Joe was born in San Antonio and raised by his mother in a single-parent household on the Westside. His mother worked the night shift at Kelly Air Force Base to support her family of four boys and one girl, and she instilled in her children a strong work ethic, and a solid moral compass to do what is right “even when no one is looking.”
Joe grew up speaking both English and Spanish and is a third generation Mexican-American. He saw the constant struggle of his mother to keep enough food on the table and provide basic school supplies for him and his siblings. He did not want to let her down, so Joe dedicated his life to getting an education and making her proud.
Because Joe came from a family of modest means, he had to support himself while pursuing his college education. Joe attended St. Mary’s University where he earned a B.A., with honors, in Political Science in 1981. While at St. Mary’s University, Joe was a member and then elected as Vice President of the Political Science Club, Officer of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, ; he also served as a Student Ambassador, all the while working odd jobs and part-time at McDonald's in order to support himself while using grants and student loans to pay tuition. He then went on to attend St. Mary’s University School of Law and received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1988. Also in 1988, Joe married his college sweetheart, Yvonne. Today they have one teenage daughter, Marisa.
After graduating from law school, Joe began his legal career by practicing family law his first full year in practice.. Joe then worked as a trial prosecutor with the Bexar County District Attorney’s office from 1990 to 1992, and then returned to work in that office from 1995 until 1998, under District Attorneys Fred Rodriguez and Steve Hilbig , where he prosecuted both misdemeanor and felony cases and tried well over 100 jury trials as an Assistant District Attorney.
In 1992, when Joe’s wife began her own law school journey, it required them to move to Houston, Texas. While in Houston, Joe continued to work as a public servant by serving as a Harris County Assistant Criminal District Attorney until they returned to San Antonio in 1995. While serving in Harris County, Joe gained valuable trial experience handling serious felonies and was promoted to court chief prosecutor in one of Harris County’s juvenile courts.
Upon leaving the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office in 1998 in order to run for a county court at law bench as a Democrat, Joe opened his law practice, The Law Offices of Joe D. Gonzales, where he has continued to work as a criminal defense attorney for the last 22 years. Joe has also served as a Magistrate and Municipal Judge for the City of San Antonio for 7 years. Altogether, Joe has almost 30 years in practice of criminal law, having experienced both sides of the bar as well as a former member of the Judiciary.
Today, Joe advocates that every person should have equal rights and opportunities under the justice system. There is a real need in Bexar County to have well qualified individuals giving back to their community by serving as public servants. Joe believes that by returning to public service and bringing his almost 30 years of experience to serve the Bexar County community as your elected District Attorney, he will enact the policy to promote these values, and he pledges to work to promote criminal justice reform.
- Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1988, St. Mary’s University School of Law
- B.A. in Political Science with honors, 1981, St. Mary’s University
Biography at a glance:
1998-PRESENT: Law Offices of Joe D. Gonzales and Associates; owner and lead counsel of a criminal defense firm located in San Antonio, Texas.
1990-1992,1995-1998: Bexar County Assistant Criminal District Attorney where handled various misdemeanor and felony cases, including, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes as well as white collar crime.
1992-1995: Harris County Assistant Criminal District Attorney where managed several court dockets which culminated in position as court chief prosecutor in one of the juvenile courts.
1998-2005: Served as Magistrate and Municipal Judge for the City of San Antonio where he ruled on issues of probable cause and set bail for those arrested.
- Experienced trial attorney with over 200 jury and non-jury trials in nearly 30 years of legal practice. As a former prosecutor, he tried well over 100 jury trials to a verdict and personally prosecuted hundreds of defendants charged with serious, violent crimes.