top of page



Joseph A. Esparza

Texas lawyer Joseph A. Esparza, admitted to the Texas State bar, 1994; also admitted to practice in all Federal Court Districts in Texas (Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas); United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the United States Supreme Court. Preparatory Education: University of Texas San Antonio (B.A. 1991); legal education: University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1994).


Mr. Esparza was a decorated military defense counsel and has litigated and won numerous complex court-martial cases  and has tried all levels of courts-martial (SCM, SPCM, and GCM).  During his decorated military service, Mr. Esparza tried and won numerous general courts-martial throughout the South and the East Coast. He has tried numerous general and special courts-martial as civilian counsel in private practice throughout Texas with a strong record of acquittals ("Not Guilty" verdicts)  for his clients. Mr. Esparza has trial and legal experience in high-profile capital murder cases and felony level crimes and was a former Felony prosecutor at the Bexar County District Attorney's Office. He has tried and won as defense counsel at all levels of civilian criminal offenses, from misdemeanor DWI up to and including capital murder. 

Mr. Esparza is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction earned by only 1% of Texas Attorneys. He is also Board Certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Mr. Esparza represents civilian clients throughout Texas and military clients throughout Texas, nationwide, and worldwide. A sample representation of Mr. Esparza's results for his clients:



  • 2/24 - Won a "Not Guilty" in a general court martial for USAF Officer client accused of domestic violence assault of his spouse and children. Proved at trial that complainant wife was biased and lying and that child witness accusation was result of parental alienation and suggestibility by complainant wife. Full acquittal. 

  • 10/23 - Capital Murder case dismissed! Prosecution lost confidence in their case after defense workup

  • 8/23 - Upgraded Sailor's discharge to Honorable from previous Other than Honorable Conditions, showed false accusation against client and inequitable treatment by service to Board

  • 7/23 - Harboring Runaway case and Failure to Stop and Provide Info case dismissed after defense investigation

  • 4/23 - Capital murder case reduced to robbery, client plead to 8 year sentence

  • 3/23 -  Juvenile client's misdemeanor case dropped after defense intervention, prosecution averted, client's future secured

  • 1/23 -  Obtained a Chap 6 discharge in lieu of court-martial for USAF client accused of multiple sex offenses; general court martial averted, charges withdrawn/dismissed. No conviction, no sex offender registration

  • 10/22 - Obtained dismissals on two felony cases for client. Alleged Felony Assault and Violation of Protective Order dismissed, State lost all confidence in alleged victim or claims made after defense investigation.

  • 10/22 - Writ of Habeas Corpus granted for client. New trial for client obtained in Assault Bodily Injury - Married case

  • 9/22 - Won a "Not Guilty" in a general court martial for a USAF client accused of Art 120 offenses (rape, sexual assault), and an Art 128 offense (assault and battery)  involving two female complainants

  • 8/22 - Continued client on probation after contested MTR where client picked up two new felony charges

  • 8/22 - Obtained a Chap 6 discharge in lieu of court-martial for USAF client accused of multiple Art 120 (Rape), Art 120b offenses; general court martial averted, majority of charges withdrawn. No conviction, no sex offender registration

  • 5/22 - Capital Murder dismissed after prosecutor convinced of client's self defense case 

  • 5/22 - Won a "Not Guilty" in a general court martial for an US Army SNCO accused of Art 92 and Art 93 offenses.

  • 3/22 - Won a "Not Guilty" in a general court martial for USAF Officer client accused of Art 120 and Art 133 offenses.

  • 1/22 -  General court-martial averted, criminal charges withdrawn for Officer client

  • 12/21 - Art. 120 (Rape) General court martial with multiple complainants resolved with guilty plea, after defense sentencing case resulted in 75 days confinement and punitive discharge. 

  • 12/20 - Field Grade Officer client received Honorable Discharge and kept retirement at his highest rank after defense package submitted rebutting Command case against him; client will keep hundreds of thousands of dollars of earned retirement pay

  • 10/21 - Writ of Habeas Corpus granted for client. New trial obtained in Indecency with a Child case. 

  • 10/20 - Capital murder reduced to LIO aggravated robbery after defense investigation persuaded State to drop pursuit of death penalty, client plead to 30 year sentence

  • 5/20 - Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child case dismissed/no billed after defense investigation presented to DA office. Grand Jury had no confidence in alleged victim 

  • 10/19 - Capital murder (double homicide) reduced to murder, client plead to 42 year sentence

  • 10/19 - Capital murder plead down to Injury to a Child - Omission. 50 year cap sought by State, client received 25 year sentence after defense evidence at sentencing hearing

  • 9/19 - Out of town client with 6 felony arrests pleads to single misdemeanor after defense investigation and case work up. Client received deferred adjudication and no jail time.

