Most people facing criminal charges have many concerns and questions. They may be anxious about going to jail or paying a fine. They may be wondering if they can afford an attorney and whether hiring an attorney will alter the outcome of their case. They may hesitate over whether they should take a plea bargain or go to trial. If you or someone in your family is being investigated or charged with DUI, domestic violence, a drug offense, or another crime in San Diego, you should contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje. Mr. Boertje has been practicing criminal defense in San Diego County since 2003, and he has handled hundreds of criminal cases. He has handled high profile cases and cases covered in the media, but he continues to offer affordable fees.
A first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor, but there are serious penalties for people convicted of a DUI. In general, the penalties for a DUI conviction can include jail time or imprisonment, fines, community service, license suspension or revocation, probation, alcohol treatment, and education. However, these penalties grow increasingly harsh with repeat DUIs— second, third, and fourth offenses. If you are arrested for drunk driving in California and during the last 10 years have convictions for three or more previous DUIs, the prosecutor will likely charge you with a felony DUI, which can entail prison time if you are convicted. If somebody is injured or killed, you will face felony charges, and you may be sentenced to time in prison. You may also face other charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, aggravated assault, or negligent homicide. It is important to retain a criminal defense attorney in San Diego who can help you deal with the full range of charges that may arise and aim to keep your record clean.
Domestic violence is taken seriously in California. In most cases, if you are accused of domestic violence, the police must arrest you. Under Penal Code section 273.5, you can be convicted of corporal injury against a spouse or cohabitant if the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you willfully inflicted a physical injury that caused a traumatic condition on a current or former intimate partner. This type of charge can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony.
Drug crimes can involve crack, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, meth, Ecstasy, Vicodin, OxyContin, or other controlled substances. You can be charged with a drug crime for possessing, possessing for sale, distributing, growing or manufacturing, transporting, importing, or trafficking. A prosecutor must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a tough burden. There may be Fourth or Fifth Amendment issues in your case that a San Diego criminal defense attorney can use to get evidence suppressed, such that a prosecutor cannot meet their burden. For example, the police must have had probable cause to search your home. If drugs were found in your home during an illegal search, it may be possible to get the drugs suppressed.
Theft crimes include grand theft, petty theft, residential burglary, commercial burglary, identity theft, petty theft without priors, fraud, and embezzlement. To prove theft, a prosecutor needs to establish the defendant's specific intent to take or withhold the owner's right to the property. Thefts may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. Generally, there is grand theft if the property was worth more than $950, or it was a gun or an automobile. Grand theft is a wobbler. That means that the prosecutor makes a determination about whether to charge a misdemeanor or felony based on factors such as past convictions, the value of the property, and the severity of the crime being alleged. Grand theft can be punished with one year in county jail, but if it is charged as a felony, you can face six months to three years in prison.
Violent crimes can include domestic violence, assault and battery, hate crimes, manslaughter, homicide, attempted murder, and murder. Some of the most common charges are assault and battery charges. Assault is an unlawful attempt to violently injure someone else. It may include verbal threats. The prosecutor does not need to show that there was an actual touching. Meanwhile, battery is the unwanted touching of a person or anything related to the person. Under California law, certain aggravating circumstances can result in elevated charges against you. For example, if you used a deadly weapon to commit a battery, you will likely be charged with aggravated battery and face more substantial penalties. A criminal defense lawyer in the San Diego area can advise you on the penalties that you may be facing and whether you may have a strong defense.
In California, if you are involved in an accident that causes property damage or injuries, you are supposed to stop, give help, and exchange your information with the other driver. If you do not, but there was only property damage, you can be charged with a hit-and-run misdemeanor under Vehicle Code section 20002. However, if someone is hurt, you can be charged with a felony under Vehicle Code section 20001.
There are many different kinds of sex crimes, including rape, date rape, statutory rape, sexual battery, child molestation, prostitution, lewd acts in public, indecent exposure, and pornography. People convicted of certain sex crimes must register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. They will need to notify local law enforcement agencies that they are registered sex offenders, and the public will have information about their sex offender status.
Felonies are the most serious crimes. They include violent crimes like murder, as well as sex crimes such as sexual activity with a child or rape. Felony convictions are often punished with long prison sentences and very harsh fines. In some cases, the stigma is such that it is difficult to find work or housing or secure a professional license after a conviction. If you are not a United States citizen, it is possible that you will be deported if you are convicted of a felony. For these reasons, it is critical to contact a San Diego criminal defense lawyer without delay if you are being investigated for a felony.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but they still remain on your permanent record if you are convicted. A conviction can affect your ability to find a job or housing or obtain a loan. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, it can affect the potential penalties for future charges, such as when there are repeat DUIs.
There are multiple different types of expungements. This is the process used to change your criminal record. Among other things, an expungement can make it easier to get a job because you do not need to tell your employer about your criminal conviction. To obtain an expungement, a motion will need to be filed at the same court at which you were sentenced.
There are three different kinds of warrants that can be issued by the court: search warrants, bench warrants, and arrest warrants. A search warrant authorizes an officer to search your home, car, or another specified area that the officer believes contains evidence of illegal activities. A bench warrant is issued for such situations as failure to pay a fine, failure to appear in court when you were ordered to do so, or failure to show up for a conviction or sentencing. An arrest warrant is another type of warrant that the police must obtain to arrest you. In order to obtain a warrant after an investigation of a crime, an officer must show the court that there is probable cause to believe that you committed the crime. Probable cause exists if the officer has a reasonable belief that criminal activity has taken place that you perpetrated. The judge signs an arrest warrant if they believe that the officer has made the requisite showing.
Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor in San Diego, it is important to obtain aggressive and experienced counsel. Mr. Boertje is rated with a 10.0 Superb rating by Avvo, Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers, and A+ Rating by Better Business Bureau. He has secured for his clients many Not Guilty trial verdicts and many dismissals. He also has successfully negotiated in many cases so that charges have not even been filed. David M. Boertje represents defendants in cities such as Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Encinitas, Escondido, La Jolla, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista. Call us toll-free at (888) 476-0901 or complete our online form to set up a consultation.