Areas of Practice


If you are charged with violating state or federal narcotics laws, you need to contact Thanh Ngo to assist you with the often complex, contradictory and confusing laws. Depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history, you may be eligible for treatment and diversion programs, rather than facing mandatory prison sentences.

Thanh Ngo is very knowledgeable about drug laws, illicit club drugs, and all the available treatment options for simple users. Mr. Ngo directed the drug prosecution team in Santa Cruz County and supervised the “Major Vendor Program” in Santa Clara County where he was responsible for all large-scale drug trafficking prosecutions in Santa Clara County. He is knowledgeable on the limitations and pitfalls of prosecuting conspiracy crimes related to drugs. Mr. Ngo has extensive training and experience with cases involving large scale manufacturing of methamphetamine and PCP, as well as cases involving the use of wiretap evidence against large distributions of controlled substances. Mr. Ngo was one of the first prosecutors in Santa Clara County to work with state and federal agents to use wiretapping in large drug cases. He is familiar with the limitation and challenges posed by the use of the wiretap evidence.

California laws encourage treatment rather than punishment for nonviolent drug users. When appropriate, Mr. Ngo also encourages his clients to pursue counseling or to participate in drug and alcohol treatment programs. In cases involving sales or manufacturing of drugs, where treatment options are not generally available, Mr. Ngo draws upon his extensive legal experience to challenge the evidence in the case or to present the best defense in order to attain the best disposition possible.


In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which allows Californians to possess, use, and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. In 2003, California enacted the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which, among other things, granted limited immunity to individuals who cultivate marijuana as part of a collective or cooperative organization. These laws are constantly evolving and may affect the use of medical marijuana and legality of marijuana dispensaries.

Mr. Ngo is a statewide expert in the use and defense of Medical Marijuana and the Compassion Use Act of 1996. He is familiar with the limitations, as well as the legal issues, surrounding the personal use of Medical Marijuana and the legality of Medical Marijuana Cooperatives and Dispensaries. As a prosecutor, he has successfully prosecuted medical marijuana cases in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. In a case Mr. Ngo litigated, the California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed his position in defining who qualifies as caregiver under the Compassionate Use Act, Prop. 215. People v. Mentch (2008) 45 Cal. 4th 274, 195 P.3d 1061, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 480.


If you’ve been arrested or cited for a DUI in the state of California (driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher), you have to act fast to prevent the suspension of your driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicle. There are severe consequences even with an arrest for a DUI. It is important that you contact Thanh Ngo immediately after an arrest. The consequences of a DUI conviction may include: a suspended or revoked license, mandatory interlock devices, enhanced fines and mandatory jail time. You need to hire an experienced attorney to protect you and your driving privileges.

Following an arrest for a DUI, the DMV usually brings an administrative action to suspend a person’s driving privileges. If a driver does not request a DMV hearing and a stay of the suspension within 10 days of the date of arrest, the DMV will automatically suspend the driver’s California driver’s license 30 days after arrest.

Thanh Ngo has handled thousands of DUIs. He has extensive training on the various issues involved with DUI prosecutions. He is familiar with the limitations of prosecuting a DUI case, from the legality of the stop, to the required certification of the laboratory, to the analysis of your blood, breath or urine.


Thanh Ngo is immediately available to provide discreet and expert advice if you or someone close to you has been arrested for domestic violence. In Northern California, domestic violence charges are vigorously pursued and aggressively prosecuted. California law requires law enforcement officers responding to a call for even the most minor incident of domestic violence to arrest the person who they deem to be the dominant aggressor. Criminal charges are filed even if the alleged victim says he or she started the fight, was not hurt, and does not want to press charges.

If there is any evidence of injury, even a minor injury, the party arrested will be charged with domestic violence causing a traumatic condition. The person may even be booked into jail on a felony charge.

A charge of domestic violence causing injury can carry up to one year in jail as a misdemeanor and up to three years as a felony. A plea of guilty to any crime involving domestic violence requires completion a one year domestic violence counseling class, participation in volunteer work, fines, fees and probation.

A conviction for domestic violence will result in a minimum 10 year firearm prohibition under California law and can result in a lifetime federal firearm prohibition. Furthermore, legal non-citizens can be deported for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. Persons with domestic violence convictions can also find it difficult to obtain employment. A domestic violence conviction can carry consequences that can last life time. It is essential for you to contact Thanh Ngo, who has handled hundreds of domestic violence cases.


There are many types of fraud offenses that an individual may be charged with, several of which fall under the white-collar crime. They include fraud involving insurance, tax, government benefits, or counterfeit/forgery. An individual or entity convicted of a fraud crime may face harsh consequences, such as imprisonment, parole or probation, loss of certain rights, significant fines, and significant restitution paid to victims.

Theft of trade secrets from high tech companies and counterfeiting of products are vigorously prosecuted in Northern California. Trade secret prosecutions frequently involve an employee leaving one company to work for a competitor or a start-up company in the same field. Those in charge of large companies discourage this type of movement, as employees have tremendous value independent of the physical documents and software codes they might possess. An employer may turn to criminal prosecutors to intimidate and punish departing employees who possess valuable technical knowledge from leaving. Thanh Ngo directed the Fraud Unit in Santa Cruz and handled cases involving worker compensation and insurance fraud, as well as “sting operations” involving state agencies.


The consequences of being charged with and convicted of committing a sexual offense are severe. Bail is often very high. If convicted, the sentence can be extremely long and a conviction of most sexual offenses requires registration for life as a sexual offender. For some registered sex offenders, their name, address and photograph are published on the Attorney General’s Sexual Offender website and available to the general public.

Defending charges involving sexual offenses is always complicated and requires experience and knowledge of the intricacies of these serious crimes. Sex crimes are often prosecuted in both State and Federal courts. Multi-agency task forces investigate child pornography that cross state lines physically or via the internet. Possession or distribution (for example, email) of child pornography in large amounts can be prosecuted in Federal courts with severe mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Many sex crimes are violent crimes and are considered strikes under the “Three Strikes” law. Additionally, Rape and Child Molestation are crimes that involve a great deal of scientific evidence and experts.

Thanh Ngo is familiar with the procedures and protocols that are required of law enforcement when gathering this evidence. He has handled cases involving the use of DNA and SART exams and the cross-examination of mental health experts. He knows the pressure points of these serious and complicated cases. He will use highly skilled experts to assist in creative, effective and cutting edge defenses of these matters.



In California, a criminal defendant has a right to expungement after successful completion of probation in most cases, pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. The Court normally grants expungement once a defendant has completed probation and fulfilled all the terms and conditions of probation, providing that you are not on probation or parole or have pending any new offense. An expungement of your conviction will allow you to truthfully represent to friends, acquaintances and private sector employers that you have no conviction. There are limitations and you should contact Mr. Ngo for the specifics of your situation.