  • 7/19 - Obtained deferred adjudication felony probation from Judge for client accused of Injury to a child; State sought 15 years in prison;

  • 6/19 - Obtained dismissals on four serious felony drug charges for college age client after case workup;

  • 5/19 - Saved client's life. Capital murder charge and two aggravated assault WDW charges dismissed after defense investigation and case work up. Took case over from previous court appointed counsel;

  • 1/19 - Saved capital murder client's life, resolved capital murder case after defense workup. Obtained plea to lesser included offense of Injury to a Child for client;

  • 1/19 - Obtained dismissal of assault bodily injury case for non-citizen client;

  • 7/18 - Obtained dismissal of assault bodily injury case for civilian client;

  • 7/18 - Obtained dismissal of federal theft of government property charge for civilian client;

  • 5/18 - Won a "Not Guilty" in a general court-martial for USAF Security Forces member accused of sexual assault and abusive sexual contact;

  • 2/18 - Obtained dismissal of marijuana charge for out of town client;

  • 1/18 - Obtained two misdemeanor dismissals for client with licensing issues after pointing out legal deficiencies in probable cause analysis to prosecutor. Evidence suppressible, cases dismissed instead;

  • 1/18 - Obtained felony dismissal for HS age client, record and college future protected;

  • 10/17 - Obtained felony drug case and misdemeanor theft dismissals for client;

  • 8/17 - Obtained 3 yr probation sentence in federal court for client. Sentencing case persuaded Court to downward depart from sentencing guidelines and forego incarceration;

  • 7/17 - Obtained dismissal on DWI breath test case on day of trial. Pointed out evidence deficiencies and convinced prosecutors to drop charge against client;

  • 7/17 - Won VA Appeal over educational benefits. Erased $48,000.00 debt VA claimed client owed, got VA to admit error and forgive debt in full;

  • 6/17 - Obtained sex offender deregistration for out of town client;

  • 5/17 - College age client with numerous misdemeanors and one felony charge adjudicated to 6 months deferred adjudication concurrent on two misdemeanors only, other cases dismissed after defense investigation uncovered serious mitigation evidence;

  • 5/17 - Multiple drug use and distro charges withdrawn and dismissed against out of state USAF client facing general court-martial;

  • 5/17 - Pretrial prep resulted in dismissal of Family Violence assault charges for client;

  • 3/17 - Saved a soldier's career. NJP defense and rebuttal package convinced Commander that soldier was "Not Guilty" of meth and amphetamine use. No NJP, no discharge, and full reinstatement into coveted training program;

  • 6/16 - Saved a soldier's career. Obtained complete dismissal of DWI and Possession of controlled substance charges in out of town jurisdiction;

  • 5/16 - Saved a sailor's career. Admin discharge board for drug abuse/comm. serious offense resulted in Board members unanimously voting for retention for client and continued military service;

  • 2/16 - Obtained a lesser summary court martial for enlisted Airman originally facing a special court martial for assault, battery, and disorderly conduct against civilian police. No conviction on any charges for client;

  • 11/15 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an enlisted USAF Airman charged with sexual assault (Rape);

  • 10/15 - "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity" plea in capital murder case. Case workup and motion practice convinced civilian DA office to accept insanity defense and plea;

  • 10/15 - Pretrial motion practice resulted in dismissal of State DWI charge against military client. Found multiple defects in government evidence that could not be remedied; forced prosecutor to drop charge;

  • 9/15 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an USAF officer charged with abusive sexual contact and conduct unbecoming an officer;

  • 8/15 - Aggravated sexual assault of a child charge dismissed. Found major defect in State's evidence that previous court-appointed attorney missed. Prosecutor dismissed case after discussion regarding evidence deficiency;

  • 6/15 - Saved a Sailor's career. Convinced Navy to withdraw discharge action against Hospital Corpsman despite prior Capt's Mast and other alleged misconduct and permit continued military service;

  • 6/15 - Obtained an Honorable discharge for Army officer facing a Board of Inquiry over multiple 15-6 investigations and GOMOR;

  • 4/15 - Won a verdict of "No Misconduct" and retention for service in an administrative discharge board and saved Navy client's military career regarding an accusation of drug abuse;

  • 7/14 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an Army Officer M.D. charged with sexual assault and abusive sexual contact;

  • 4/14 - Won a "Not Guilty" on a civilian Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child case;

  • 3/14 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an USAF NCO Medic charged with use of a controlled substance, false official statement, and absent without leave;

  • 2/14 - Won a "Not Guilty" for a enlisted soldier charged with Rape by force, aggravated assaults, damaging property, and interference with a 911 call;

  • 1/14 - Injury to a child charge dismissed against my client;

  • 1/14 - Aggravated kidnapping charges dismissed against out of town client;

  • 12/13 - Motion to Suppress contesting illegal arrest and search forced civilian prosecutor to drop drug charge against client;

