County City Pages

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys


Hiring one of the best local San Diego criminal defense attorneys near you who are aggressive is one of the best decisions you can make for your criminal defense case.

The right San Diego criminal lawyer can be the difference between no jail time, minimal jail time, or a long time in prison.

So speaking with and retaining the right San Diego criminal defense lawyer near you who handles all types of state and federal criminal charges is needed and should be your top priority for your drunk driving offenses, theft offenses, sex offenses, drug offenses, hit and run felonyrestraining order, domestic violence, embezzlement, fraud, juvenile crimes, murder, assault, battery case(s), etc.

The Public Policy Institute of California reported that San Diego County in 2016 had over 1000 arrests for misdemeanor offenses and over 4000 for felony offenses.

So when you or someone you know has been arrested, accused of, and/or charged with breaking the law by the county DA, police, and court, it's not time to give up it's time to hire an experienced, aggressive, and one of the best criminal defense attorneys in San Diego near you to properly defend your case.

Making the best choice by hiring the right criminal defense attorneys in the area is really important for a positive outcome of your case. 

Finding the right attorneys can make a difference in your case.

Contact an english and spanish speaking criminal lawyer near you whose ultimate goal is to provide you with the best representation that can get all your charges dismissed or reduced significantly.

San Diego Criminal Attorneys, Law Process, Free Consultation & More

Going through criminal charges in any San Diego county city including, San Diego, Escondido, Chula Vista, Vista, Oceanside, , Encinitas, San Marcos, Carlsbad, El Cajon, etc, is frightening and nerve-wracking.

There is so many California criminal law process that it can be daunting for someone who is not a lawyer.

On this page, The San Diego Criminal Defense Pros will give you some information about the process of criminal cases, what to look for in a criminal lawyer, and the number to call for a FREE consultation, etc.

Below is some important information about criminal law and defense in the city.

Let's get started.

Misdemeanor & Felony Process in San Diego

Here is a brief summary of the processes for both misdemeanor and felony cases in San Diego, California.

San Diego criminal laws are based on the California criminal penal codes.

We will be giving the general overview of those laws below, however, when you meet or talk to defense attorneys that you are considering hiring, they can go further into details on how each process pertains to your specific case.

A. Misdemeanor Cases

Misdemeanor Arrests

First, an arrest is made. Often times in a misdemeanor case, the Defendant is not taken to jail, but rather given a citation and makes a promise to appear at an Arraignment within the next 30 days or so. If the police take you to jail, three things can happen

  •  released with no charges filed;
  • posts bail/bond or is released on his or her own recognizance ("O.R.") and is scheduled for arraignment; or
  • remains in the custody and is transported to court for arraignment.
Misdemeanor Arraignment
  • Defendant’s first appearance in court is the Arraignment.

The following events occur at an Arraignment:

  • informed of the charges against him or her;
  • advised of his or her constitutional rights;
  • cannot afford an attorney of his or her own choice, an attorney is appointed by the court;
  • enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  •  is released on his or her "Own Recognizance," or the court sets bail, and the defendant is remanded/committed to the custody of the Sheriff.
Misdemeanor Investigation

After the Arraignment, your San Diego attorney should begin an independent investigation into the alleged offense. This includes, among other things, visiting the scene of the alleged crime, interviewing witnesses to the alleged crime, interviewing and investigating the accuser, interviewing the family and friends of the charged, and sending any necessary evidence to scientific and/or psychological experts.

The Pre-trial Hearing or Readiness Conference

At the pretrial hearing, there is an exchange of information between the prosecution and the defense known as discovery. Pretrial motions may also be filed before the start of the trial. Motions may be made to set aside the complaint, dismiss the case, suppress evidence, etc. The defendant may at this point change his or her plea to guilty or no contest.

Pretrial Motions and Motions in Limine
Jury Trial 

Before a trial can begin, a jury must be selected. During the trial, witnesses may testify and evidence will be presented. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury must decide if one is guilty or not guilty. If the jury finds someone not to be guilty, he or she is released and cannot be tried again for the same crime.

If one is found guilty, the case will be continued for sentencing, or he or she may be sentenced immediately. However, a San Diego criminal defense attorney may appeal a conviction to the Appellate Department of the Superior Court.

Court Trial

In lieu of a jury trial, the parties may agree to proceed with a court trial, in which the judge hears the evidence and arguments and finds the accused guilty or not guilty. Most criminal defense attorneys will try to avoid a court trial and will try to work out a deal as court trials are very expensive and things might get worse for you.

B. Felony Cases 

Felony crimes are punishable by a sentence to a state prison term of more than one year or death. Some examples of felonies are murder, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, robbery, and rape.

Felony Arrest

It is possible, in a felony case, that the charges were brought against the accused after a Grand Jury investigation which led to a Grand Jury Indictment. If this is the case, a warrant will likely be put out for your arrest, and then you will be arraigned after the arrest. However, in most cases, the accused is arrested and then arraigned on the complaint.

Felony Arraignment

A felony arraignment on the complaint is the defendant's first court appearance.

