Meagan Melanson

College:  University of San Francisco

Law School: University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Admitted to the Bar: California Bar, December 2008

Other Certifications: Criminal Justice concentration

Hobbies and interests when not working: I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the farmers market, cooking, traveling, and going for a jog or bike ride along the beach.



Why I love what I do:

I have always been a person of resistance and standing up for what is right. These beliefs led me into criminal defense work. I did everything I could in law school to gain experience defending people; standing as the shield of protection between my clients and the justice system. The ability to use my skills to help others when they are at their worst, at their most vulnerable, is an honor and something I am thankful for everyday I go to work.

One client comes to mind when I think about why I do this work. My client was a young woman in her early twenties. She had gone out to a few bars in Santa Monica with several co-workers on a Saturday. By the time she left the bar with a guy from work she had started seeing, she was pretty tipsy. The guy offered to drive her home in her car and she agreed.

As they got in the car they began arguing; he accused her of flirting with other guys are the bar. She tried to reassure him she was just being her usual social self but the argument continued. After only driving a couple blocks he pulled the car over abruptly and when he did she got out of the car and walked away. He parked the car and went after her yelling loudly. It wasn’t long before a hotel security guard called 911 and officers arrived.

When the officers showed up they saw my client seated in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition. She told the officers that she did not drive the car there and she was only sitting there because she was about to move the car because it was parked partially up on the curb. The officers immediately assumed my client was the driver. These assumptions were only furthered when the guy lied and told the officers she was driving because he was mad at her and didn’t want to get in any trouble himself. My client cooperated and did all the filed sobriety tests, breath test and blood test. She had a blood alcohol concentration of .16, twice the legal limit.

Shortly after my involvement in the case I contacted the guy to get his version of events. He admitted that he drove the car there and only told the cops that my client was driving because he was mad at her and he was worried he would get in trouble since he too had been drinking. I provided the prosecution with his statement. The prosecutor didn’t believe him and the case proceeded to trial.

Throughout trial we focused on the assumptions made by the officers and the lack of evidence that my client drove the car. At the conclusion of the trial I pointed out all the areas where the prosecution had failed to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the most important of which was that my client was the driver of the car. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict and justice was done.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) – 2019