  • 10/13 - Won a 4 year sentence for a high profile federal client who was originally charged with Racketeering and multiple murders with possibility of facing the death penalty, before a later deal was made for a guilty plea to a lesser charge and a 15 year cap;

  • 9/13 - Won a murder appeal and got the conviction reversed and a new trial granted;

  • 7/13 - Won no confinement and no punitive discharge at a general court-martial for a USAF NCO instructor accused of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female trainee;

  • 4/13 - Won a "Not Guilty" verdict for an Army soldier charged with larceny and false official statement;

  • 3/13 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an USAF trainee charged with indecent exposure;

  • 12/12 - Won a "Not Guilty" for an Army Officer client at a general court-martial for assault and conduct unbecoming an officer;

  • 10/12 - Won a dismissal of all charges in a rape case on the first day of trial for a USAF NCO enlisted client;

  • 8/12 - Won a life sentence in a capital murder case where the State of Texas was seeking the death penalty against my client;

  • 7/12 - Won an Article 32 hearing, rape and drug charges rejected. No general court-martial against USAF NCO client;

  • 8/10 - Obtained a grand jury no bill in an online computer solicitation of a minor case after investigating the case and filing a motion for an examining trial;

  • 11/09 - Investigated a criminal felony case involving a U.S. Marine in Seattle, Washington and obtained a dismissal of all charges against the Marine;

  • 3/09 - Won a "Not Guilty" in two hours in a capital murder trial;

  • 5/08 - Won a "Not Guilty" in less than thirty minutes in a two count felony indecency of a child case;

  • 5/08 - Defended a senior NCO recruiter charged with sexual harassment in an Art 15 proceeding resulting in the charges being dropped;

  • 4/08 - Won a "Not Guilty" for a senior NCO charged with indecent language against a female NCO subordinate in a special court-martial;


  • A Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine (2011-2023);

  • AVVO Rating 10.0 - Superb (Criminal Defense, Military Law);

  • A Top DWI/DUI Lawyer in San Antonio in S.A. Magazine (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019-2020);

  • A Top San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney in S.A. Scene Magazine (2015-2023);

  • The Best Lawyers in San Antonio by Scene in San Antonio Magazine (Criminal Defense) (2010-2023);


  • President, San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association  2020-2021; Board of Directors 2011-2024;

  • Board of Directors, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (2022-2024); Member, TCDLA (2000-2024)

  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Military Service


  • Captain, United States Air Force (2002-2006). Former judge advocate, military prosecutor, and former decorated military defense counsel.

Quotes from past clients and their families about Mr. Esparza:

"You’ve Found THE BEST!! - Look No Further! Joseph Esparza saved my 18-year military career, but more importantly the dream of reuniting with my children! I am an officer in the USAF and hired Mr. Esparza as my Lead Defense Attorney when charged with serious crimes resulting from false accusations from my former spouse during a highly contentious divorce. I went to a General Courts Martial. Overall result: Full Acquittal!! If you are reading this, you too may be living this nightmare….there is light at the end of this tunnel, and Joseph Esparza will lead you there. I chose the word “lead” deliberately, versus “guide”, “get”, “show” etc. From the moment Mr. Esparza took my case, he took the role as if the Captain of a ship. He was empathetic to all my concerns, yet had the leadership to direct me when choices got tough. Perpetually confident from his decades of experience , he could “read the waves” and knew precisely which direction to go before anything became an issue. He also led the military counterpart to my defense team (who was exceptional). When I first met with Mr. Esparza, I said “I think you are the right guy for the job”, and his response was, “Oh, absolutely I am the right guy”. Not in a conceited way, but a humbly confident way. Joseph answers emails, texts, and phone calls promptly. He never gave me the impression he was too busy to hear my concerns. Even with my family, who were not technically his “clients” he promptly answered. Joseph was by my side through an investigation, preferral of charges, an Article 32 Hearing, referral of charges, and a General Courts Martial. Overall time, about 9 months. Steadfast the entire time. If you are seeking the absolute best legal counsel, whether military or civilian, LOOK NO FURTHER! Mr. Esparza is worth every dime….a drop in the bucket vs. what you stand to lose. I am willing to speak with you personally if Mr. Esparza desires to give you my contact information. I’d take any opportunity to brag about his expertise more." -- Military Officer Client, USAF

"I cannot recommend Mr. Esparza enough. His professionalism and experience were instrumental in getting the two cases my son had against him dismissed. Mr. Esparza instantly instills a sense of calm and confidence and I knew we were in good hands after our first consultation. He was very thorough, kept me updated on the progress of the cases and was always available to answer any questions I had. I cannot thank him enough for all that he did for my son. Mr. Esparza is definitely a top notch attorney!" -- Civilian client's mother

