Tara Haaland-Ford, Attorney at Law

Tara has dedicated the past decade of her career defending the rights of individuals accused of crimes in Santa Barbara. As a Santa Barbara local, Ms. Haaland-Ford completed her undergraduate degree at the Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara and then attended the University of San Francisco, School of Law. At the University of San Francisco, School of Law, Ms. Haaland Ford was in the top 10% of her class, graduating Magna Cum Laude. While in law school Ms. Haaland-Ford participated in teaching the "Street Law Program" at the San Francisco Juvenile Hall, she represented clients through the "Criminal Law Clinic," she interned at the Bayview Hunter's Point Community Defender's Office, and she interned at the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office.

As the current vice chairperson and former secretary of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission in Santa Barbara and the current President of the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic, Ms. Haaland-Ford volunteers her time to a wide array of legal-oriented groups and organizations. Through the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic, Ms. Haaland-Ford volunteers her legal expertise through these non-profit organizations, representing and counseling children and teens facing a wide array of legal issues in the greater Santa Barbara areas.

Ms. Haaland-Ford is the former President of the Barristers' Club of Santa Barbara and is an active member of the California State Bar, the Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Association, the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, the California Public Defender's Association, the Santa Barbara Women Lawyer's Associattion and the Barristers' Club of Santa Barbara.

As a sole practitioner focusing exclusively on criminal defense in the greater Santa Barbara area, Ms. Haaland-Ford has gained vast knowledge and experience in the area of criminal defense and has developed a reputation as being an aggressive advocate for those accused of crimes. At the Law office of Tara Haaland-Ford, we have represented clients accused of all levels of criminal offenses, ranging from minor traffic violations to the most serious of crimes such as manslaughter and murder.

In approaching each and every individual case that Ms. Haaland-Ford undertakes, she incorporates a wide array of formal training, practical knowledge, aggressive approaches, and diverse on-the-job experience in defending and preserving the rights of her criminal defense clients. Aside from Ms. Haaland-Ford's formal legal education at the University of San Francisco, School of law, Ms. Haaland-Ford's decade of on-the-job criminal defense experience as a criminal defense attorney working on hundreds of criminal cases has been the key in Ms. Haaland-Ford's development and mastery of the unique and challenging obstacles that a successful criminal defense must overcome and continue to overcome to be an effective advocate, protecting the rights of the accused. Through senior attorney mentorship by some of the largest players in the criminal defense community, Ms. Haaland-Ford has achieved much for her clients over the course of her career. Among the most influential and involved attorneys in Ms. Haaland-Ford's professional development as a Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer has been Steven R. Balash, Jr., a renowned Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney. Mr. Balash has been defending individuals accused of crimes for over forty years, and Ms. Haaland-Ford has incorporated much of Mr. Balash's training, experience, and effective approaches into her own legal practice at the Law Office of Tara Haaland-Ford.

Mr. Balash has a plethora of knowledge and experience in the area of criminal defense, has developed a reputation as being an aggressive advocate for those accused of crimes, and has been designted by the State Bar of California as a "Certified Criminal Law Specialist" since 1975. He attended college at the United States Naval Academy and thereafter completed law school at the University of San Diego. As a young attorney, Mr. Balash attended the United States Navy Justice School and the Military Judge's School. He began his private criminal defense practice in June of 1971 and has continually succeeded in seeking desirable outcomes for his clients and fighting to preserve his client's rights.

Mr. Balash has earned the top rating of A/V by Martindale Hubbell. As an experienced criminal defense trial attorney in Santa Barbara, Mr. Balash has been appointed by the local courts on numerous high profile criminal cases being prosecuted in the Santa Barbara Superior Court. These include some of the most notorious Santa Barbara area homicide and death penalty cases. He has appeared as a legal correspondent on 48-hours, Fox News and KEYT. In addition, he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the London Times, the Santa Barbara Independent and the Santa Barbara News Press. Mr. Balash is an active member of the State Bar of California, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the American Bar Association and the California Public Defender's Association. Mr. Balash is a sole practitioner and has been practicing criminal defense for nearly forty years. As an experienced Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Balash's reported cases include:

       - Scull v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 784, 254 Cal.Rptr.24;
       - People v. Zamora (1976) 18 Cal.3d 538, 134 Cal.Rptr.784
       - People v. Sweet (Cal.App.2nd Dist. 1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 78, 254 Cal.Rptr. 567