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San Diego Criminal
Defense Lawyers


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If you live in the San Diego area and find yourself in need of a criminal defense lawyer to help you win a criminal case, contact our law firm right away.

We have some of the best criminal lawyers and we understand the legalities of navigating the United States criminal justice system.



Criminal Defense FAQ's

When Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’re facing felony charges, such as domestic violence, or San Diego DUI, or murder, you need someone to make a case for you. This is such a broad section of the law however that it seems overwhelming. Who are the criminal defense lawyers? Do they work cases like mine? How do I know which type of lawyer to hire?

Yes, a criminal defense lawyer is an overarching term but that is because the cases they handle are not particularly narrowed into one field. Attorneys that handle criminal cases are specialty lawyers. But it is a specialty that most crimes fall into. Good attorneys can do a lot for you and they can be invaluable in helping to resolve your legal matters.

When facing charges, act quickly. The sooner you retain a lawyer the sooner you’ll be able to work on building a strong defense. Not any one case is exactly like any other, so you need a defense lawyer with the skills to constantly adapt to changing conditions.

Criminal defense lawyer in San Diego.

Why Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Being charged with any form of crime and facing the allegations ahead of you turn your world upside down. It doesn’t matter if the allegations are major or minor, this is your life and it is serious. Any person who faces felony charges is at risk of experiencing severe penalties. The consequences of the allegations you’re facing will vary greatly depending on what charges are against you.

Understanding the allegations is step one in knowing how much risk and what penalties you are subject to. A defense lawyer can help you understand these allegations, the risk involved, and what penalties you could be subject to if convicted. You could suffer any of the following:

  • Jail time
  • Loss of relationships
  • A damaged reputation
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of future job opportunities
  • Felony conviction

These are all consequences of criminal charges which add to the court fees, legal fees, and restitution fees. A strong defense lawyer can establish your defense to resolve the legal issues you’re up against.

What Will a Criminal Defense Attorney for My Case?

Use a criminal defense attorney to establish the best criminal defense possible. Attorneys go well above and beyond just questioning people in a courtroom they can:

  • Negotiate with prosecutors
  • Seek reduced charges
  • Seek lesser sentences if convicted
  • Work on sentencing programs if convicted
  • Can explain legal rules, charges, and court customs
  • Can explain hidden court costs

An attorney is expected to do a lot because the list above doesn’t cover half of what they’re expected to do.


Attorneys can negotiate deals for you with the prosecutors on your case. Prosecutors are notoriously known for being difficult with anyone who is defending themselves. However, defense attorneys can negotiate deals to lower the charges or reduce sentencing.


Programs for sentencing are tailored to meet your needs and the needs of your case. Defendants are expected to behave in a law-abiding manner, to prevent any future run-ins with the law. Usually, programs for sentencing and reduced sentences are only available to first-time offenders and those who acted under coercion.

Specific crimes such as kidnapping and larceny can be severely affected by coercion. If you were held under threat of physical harm and instructed to carry out these crimes you should get immediate legal consultation.

Coping with Stress

Attorneys, although they are not counselors, are expected to provide a certain level of help in dealing with stress. The fear and anxiety that comes with facing felony charges can be unnerving. Not to mention the embarrassment and damage to reputation. How can anyone be expected to go through a trial while mental sharpness is dulled by the trouble that lurks around the corner and mounting stress and anxiety?

Attorneys are expected to on some level help their clients process the events they are going through and prepare for them for the worst. In this case, preparing clients for the worst-case scenario they are often responsible for being a constant reality check. By giving a knowledgeable view of the law an attorney can help their client maintain an objective perspective on the case. Anyone facing serious charges should seek legal consultation to become more mentally stable in order to endure a trial where they are the accused.

What Does a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

What to look for in a criminal defense lawyer is subjective to each person. Be sure to choose the best criminal defense attorney that fits your personality. This can impact you immensely in the long run. From felonies to misdemeanors many defense attorneys spread their experience over a number of different sectors of criminal defense so you should.

Many explore drug charges, white-collar crimes such as embezzlement and work state and federal charges. If you’re looking for a defense lawyer, you should interview a few them to ensure that you’re working with someone that understands the specifics f your case. Most lawyers specialize in a particular field. For instance, if you are faced with kidnapping, you should seek out an attorney that has experience in kidnapping cases.

You should expect even a “cheap criminal defense attorney” attorney to assist you in seeking reduced charges or a lesser offense. Many attorneys are able to work with the prosecution to reduce felonies down to misdemeanors. There is no guarantee that this will be the case in your situation, but this is the mark of a persuasive attorney.

The punishment of the crime revolves around a great number of factors, defense lawyers should know how to navigate the legal waters to reduce your sentencing if convicted. In line with this you should expect them to attempt, and hopefully, with success, reduce any time spent in jail. A common trade-off here is longer probationary periods. The goal of your attorney in this matter is likely to show the court that you’ll not be returning to any criminal activity after release. More than anything else a defense attorney should create an ideal situation for your defense strategy to be successful.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

Typical fees can be very expensive but the cost is worth it. Not to mention that as expensive as it can be, lawyer fees are often far less than what many people think they are.

A lawyer with experience and a good reputation is an invaluable resource. Many attorneys require an upfront retainer fee. Interviewing multiple attorneys can help you get a better understanding of an average cost of an attorney is in your area.

What to look for in a criminal defense lawyer?

During the firm meeting with any defense attorney, you need to evaluate a few aspects before officially hiring them. Because of the extreme situation, you find yourself in, it’s important that you understand the skill level of your attorney. If you need someone who is particularly experienced in crime scene investigations or interviewing you should make these requests early in your working relationship. Be honest and forthcoming with what you need from your lawyer.

Because each state has its own laws and own way of applying them be sure they are familiar with your state. You will have a type of interview during your first meeting. During this time, you should ask them what penalties you could face in this state and if there is the possibility of federal charges.

Before you make a final decision on who should defend you, you should ask these questions:

  • What experience do you have handling cases that are similar to mine?
  • How much of my case will you be available for or will your staff take care of most of it?
  • How many cases have you had to go to a jury trial how many trials have you litigated?
  • How many clients have you helped mitigate charges before they were formerly filed?
  • What is the percentage of cases that you resolved through plea agreements?
  • How often do you ask for a lesser charge what are your attorney’s fees?
  • Are there any additional, hidden legal fees I should know about?
  • Does your firm offer a payment plan or are you willing to work with a payment plan?
  • Are you comfortable providing references from past clients?


Mary Gomez

Jay Monico keeps impressing me every time, he is very straight forward and told me what to expect every step of the way, he was articulate, knowable and effective. I’ll be forever grateful!

Joey Varnam

Had the absolute best experience possible with San Diego Criminal. I am so glad I went with SDC because they were 100% the reason I got my case dismissed. They were a pleasure to work with and were all very knowledgeable about any question I had. Would recommend them to ANYONE looking for someone to represent you!

Mike Elliott

I found myself in a sticky situation and decided to cal San Diego Criminal. I was really nervous, but after speaking with kerry about my situation, all my doubt was relieved. San Diego Criminal took care of everything for me and were 100% responsible for getting me the absolute best outcome in my case. I cannot thank SDC enough for all their help and would highly recommend them if you find yourself in a legal trouble.


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