Applegate Law Office

Applegate Law Office

We defend those accused of any crime - DUI, Drugs, Theft, Domestic Violence & more - and we sue on behalf of people injured by the negligence, carelessness, and deliberate wrongdoing of others.

Firm Overview

The Applegate Law Office focuses on efficient, effective representation. I provide my clients with exactly the help that they need. As a former prosecutor in Ukiah and Willits, I am familiar with Mendocino County's courts. My office is centrally located in Santa Rosa and serves all of the North Bay - Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Napa, and Marin counties.

A criminal arrest is a serious problem. From domestic violence to drugs to DUI, fraud to firearm or weapons charges, sex crimes to shoplifting, the Applegate Law Office is ready to handle your criminal case. Any criminal matter that could lead to a misdemeanor, a felony, or a parole or probation violation is a problem that matters to you.

If a problem is big enough to matter to you, it is big enough to matter to me - and no problem is too big for me to tackle. Whether you're trying to keep your license or stay out of prison, I can help. And with a free consultation and a wide range of payment options, you can let your needs, not your budget, make the decision for you. Call so I can start protecting your rights and your freedom now.

I founded the Applegate Law Office in June 2009. I have been practicing law in California since 2003, and I have spent most of those years practicing law in the North Bay.Example casesOne of my clients was arrested for felony domestic violence after hitting her husband in the face hard enough to open up a bloody cut by his eye. After interviewing the client and the 'victim,' I helped them prepare a written statement. After discussions with the District Attorney that involved the contents of the statement, I persuaded the D.A. not to file any charges at all.

Another one of my clients, who had a prior drug conviction and who had already been through a diversion program and substance abuse treatment, was arrested with substantial amounts of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, hashish, Vicodin, hallucinogenic drugs, and marijuana - as well as empty plastic baggies, a large amount of cash in small bills, and a digital scale. He was charged with nine felony drug charges, including narcotics trafficking, and two misdemeanor drug charges, and faced a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison. My client's first attorney took a large initial payment. Then the attorney demanded more money, telling the client "You're going to go to prison if you don't come up with another $3,500!" and abandoned the client when he refused to pay the extra cash. I was hired two days before the next court date and managed to get nine of the eleven charges dismissed. More importantly, I persuaded the court to sentence my client to just nine months of jail time, and to allow him to serve that 'jail' time in his own home on an ankle monitor.

Main Office

Law Office of Charles W. Applegate
700 College Avenue
Santa Rosa CA 95404


(707) 775-9459


(707) 509-5020


Free Initial Consultation?

There is a free initial consultation for any case. The first appointment usually lasts half an hour - long enough for us to determine if we can help you, and for you to decide if you wish to retain the office.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

Many criminal cases are done on a fixed-rate basis. For instance, a 'typical' domestic violence case costs between $2,000 and $3,000 to resolve before trial. A 'typical' first-offense DUI costs $1,500 to $2,500 to resolve before trial. Crimes like felonies or a multiple-offense DUI can cost substantially more. Please keep in mind that these rates are for 'typical' cases - each case is unique, and the rate will depend on the facts. There may be an additional charge for a DMV hearing, a suppression motion, or other atypical situations. Discounts are offered for clients referred through Nolo and for people who meet certain other criteria.

Hourly Rates

A flat fee is not always appropriate. In that case, Applegate Law Office charges $200 to $250 an hour, depending on the nature and complexity of the issues involved. Again, each case is unique, and discounts are offered for clients referred through Nolo and for people who meet certain other criteria.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Messages checked and answered after-hours.

Emergency After Hours


Criminal Defense

Kid-glove treatment and hard-hitting advocacy - Applegate Law.

I became a lawyer because I like helping people, I like sticking up for people, and I hate bullies. When you're accused of a crime, all of the power and resources of the entire society is brought to bear against you. It's you (and your lawyer) against the Police, the District Attorney's office, the court system, your accusers -- basically, it's you against the world. Unless you have a good attorney, those aren't good odds.

SKILL: I have practiced law in both criminal and civil courts throughout California. That experience shaped how I approach cases today. Representing people as defendants in civil lawsuits taught me how to poke holes in the other side's case -- how to keep them from proving that my client did what they say he did. Prosecuting criminal cases as a DA taught me how to build a case to win it -- how to prove that my side is right, and that the other side is either dishonest or just plain wrong. Whether I'm defending someone accused of a crime or helping someone get restitution for an injury or insult, what I'm doing comes down to those key skills: building up my client's case and tearing the other side's case down. That's what I do when I fight for my clients; that's how we work to win cases.

