John McCurley


John McCurley started writing criminal law articles for Nolo as a freelancer in 2015. He joined the Nolo staff as a Legal Editor in 2016.  

Education. John has a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of California, San Diego, and completed law school at the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2008.

Legal training. During law school, John became interested in the criminal justice system while interning with the Prison Law Office and the San Francisco and Contra Costa County public defender’s offices. After graduating and passing the California Bar in 2008, John practiced criminal defense and juvenile dependency law, primarily doing writs and appeals.

Legal career. John is currently a member of the California State Bar and has been a certified appellate law specialist since 2017 (certification from by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization). John maintains a small private practice in San Diego (see, handling mostly court-appointed juvenile dependency appeals out of various Southern California counties. He has a number published victories, including In re Juarez (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1316, K.F. v. Superior Court (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1369, People v. Hill (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1100 (co-counsel), and In re Bianca S. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 1272.

Articles By John McCurley

California Dram Shop and Social Host Liability Rules
When an intoxicated person causes an accident in California, can a third party be liable for providing the alcohol?
Postponing Your Traffic Court Date: Getting a "Continuance"
Requesting a postponement of a traffic ticket due date or a continuance of a traffic court trial.
Distracted Driving Laws: Texting and Cell Phones
Most states have distracted driving laws that restrict motorists from text messaging or talking on a handheld cellphone while driving. The specific restrictions vary by state, but as cellphone and portable electronic use has become more prevalent, state laws have progressively become more strict.
Can I Get a DUI for Sleeping in My Car While Drunk?
Whether you can be convicted of a DUI for sleeping drunk in your car depends on the state you live and the circumstances of your case. Some states require proof of actual driving, while others allow DUI convictions even if the car was never put in motion.
Reckless Driving Traffic Violations
Most states define reckless driving, typically a misdemeanor crime, as willfully operating a vehicle in a manner that shows an indifference to the safety of persons or property. Learn about the penalties you'll face for a conviction.
Open Container Laws and Tickets
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited in every state. But most states also make it illegal for drivers and passengers to possess open containers of alcohol in a vehicle. And the open container laws of some states even apply to containers of marijuana.
Getting a DUI with a Minor Passenger in the Car
Having a child in your car at the time of a DUI arrest can lead to DUI penalty enhancements, child endangerment charges, and CPS getting involved with your family
DUI or DWI Punishments and Penalties
As with any criminal charge, a person charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is presumed innocent until proven guilty through the defendant's own plea or after a jury trial. Any penalty will depend on state law, as well as circumstances, such as the presence of an open bottle of liquor in the car and the defendant's cooperation with the police.
Effects of COVID-19 on Legal Practice: How to Communicate With Your Lawyer
To prevent further spread of COVID-19, many attorneys have sought to minimize in-person contact with existing and potential clients. Fortunately, attorneys are finding ways to implement effective precautions while still providing legal assistance to those who need it.
How Much Alcohol Can You Drink Before You’ll be Over the Legal Limit to Drive?
Find out about how many drinks it will take to put your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit to drive