attempted Murder
Armed Robbery

Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Domestic Violence

Sex Crimes

Gang Allegations
Criminal Threats
Strike cases, including Third Strike cases

Gary Wenkle Smith is a Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Attorney serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

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