John McCurley

Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law

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

Plea Bargaining in DUI Cases for a “Wet Reckless”
In some DUI (driving under the influence) cases, the accused motorist will have some legitimate defenses for fighting the charges. Depending on the situation, it might even make sense to take the case to trial. But in the majority of DUI cases, the facts are fairly straightforward and there aren’t
Will a Public Defender Do a Good Job in a DUI Case?
For many people facing DUI charges, hiring a private lawyer either isn’t an option at all or would be a substantial financial burden. Generally, private attorneys charge at least a few thousand dollars to handle a DUI case. Public defenders (and other court-appointed attorneys), on the other hand,
Vehicular Homicide: What Happens When You Cause Another’s Person Death in a Car Accident
Depending on the circumstances, vehicular manslaughter or homicide can be a misdemeanor or a felony criminal offense.
Is a Drunk Driver Who's Involved in an Accident Automatically at Fault?
An impaired driver who gets into a collision isn’t always liable for the damages. But the driver’s impairment can certainly play a part in determining fault.