TRUST: As your attorney, I won't lie to you and I won't lie for you. If an attorney will lie on your behalf when it's convenient or rewarding, I suspect that attorney will lie to you when it's convenient. You MUST be able to trust your attorney. If you don't trust your attorney, well ... unless your case settles instantly, for everything you want, and for free you're always going to wonder if you got a good deal. I take the time to listen to you and address your concerns so you'll know you're in the right hands, and you won't have to second-guess later.

TIME: Every client who makes an appointment to talk about their case with me gets as much time as needed to figure out if I can help them, and if I'm the one to give them the help. It's no pressure; it's no risk. I understand that the client is putting his time, money, freedom, reputation, and rights in my hands. I know it's a big decision and I want all of my clients to feel safe and taken care of, and to know that they got everything they could hope for -- or even better.

Professional Affiliations:

Board Member: Friends Outside -- 2010 to present
Member: American Bar Association
Member: Sonoma County Bar Association
Member: State Bar of California

Work History:

Civil -- 2003 to 2007
Friedemann and Goldberg
Geary, Shea, O'Donnell, Grattan, & Mitchell

Criminal Prosecution -- 2007 to 2009
Mendocino County District Attorney's Office
Tulare County District Attorney's Office

Solo Practice -- 2009 to present
The Law Office of Charles W. Applegate


University of California, Hastings College of the Law -- Juris Doctorate, 2003, with criminal law internships and a concentration in civil litigation

University of Massachusetts at Amherst -- Bachelor of Arts, English, 1994


How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

There is nothing more precious than freedom, and nothing more noble than protecting it. This is what I do.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

I encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about the law and about their rights. The law is complex and ever-changing, and criminal penalties are severe. The more you know, the easier it is to stay - or get - out of trouble.

There are good online resources, like the California Bar Association's website, the State of California's list of statutes and laws, and - of course - the American Civil Liberties Union. Having access to this kind of information won't take the place of a skilled attorney, but it will help you make an intelligent, informed decision about which attorney to choose.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

I will review any and all evidence that will aid a client's case - that's my job. Not all of the evidence available will actually help, and the Court may not allow all of it to be presented, but getting evidence that helps you into Court is part of my job, too.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

In certain circumstances, it makes sense for an attorney to provide legal advice but not formally represent the client. Each case is unique, and I will need to talk about your case.

Charles W. Applegate

Applegate Law Office

I spent four years practicing civil and family law before becoming a criminal prosecutor. After prosecuting hundreds of criminal cases, including DUI, property crime, violent crime, elder abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence, I decided to put my training, experience, and U.C. Hastings education to work in the most important arena there is - protecting individual rights from errors or abuses committed by the State.

As a former district attorney, I prosecuted hundreds of crimes. As a licensed defense attorney, I have seen hundreds of civil and criminal cases through to the end. I have the experience to evaluate your case, and I know how prosecutors think. My insider knowledge of the system allows me to see, and take advantage of, weaknesses in the other side's case that can help you.

Furthermore, I've been a wage-earner for 26 years. I've worked in offices, gas stations, warehouses, restaurants, and law firms. I've been a mechanic and a bouncer and a deliveryman and an attorney. I know what it means to work with my back and my hands, and I understand and respect the financial limits and abilities of my clients.

I have a law degree from one of the best law schools in America and also a strong work ethic. I can and will outwork and out-think the opposition. My ability to disagree without being disagreeable has allowed me to develop a reputation as a good, strong attorney who is easy to work with. My strong verbal skills, my friendly but professional demeanor, and my experience allow me to work every single angle of a case until I find the one that's best for you.

Personal interests:

I'm a normal Northern California boy - I like to hike and bicycle, drive out to the coast or up to the snow, barbecue, and read. And I like fixing things and solving problems.


Bar Number: 226777
California, 2003


University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Juris Doctorate, 2003

University of Massachusetts
Bachelor of Arts, 1994

* Nolo has confirmed that every member attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with the state agency that licenses lawyers. Any past disbarments and suspensions (with possible exceptions for minor violations or nonpayment of dues, in our discretion) will be indicated accordingly in the badge. Member attorneys are required to notify Nolo immediately if they become the subject of any disciplinary action by any state licensing agency.