Call Us831-426-5800

Call Us831-566-4357

303 Potrero Street, Suite 30
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Honest, Knowledgable Representation

Over 30 Years Defending Clients
Facing Criminal Charges

DUI and Drug Charges
Defense Attorney

30 Years of Local Experience


duiDUI Lawyer

If you are searching for an experienced Santa Cruz DUI defense attorney who knows how to aggressively challenge the case against you, call the Law Office of John W. Thornton. Over the last several decades, DUI defense Attorney John W. Thornton has helped people just like you avoid the most severe penalties...

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DomesticDomestic Violence

If you need a Santa Cruz domestic violence lawyer, experienced Defense Lawyer John W. Thornton is on your side. This is not the time to put your future in the hands of anyone but an extremely skilled and accomplished criminal defense lawyer. District attorneys in California take domestic violence charges very seriously...

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ShopliftingShoplifting, Robbery & Burglary

Burglary or robbery charges must be taken very seriously. In California, many types of convictions for burglary or robbery are considered strikes under California's Three Strikes law. California theft crimes attorney John W. Thornton has more than 30 years of experience defending thousands of people in...

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John W. Thornton, Attorney at Law



If you are searching for a Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyer, call Santa Cruz Criminal Defense Lawyer John W. Thornton. The office of John W. Thornton, Attorney at Law, is a Santa Cruz law firm that deals exclusively with criminal defense with a particular focus on driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and all drug crimes. With over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, Attorney John W. Thornton has represented thousands of people accused of violating the law. He is prepared to defend you against any criminal charges you face.

Call 831-426-5800 or 831-566-4357 for a free phone consultation with Santa Cruz Criminal Defense Attorney John W. Thornton.


Many crimes throughout Santa Cruz have a drug or alcohol-related component. While Attorney John W. Thornton is prepared for any type of criminal defense case, he is particularly experienced in the realm of criminal defense related to drugs and alcohol including parole violations, violent crimes and theft.


Santa Cruz DUI, Drugs, Theft, Violent Crimes

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can guide you through the criminal justice system and minimize the penalties you may face. The extent of this will vary from case to case and is a fact-driven issue because there is no "one size fits all" defense for criminal cases. With Santa Cruz Defense Attorney John W. Thornton on your side, a defense strategy will be tailor-made for your circumstances. Criminal courts can become extremely complex to navigate and, depending on the type of charges you face, there may be other administrative bodies you must confront. In the case of a DUI arrest, for instance, there is a criminal component and a DMV administrative process. The interaction of the DMV case and the criminal case can become complicated. A local attorney with 30 plus years of experience knows how to handle these separate processes to avoid potential pitfalls. Additionally, when you call John W. Thornton, your case will be handled directly by Mr. Thornton who has handled more than 2,500 DUI cases in the Santa Cruz area. Some of the details he will consider when creating your defense:

  • The reason the police stopped you may have been unlawful
  • The police may not have read your rights or explained the sobriety test effectively
  • A breathalyzer or other device to test BAC may have been faulty
  • Prosecutors may not have the evidence needed to convict
  • Your charges may be reduced significantly with the right legal defense

Santa Cruz Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you call for a free consultation, Santa Cruz DUI Lawyer and Criminal Defense Attorney John W. Thornton will offer an honest assessment of your case, carefully explaining the legal process and the steps required to resolve your Santa Cruz County legal matter. There is no substitute for having a legal ally who is deeply familiar with the criminal law process and the ways of navigating the courts effectively. He will work to educate you on the laws and your rights, helping you fight to keep your license, dealing with the police, and other matters relevant to your arrest. Knowing your options will help you determine which course of action is right for you.



If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and fail to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of your citation, your driving privileges will be suspended. As an experienced Santa Cruz DUI Lawyer, John W. Thornton can assist you in getting your license back and defend you against a DUI charge or other criminal charges.


John Thornton is a consummate professional. Knows the law inside out, was able to negotiate the best settlement possible for my particular DUI. Was able to reduce my DUI school from 9 months to 3 months, a huge benefit. Handled every aspect of the case calmly, professionally and with an upbeat attitude. In fact, it is Johns attitude that made the biggest impression upon me. Always positive, never judgmental, and laden with a refreshing dose of humor as well. Love his "can do" approach. Very highly recommended.

John Thornton is on of the most professional people I have ever met. I was in the most stressful position of my life and he helped me more than anyone ever could. During the entire process of John working for me he was there for me, empathetic, he did everything he said he was going to do when, he said he would do it, and did his best! John is a high integrity man. We need more people like him. I can not say enough nice things about him. He saved my life.

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When Will a License Suspension Hearing Be Held After a California DUI?

March 01, 2021

There are many violations that can lead to a motorist losing his or her driving privileges. For instance, being convicted of multiple moving violations, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol...

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February 2021 Update: Santa Cruz Courts, DUI, DMV, and COVID-19

February 04, 2021

It has now been nearly a year since COVID-19 has entered the picture, and it has brought havoc to the criminal and traffic courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) along...

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How Does Misdemeanor Diversion Affect California Criminal Cases?

February 03, 2021

On January 1, 2021, California Penal Code section 1001.95 became effective. Referred to as “misdemeanor diversion,” this new law allows a judge to grant diversion to a defendant even over the prosecutor’s...

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