Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Diego, CA

If you are charged with misdemeanors or felonies through the criminal justice system you will want to have a criminal defense lawyer assisting, you throughout the process. They can advocate for you, find defenses you would not have thought of and they should understand the legalities of navigating the United States criminal justice system.

When charges are filed you should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer. You will want to hire the best in the area but know that the best for you and the best for your friend could be two different defense lawyers. The legal system is designed for attorneys to navigate it. The legal jargon, complex rules and structure make it difficult for anyone to represent themselves or hire cheap and inexperienced attorneys that cut corners. Even if you are very intelligent and well-versed in legal knowledge, hiring a criminal defense attorney is a step towards a strong case.

Since each criminal case is unique, criminal defense lawyers have learned to identify key areas of your case that make it stand out. What is special about your case may have been the resolving aspect of a previous case they worked. Criminal defense lawyers are able to pick apart key areas for arguments and identify which factors can work to mitigate the allegations. In the end, a criminal defense attorney is necessary, and many people don’t fall into the income bracket necessary for the court to appoint you one.

When Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need a criminal defense lawyer. 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. Criminal defense is a specialty, but it is a specialty that most crimes fall into. A criminal defense attorney can do a lot for you and they are a valuable tool in helping to resolve your legal matters.

When facing criminal charges, act quickly. The sooner you retain a criminal defense lawyer the sooner you work on building a strong defense. Not any one case is exactly like any other. Which means that criminal defense lawyers have built the skills to constantly adapt to changing conditions. They

Why Hire a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer?

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 criminal 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
  • Criminal record
  • Felony conviction
  • Criminal arrest

These are all consequences of criminal charges. Then after experiencing these, add on the court fees, legal fees, and restitution fees. Any form of criminal arrest warrants hiring a criminal defense lawyer. A strong defense lawyer can establish your defense to resolve the legal issues you’re up against.

What Will a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer for My Case?

A criminal defense attorney will act with your best interests in mind. They can identify the variables of your case and build a defense around it. Use criminal defense attorneys to establish the best defense possible. Attorneys go well above and beyond just questioning people in a courtroom. Expect your criminal defense attorney to:

  • 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.


A criminal defense attorney 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, when working with a defense attorney they can negotiate deals to lower the charges or reduce a 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 consult with a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

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 criminal charges can be unnerving. Not to mention the embarrassment and reputational damage. How can anyone be expected to go through a trial while mentally sharp and prepared for trouble ahead if they are already stressed?

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. Someone facing any form of charges can need the consolation to become mentally strong enough to endure a criminal trial where they are the accused.

Legal Knowledge and Experience

Legal rules are complex, difficult, and downright confusing. People who represent themselves even if determined as legally competent can find it impossible to sustain their own resources for legal knowledge. Not to mention adhering to court customs. Much of criminal law is tucked away, hidden in a slew of legal jargon that relies on court interpretations. In federal or state statutes and constitutions judges often have differing interpretations. Criminal defense attorneys strive to deliver quality information. Only through interviewing attorneys can you gain an understanding of their experience and knowledge of state laws. By speaking with multiple criminal defense attorneys, you can gauge not only their prices but the different defense courses they would pursue if they were to take your case.

An additional expectation of criminal defense lawyers is that they spend time on your case that you are unable to spend. You have a job and can’t take time out of your workday to track down witnesses and ask for statements. Just like you don’t have all day to hunt down police reports or court documents.

Protect Your Rights

Attorneys above all else should fully understand your rights and how they apply to your defense. There are legal rules that are complicated to understand. However, these rules are often used to dismiss charges and identify areas where the investigation or police department failed to uphold your rights.

The right to due process is one that comes into courtrooms as a defense regularly. Due process states that no government either state or federal can deprive you of “life, liberty or property without due process of law”. One example of a due process violation is for the prosecution to use evidence without notifying the induvial of the evidence which will be used against them.

Knowing your rights and protecting them in court are two different battles. A defense lawyer can defend your rights in court and throughout the investigation process if you retain them early enough. They can ensure that you see a fair trial and have your side of the story heard. You have the right to an unbiased trial and to have received notice of that trial. You also have the right to know what evidence is intended to be used against you and examine any witnesses the prosecution uses. But, most of all, you have the right (and should exercise it) to have legal counsel represent you.

What Do I Need to Know When Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal defense lawyers can accomplish a number of different resolutions for the cases that come across their desks. From felonies to misdemeanors many defense attorneys spread their experience over a number of different sectors of criminal defense. 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 criminal defense lawyers specialize in a particular field. For instance, if you are faced with criminal charges relating to kidnapping you should seek out an attorney that has experience in kidnapping cases.

You should expect a criminal defense 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. A criminal defense lawyer should also work diligently to lessen the severity of any sentencing. 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.

First Meeting

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 a criminal defense lawyer.

Because each state has their 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, you should ask any criminal defense lawyer these questions:

  • What experience do you have handling cases that are similar to mine?
  • How much of my criminal 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 formally 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?

What are the Legal Fees for a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer can we 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 people think they are. A criminal defense lawyer with experience and a good reputation is an invaluable resource. Based on each attorney the arrangement he may be able to establish a payment plan. Many attorneys require an upfront retainer fee sort of like you deposit. In many cases interviewing multiple criminal defense attorneys can help you understand what the average cost of an attorney is in your area.

Why You Should Not Defend Yourself

Many people don’t realize that they aren’t able to represent themselves in a court of law. The criminal justice system requires that judge determine a defendant as competent in understanding the court proceedings and participate appropriately.

A judge will use the defendant’s age, education level, skill in the English language, the severity of the allegations to identify if a person is competent. However, this does not account for legal skills. This is because a defendant isn’t required to have legal knowledge or the skill to apply legal knowledge in the event of self-representation. Part of this contributes to the need for a criminal defense lawyer. However, the bigger issues here are that if for any reason you do decide to defend yourself you are completely on your own. Defense lawyer and judges refer to this as “pro se” which means “for one’s own person”. But, by waiving your right to an attorney you take responsibility for educating yourself on legal matters and understanding how the law applies to your case.

Nearly anyone who is facing criminal charges does not have the legal background necessary to provide themselves with a strong defense. Even an education in law does not make for a self-represented defendant. Many attorneys and judges will agree that it doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read you probably still aren’t prepared to represent yourself.

Because the currents of the law ebb and flow reading books even from one or two years ago won’t paint a reliable picture for court rulings that are happening today. If something appears simple and you feel confident in representing yourself the prosecutor can severely complicate the situation. Because prosecutors direct so much of the trial it is difficult to say that anything is for certain. A criminal defense attorney can work with you to navigate the ever-changing scenarios in your case.

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

A good criminal defense attorney can be the difference between a successful resolution of these legal issues or serving serious jail time for an act you didn’t commit. Winning a case is never guaranteed but working towards an acceptable plea agreement or reduced charges are aspects that only a criminal defense lawyer can deliver. If you’ve already been appointed a court-ordered attorney there is no one stopping, you from consulting with a private attorney to review your options in defense.

Contact a San Diego criminal defense lawyer as soon as you know you are facing charges. Hiring an experienced San Diego Criminal lawyer is an expense worth taking and can severely affect the course of your case in court.