Founding attorney Michelle Spaulding is as comfortable in the courtroom as she is in her own skin. Her credentials include a law degree from the nations’s top law school — Harvard and an outstanding track record defending clients accused of serious felonies including sex crimes.



Charles Luckman

Mr. Luckman earned his law degree from Cambridge University, which is one of the top law schools in the world. He is licensed to practice law in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and has practiced Criminal Defense Law for nearly 40 years with the last 18 years in California.

Sacramento Criminal Attorneys and Criminal Defense Lawyers

How our firm can help you:

  • Early strategies to avoid prosecution
  • Negotiation to drop or reduce charges
  • Deferment programs to avoid jail
  • Not Guilty verdicts at trial
  • Avoid deportation - Immigration attorney on staff

Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys defends people accused of all criminal law matters including misdemeanors, felonies, DUI and juvenile cases throughout Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and Solano counties.

Former clients have told managing attorney Michelle Spaulding that they are “forever grateful” and that they “would not trust their life in anyone else’s hands.” These remarks were earned as a result of the legal team's unrelenting pursuit of innocence on behalf of their clients.

Whether clients are charged with a first time DUI, domestic violence, a petty theft or a serious felony such as embezzlement, assualt or a sex crime, Ms. Spaulding and the legal team understand that their role as criminal defense attorneys is to fight to win. Unlike other firms, Spaulding Campi never delegates clients to junior level associates and the firm's attorneys are not afraid to take cases to trial. In fact the firm's attorneys are more often in court than in their offices.In all circumstances, the goal is a complete dismissal of charges or an acquittal at trial.

The firm offers a free initial consultation, affordable fees and accepts payment plans under most circumstances.

Call the firm at (916) 330-4505 to schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento criminal attorney.

How Can We Help You?

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    Why Hire Us?

    1. Cases Handled Only by Highly Experienced Attorneys
    2. Many firms have a few highly regarded and experienced criminal defense attorneys at the top who only take on the firm's biggest cases. However, these firms also have junior level associates who handle most of the routine cases. Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys does not take this approach. Rather, the firm's attorneys are highly experienced with top academic credentials and decades of experience. This means that even for a minor offense such as a first time DUI, clients benefit by having a team of senior level trial attorneys fighting for them.

    3. Focus on Frequent Client Contact Including Access to a Client Portal
    4. Some of the larger law firms — and all public defenders — take on far more clients than they should.  The result is that clients can't reach their attorneys when they need to and their cases don't receive the attention that they deserve.  Being charged with a crime is a stressful and potentially life-altering experience. The attorneys at Spaulding Campi and their support staff pledge to provide frequent updates to insure that clients are in the loop at every stage of the case. The firm is also one of the few which gives clients access to their case status through a client portal. The portal allows clients to login anytime to view their case calendar and share information confidentially with their attorneys.

    5. Only Criminal Defense
    6. The attorneys at the firm are not interested in dog bite cases or divorce law. They recognize that a practice with a 100% focus on Criminal Defense in the Sacramento area gives them an advantage compared to attorneys with a general practice.

    7. Immigration Expertise
    8. If you are charged with a crime in Sacramento and are also a non-citizen, you face additional complications in your case. Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys consequently works with a criminal immigration law expert who becomes part of the defense team in these situations.

    9. Known Throughout the Sacramento Area
    10. The Spaulding Campi criminal defense lawyers take on cases only in the Sacramento area and the surrounding counties...but not in the San Francisco Bay Area or elsewhere. This means that the firm's defense attorneys are Sacramento insiders. They are known and respected by the local district attorneys, the judges and the police officers. This local familiarity make them more effective than firms which have a wider practice and only occasionally visit the Sacramento region.

    11. Not Afraid to go to Trial
    12. Sometimes the best results in a criminal case come from playing hardball with the District Attorney and pushing a case to trial. Many criminal defense firms take the easy way out and settle early without sufficient fight. At Spaulding Campi, the attorneys know from experience that best results in criminal justice come when the prosecutors know that the defense has a track record of going to trial and winning at trial.

    How Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyers Help Their Clients at Every Stage of the Criminal Law Process

    Being charged with a crime of any kind can be a terrifying experience, especially if it's your first brush with the law. If you’ve been charged with a crime in the Sacramento area, it’s important to understand how the California criminal law process works and understand why it's important to have the best possible criminal attorneys on your side.

    This primer will get you started, but keep in mind that every case is different and you are advised to sign up for a free consultation to understand your options.   Our legal team has successfully defended most every type of criminal case ranging from first time offenses like domestic violence to very complex cases involving strikes, financial fraud, wrongful conviction appeals and homicide.

    Here is a timeline of the stages of a criminal case in Sacramento from investigation through appeals. At every stage there are strategies that our criminal defense attorneys use with the goal of getting your case dropped or dismissed.


    Under Investigation for a Crime?

    If your case in in the "pre-file" stage, a criminal defense attorney can influence whether or not your case gets filed.

    Many cases start with an officer giving you a citation or arresting you on the spot for committing a crime, like driving under the influence.

    However, depending on the crime, you may not even be aware you are being investigated. For example, a witness might implicate you, or DNA results might place you at the scene of an earlier crime. If this is your situation, there is a narrow window during which an attorney can influence the decision whether or not a case will be filed.

    Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys are often retained by clients who are either a) under investigation, or b) concerned about the possibility of arrest. The best possible outcome in a case is to prevent charges from being filed in the first place.


    Questioning by Police

    A criminal defense lawyer will advise you regarding your rights and can speak on your behalf.