"I hired Joseph Esparza in 2020 to represent me in a General Court Martial. My maximum sentence was life plus 28. I was falsely accused of some of the most heinous acts a human being can do to another. Joe helped give me my life back. For over two years he worked with a defense team to clear my name. At all times he was professional, kind, respectful and unlike most attorneys, responsive in a timely manner. Joe helped walk me through some of the most difficult times in my life and I will forever be grateful. I was found innocent of all charges. Joe, you’re an amazing attorney and an even more amazing man. Thank you." -- Keith, Military client, USAF

"My son had been fighting fraudulent charges for over a year and was only using the military attorneys assigned to his case to help in this fight. Over that year, the military kept adding charges to show their case was strong. His military attorneys did almost no investigation and just said he would need to plea. My son had all but given up. With just days before trial and no plea deal agreed to, he decided to hire his own legal counsel. This was the best decision he has ever made. He consulted his divorce attorney and one other attorney he was in contact with and both recommended Mr. Esparza. He hired Mr. Esparza and right from the start, Mr Esparza and his team did the investigation, found fraud related to my son's case, and the result was amazing... not guilty on all charges. So from all but giving up and willing to accept almost any plea deal to winning his life and career back, my son owes a lot to Mr. Esparza. He is now getting ready to go back to his military career in something that has been his life's dream... being a pilot in the Air Force." --- Military client's Dad, General Court-Martial, USAF

"Mr. Esparza left no detail unchecked and represented me comprehensively... due primarily to Mr. Esparza’s legal competence, proactiveness, and expert tact in dealing with the prosecutor, my Class A misdemeanor DWI case was resolved by plea deal that not only left no mark whatsoever on my criminal record (which was my sole objective), but also resulted in cost avoidance greater than the fee for Mr. Esparza’s services. Furthermore, the outcome Mr. Esparza achieved in my criminal case helped me circumvent the typical military administrative consequences for the offense, including demotion and non-judicial punishment. I could not be happier with the outcome Mr. Esparza achieved on my behalf, and I highly urge DWI defendants to get ahead of their case and guarantee the best possible outcome by hiring Mr. Joseph Esparza." ---  Military client, civilian charge, USAF

"I am an Army Combat Medic all thanks to Mr. Esparza!!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! ...Mr. Esparza fought for me! He was the perfect attorney...The moment I got the verdict, “NOT GUILTY!!!!!” again I was speechless. Mr. Esparza and God saved me!!! I cannot express how much this man has done for me and my career! He is the best and forever will he receive Christmas cards from me!!...I cannot express how much I recommend this attorney...Mr. Esparza, I thank you from the bottom of heart and will never be able to express how grateful I am that you were my attorney and you were the one who stood beside me in this horrible situation. You are a friend of mine for life." --- Military client, US Army

"The Best of the Best. Mr. Esparza represented me during my court martial after I had been charged with sexual assault. I was terrified my life was going to be taken away from me, these were serious charges and I facing serious charges, confinement, and having to register as a sex offender. I knew the accusation was false and I needed someone to fight for me. After talking to Mr. Esparza he reassured me everything was going to be OK and won the case with a "Not Guilty". There were a lot of witness interviews in this case and Mr. Esparza worked hard day and night to uncover inconsistencies in the witnesses testimonies. He knows what he is doing, he's very professional, and very wise in the court of law. I would recommend Mr. Esparza to anyone because he is simply The Best. The results speak for themselves because I am NOT GUILTY!!" --- Military client, General Court-Martial, USAF

"Mr. Esparza was recommended to me after a year and a half of dealing with another attorney. My son was facing very serious criminal charges that would dramatically impact the rest of his life . After making the decision to work with him he was able to seamlessly step in and move forward with working on my son's case . I was previously told by my other attorney we had to take a plea deal. So when Mr. Esparza took over he was very professional, knowledgeable, and tenacious while working this case. He eventually achieved a full dismissal. I am very fortunate to have had him working my son's case and would recommend him to anyone in need of a excellent attorney. I can't put into words how pleased I am with the outcome and wish I would of came to him first. I highly recommend Joseph Esparza!" --- Civilian client (multiple felony charges)

"I cannot be more happy with the experience I received working with Joseph. Due to his hard work and knowledge of the law, I received a full acquittal on all the charges. Joseph listened to my recommendations, is calm and collected and worked hard on my case. He left no stone under turned and due to his knowledge he was able to keep the prosecution guessing. Joseph was very accessible in that I could call or come down to his office at any time if need be to discuss the case. He consistently worked long hours to ensure my success. I am glad I decided to go with Joseph who replaced previous counsel I had hired. I believe the results speak for themselves on Joseph's performance...FULL ACQUITTAL. I believe Joseph should be anyone's FIRST choice if in the same situation." --- Military client, General Court-Martial, US Army

bottom of page