Joe Hoelscher

Joe Hoelscher is an award-winning criminal and family law trial lawyer whose dedication to vigorously defending his clients has earned him national recognition. Having been involved with the legal system since his mother's disappearance and murder in 1986, Joe knows how tough court is on clients and families in need of legal assistance. As a result, he has dedicated his law practice to helping his clients navigate the legal system so they can gain closure and find peace.The Hoelscher, Gebia and Cepeda Law Office's holistic approach to client services frequently involves the use of experts and counselors to help clients develop their case while overcoming the problems that led them to be involved with the legal system, whether in civil, criminal or federal court.

Hoelscher has deliberately staffed his office with successful  professionals who share in the experience of having been in court as litigants, victims and witnesses so they can better understand their clients' needs. As a result, he has successfully represented clients in high-profile civil and criminal cases covered by outlets such as Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, The New York Daily News, Washington Times and America's Most Wanted. Joe is a published author and regular speaker at public events and legal seminars. He advocates a client-centered approach to legal representation and aggressive trial-oriented approach to the law. 

Joe is a native San Antonian, graduate of MacArthur High School and has three graduate degrees from St. Mary's University and Baylor Law School. While practicing throughout Texas, he lives in San Antonio with his wife  Melissa and three kids: Louisa, Cecilia and Wolfgang. He supports a variety of social causes through his pro bono legal work which focuses on children's issues, the rights of indigent accused, voters' rights and First and Second Amendment issues. 

Joe helped locate his own mother, missing 30 years.

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Areas of Practice


  • Baylor University School of Law, Waco, Texas

  • St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas

    M.A. - 2002
    Major: MA-Communications Studies, MA -International Relations
  • Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas

    B.A. Major: Political Science, Communications Studies, International Relations

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 2007

  • S. District Court Western District of Texas, 2007

Published Works

  • Speedy Trial: Punishing the System for Making Us Wait
  • Voice For The Defense Magazine, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, Nov., 2015
  • "Sealing Criminal Records", The Defender Magazine, San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, Summer, 2012
  • Contributor, “Foreign Corrupt Trade Practices Act”, Chester’s Practical Guide to International Trade Law, 2008

Representative Cases

  • In Re Z.C.J., CM 04-12-00010-CV Mem. Op. (Tex. App.)-San Antonio 2012 (Texas 227th 2012)
  • State v. Lorraine Badillo, 2006-CR-9862 (Texas 144th 2010)
  • State v. Frank Dotson 2010-CR-0565, CM 04-10-00234-CR Mem. Op. (Tex. App.) -San Antonio 2011 (Texas 290th 2010)
  • State v. Randy Buentello, CC288068 (Bexar County Court 5 2009)
  • State v. LuAnn Chase, CC267200 (Bexar County Court 5 2008)
  • State v. Sergio Garza, 2009-CR-6912 (Texas 226th 2010)
  • State v. Maurice Long , 2007-CR-1392 (Texas 187th 2008)
  • State v. Jermaine Guerra, 2007-CR-5005 (Texas 175th 2008)
  • State v. Marcus Cooper, 2013-CR-11661 (Texas 186th 2014)
  • State v. Hilda Valadez, 2012-CR-6852 (Texas 227th 2014)


  • Communicating with Clients With PTSD, PTSD: The Elephant In The Courtroom CLE, Nov. 6 2015
  • Cops As Witnesses: Friend or Foe., CLE Plaintiff’s Litigation Insight Seminar, July 2015
  • Unsinking the Ship: Techniques for Saving Clients Who Confessed, San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (“SACDLA”) CLE, 2015
  • Contract Systems for Indigent Defense, Bexar County Task Force, 2011
  • The Role of Non-Profit Organizations in Criminal Justice Show KRTU, Get Up! Radio, 2009
  • Changing Lanes: New Directions in Vehicle Search Law CLE, SACDL Monthly, 2009
  • Issues in Non-Profit Formation and Service, Community Legal Forum, 2009
  • Starting a Law Practice , Baylor Law School, 2008

Honors and Awards

  • Top 10 DWI Lawyers in Texas, American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys, 2014 - 2015
  • Client Distinction Award, Martindale-Hubbell, 2015
  • Top 30 DWI Lawyers, S.A. Scene Magazine, 2015
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, 2014 - 2015
  • Best Lawyers of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, S.A. Scene Magazine, 2012 - 2015
  • Top 30 Criminal Defense Attorneys, S.A. Scene Magazine, 2014
  • Best Family Lawyers in San Antonio, S.A. Scene Magazine, 2014
  • Best of the Best – Criminal Practice, Texas Lawyers’ Group, 2012
  • Top 30 Criminal Lawyers in San Antonio according to Scene in SA Magazine, August 2015 edition

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Member, 2014 - Present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers(NACDL), Member, 2009 - Present
  • San Antonio Bar Association (SABA) Mentorship Committee, Mentor, 2013 - Present
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Legal Committee, Member, 2007 - Present
  • National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyer, 2014 - Present
  • Christian Legal Society, Member, 2014 - Present
  • Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas, Member, 2014 - Present
  • College of the State Bar of Texas, Member, 2008 - Present
  • American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys(AIDUIA), Member, 2014 - Present
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association(TCDLA), Member, 2007 - Present
  • San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association(SACDLA), Member, 2007 - Present
  • Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honors Society, Member, 1996 - Present

Past Employment Positions


  • English (Primary)

  • Spanish


  • Phi Kappa Sigma

  • Alpha Phi Omega