    Talking to the police without a criminal attorney present can hurt you more than it can help you. Keep in mind that the police are speaking with you because they suspect that you committed a crime. If the police have enough evidence to arrest you, it's unlikely that you'll talk your way out of it.

    Even if you believe that you are innocent, it’s still easy to slip up and unintentionally tell a small white lie. If the police have evidence to show your little white lie is just that, they will use it to challenge your credibility. Even if you don’t tell any white lies or make a mistake, you may still give away information that can be used against you to bring charges.

    A truthful story is one that is hard to tell in the exact manner multiple times. This means that if you give one statement at the police station and another conflicting statement during trial, the prosecutor may try to pick apart any little changes or discrepancies as a way to discredit you. The police aren’t concerned with helping you. Their job is to help provide evidence for the most serious crime.


    Arrest and Bail

    A criminal lawyer can make the argument at a bail hearing to lower or eliminate your bail. If you hire Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys prior to paying bail, we'll refer you to bail bondsmen who will give you a discount.

    If you are arrested, you'll of course want to know the charges against you.

    You should know that defendants do not receive a copy of their police report, but your defense attorney has the right to request it. The reason the arrest report is not given to the defendant is to protect any witnesses’ identities.

    Depending on the charges and your situation, the judge may grant bail at the arraignment. The amount is set by statute and is based on the charges against you. However, keep in mind that a judge has discretion to lower or even eliminate bail and your attorney can make an argument on your behalf at a bail hearing.

    Sacramento Jail Locations

    The main jail in Sacramento is located downtown at 651 I Street and serves Sacramento County. Depending on where your criminal case is being heard, you may be held at a nearby facility like Rio Cosumnes Correction Center (RCCC) in Elk Grove or the South Placer Jail in Roseville.


    Arraignment: Entering a Plea

    For many misdemeanor cases, you do not need to be present at the arraignment and your Sacramento criminal attorney can appear for you to enter your plea.

    The arraignment is your first court appearance and is where you enter a plea. The charges against you are read into the court record.

    If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will set a sentencing hearing date. If you plead not guilty, the case will be set for trial.

    Depending upon the charges, your criminal defense attorney may be able to appear on your behalf without you being present at the arraignmentThis often helps our clients who can't make it to court due to work obligations.

    At Spaulding & Campi Criminal Attorneys, we always advise our clients to plead Not Guilty. This plea allows our attorneys to get started on your defense with the goal of dismissal or acquittal.


    Investigation by the Defense

    At this stage, your defense team gathers evidence through investigation, statements and experts to prove your side of the story.

    Part of the reason the prosecution won’t reveal all its evidence at the preliminary hearing is to not tip off the defense as to its strategy, as this is the time your defense attorneys will conduct their own investigation. Your defense attorneys will use experts like private investigators and psychologists to show that you did not commit the crime you’re being accused of.


    Plea Bargains

    Experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to push the prosecution to get the best possible offers.

    At any time during the defense of your case up until a trial concludes, your criminal defense attorney may negotiate a plea bargain with the district attorney. This is an agreement made between the prosecutor and defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a better outcome - such as a sentence that doesn't require any jail time.

    We've found that, in many cases, our clients prefer to avoid the hassle and uncertainty of a trial.


    Preliminary Hearings

    At the "prelim" your Sacramento criminal defense attorney will make the argument to either dismiss your case, dismiss certain charges, or (for wobbler cases) reduce your charges from felony to misdemeanor.

    The preliminary hearing differs from the arraignment in that there is evidence presented and testimony offered by the prosecution to show there is probable cause to continue with a trial.

    If the judge does not feel there is probable cause, he or she will dismiss the case. Otherwise it will be held over for the trial date. Don’t expect the prosecution to show all its cards at the preliminary hearing. They often hold information back, which is a strategic move. They only present enough in order to convince the court the case should proceed.

    Your defense team's goal at the prelim will be to show that there is not probable cause for each element of the crime. This can result in the dismissal of the case or dismissal of certain charges.




    Whether or not your case goes to trial, you'll want a skilled team of Sacramento Trial Attorneys on your side. That's because the prosecution knows which defense attorneys regularly go to trial. Those who do - and who succeed - have a much stronger bargaining position.

    Many cases are resolved favorably without trial. However, should a trial be necessary, you'll want an experienced team of litigators on your side.

    The main phases of a trial include:

    • Choosing a jury of your peers
    • Both sides presenting opening statements to the jury
    • Witness testimony and cross examination
    • Closing arguments
    • Jury instructions
    • Jury deliberation
    • Jury verdict


    An appellate criminal defense attorney will find an "appealable issue" and then work towards getting a conviction overturned.

    If the jury’s verdict is not guilty, the prosecution has no right of appeal. However, if you were found guilty, you may have the right to appeal the decision. You must file the appeal within the required deadline or you may lose your rights. It’s important to understand that an appeal is not a new trial. The main difference is that the appellate court does not determine facts like a jury in a trial court does. The appellate court will review the evidence presented during your trial to determine whether there was a legal error.

    Appeals are applicable in situations where there was not enough evidence presented during the trial to warrant the judgment or verdict, or where there were mistakes of law that occurred before or during your trial that harmed your case.

    Your Sacramento appellate attorney will prepare a brief describing the facts in the case, the applicable law, and what the arguments are as to why the appeal needs to be heard. Once it’s filed with the appellate court, they will send a notice for oral arguments, which are held on a certain day. For example, Sacramento Court’s Appellate Division hears oral arguments on the 3rd Friday of each month.