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San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

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If you need a San Diego criminal defense lawyer and live in or around San Diego, California look no further. Criminal defense lawyer Kerry Steigerwalt is a San Diego domestic violence attorney, DUI attorney, and criminal defense for assault and battery. Anyone charged with misdemeanors or felonies through the criminal justice system wants the best defense lawyer assisting them. It is essential to get knowledgeable and experienced throughout the process. You need to take the time to search thoroughly until, according to your judgment, you find the top criminal defense attorney in your area.

Be sure to find a good criminal defense lawyer that will be an effective advocate for you. The best criminal lawyer understands the legalities of navigating the United States criminal justice system. If you live in the San Diego area and find yourself in need of a criminal defense lawyer to help you win a criminal defense case, contact Kerry Steigerwalt – San Diego Criminal Law firms to handle your case. Kerry is an experienced criminal defense attorney located in San Diego California.

When charges are filed you should immediately contact a lawyer to assist you. Keep in mind that searching through a criminal defense attorney directory may not be your best bet and a cheap criminal defense lawyer is not necessarily the best criminal defense attorney for your situation.

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 top criminal lawyer is a step towards a strong case.

Since each case is unique, 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. Contact us today at (619) 777-7171 and schedule a consultation at no cost to you.

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.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer contact San Diego Criminal today

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.

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. Many laws are 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.

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 individual 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 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.

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?

Criminal defense suspect in San Diego.

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.

Why You Should Choose a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Rather Than Defend Yourself

Many people don’t realize that they aren’t able to represent themselves in a court of law. The justice system requires that a 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 good legal defense. However, the bigger issues here are that if for any reason you do decide to defend yourself you are completely on your own. Defense lawyers and judges refer to this as “pro se” which means “for one’s own person”. But, by waiving your right to legal representation you take responsibility for educating yourself on legal matters and understanding how the law applies to your case.

Nearly anyone who is facing felony charges does not have the legal background necessary to provide themselves with a strong defense. Even 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. Good lawyers can work with you to navigate the ever-changing scenarios in your case.

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

A good 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 good 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.

Remember, if you live in or around San Diego California, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is an expense worth taking and can severely affect the course of your case in court. Call San Diego Criminal today for a free case evaluation. Call (619) 777-7171 now!

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