The court sets bail and the defendant is remanded to custody, or the defendant is released on his or her "Own Recognizance"

Felony Preliminary Hearing

If the case was filed by a complaint, then once you are  "held to answer," the prosecuting agency files a document called the Information. You will subsequently be arraigned on the Information at which time he or she will enter a plea and proceed to trial.

The rest of the process is just like a misdemeanor.

San Diego Federal Criminal Charges 

Federal charges in San Diego are very serious charges.  In Federal charges, the government has the resources to prosecute you. And this is why you need the right San Diego criminal defense lawyer with the resources to fight your case

Federal crimes are crimes that are committed across the state line or involve federal agencies like banks, post offices, federal agents, etc.

Internet crimes like the illegal download of songs or movies are also considered federal crimes.

Here is the list of some federal crimes:

  • Securities Fraud
  • Social Security Fraud
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Immigration Fraud
  • Internet Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Accounting Fraud
  • Antitrust
  • Tax Crimes
  • Terrorism
  • Computer Crimes
  • Conspiracy
  • Corporate Crimes
  • Drug Crimes
  • Espionage
  • Bank Fraud

Typical San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Practice Areas

Criminal attorneys represent those accused of any type of felony or misdemeanor charges, they typically can handle all San Diego criminal defense cases and those types of cases are known as practice areas.

So if you are looking for any of the below types of attorneys for criminal defense help call to speak with one.

  • DUI
  • Murder 
  • Rape 
  • Sex Crimes 
  • Assault And Battery 
  • Child Abuse 
  • Drug Crimes 
  • Drug Possession 
  • Drug Sales 
  • Drug Trafficking 
  • Drug Manufacturing 
  • Domestic Violence 
  • Domestic Battery
  • Domestic Assault
  • Spousal Abuse
  • Theft Crimes 
  • Restraining Order 
  • Burglary 
  • Robbery and Carjacking
  •  Illegal Weapons Crimes
  • Gang Crimes 
  • Fraud 
  • Juvenile Crimes 
  • Grand Theft 
  • Petty Theft
  • Shoplifting 
  • Embezzlement
  • White Collar 
  • Traffic Ticket 
  • Probation Violation 
  •  Expungement 

Ask San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys These Questions

1. Have they been practicing law for a number of years

2. Have they won serious cases

3. Are they exclusive or main practice criminal defense law

4. Do they have testimonials and positive reviews from past clients

5. Do they have the resources like an investigator and other support staff that can help in winning your case

6. Are they a member of both the state and local bar

7. Are they respected by their peers, judge, and feared by the prosecutor

8. Have they been disciplined by the state or local bar

9. Do they pick up their phone when you need them

Please do your due diligence before hiring an attorney.

Ask them good questions to make sure that they will fight hard to get you results.

Even though, a San Diego attorney typically can't guarantee results, hiring the best of the best will increase your chances of getting your charges dropped or reduced significantly.

What The Best San Diego Criminal Attorneys Typically Offer

Attorneys in the city should pride themselves on client care. They should strive to treat each other with core values of respect and communication.

A criminal attorney's goal should also be to ensure that each and every one of their client is afforded the right to a defense and the right to a fair trial. They should fight hard to uphold the Constitution and to force the Prosecution to meet their burden of proof.

In doing so, they will do whatever is necessary to fight for your freedom, to fight for your innocence, and if necessary, to create a reasonable doubt as to your guilt.

In addition to some of the basic core values mentioned above, they should fight aggressively for your rights in every case and also  offer:

  • When you call or meet you will be speaking with an experienced legal team
  •  Consistent availability during your case
  • Have gotten many of their clients' positives results and helped get their cases dismissed
  • Years of combined proven legal experience
  • They will fight your case all over San Diego County court
  • Free Case Evaluation
  • Offer payment plans options
  • Possible evening & weekend appointments

Asking For Payment Plans & Affordable Criminal Lawyer Help

That's right. Some criminal lawyers offer payment plans and affordable criminal defense help.

Just ask for affordable payment plans and finance options when you speak with a law firm.


How do criminal lawyers charge their clients?

Most criminal lawyers charge based on retainers. Some offer a flat fee or by the hour.

How long does a criminal case take?

It all depends on so many circumstances, however, a misdemeanor might take one to six weeks and felony two months to one year.

Can I recover my fees or sue for malicious prosecution

Yes, but it is hard to win these cases. You can file a civil lawsuit for malicious persecution.

The San Criminal Criminal Defense Pros Can Connect You With Lawyers Near You Asap

The California criminal law process is a very complicated process and requires aggressive representation from experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyers.

So if you or a loved one is charged with committing any type of crime in San Diego county including East, South or North County, call the number on this website contact page to be connected with criminal attorneys who may be able to help you.

Do not wait, your freedom and life are at stake.

The San Diego Criminal Defense Pros will get you connected with a lawyer at no cost to you.

Get a no-obligation consultation with criminal lawyers who may be able to help you or a loved one.

San Diego criminal defense attorneys who get their client's results throughout the county courts can make a difference in your criminal case.

Good criminal lawyers typically have good relationships and know how to work with the city and county DA office and judges which will be beneficial to you.

Tap for FREE Case Review!