El Cajon Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Lawyer
There are few experiences more disturbing than having your hands shackled in handcuffs or having your presence compelled in a courtroom to face criminal charges. Despite the daunting prospect of being arrested and charged with misdemeanor or felony charges, you are afforded formidable legal rights that can be an effective weapon in the hands of an experienced El Cajon criminal defense attorney. Whether you have been arrested for a first time DUI offense or you are charged with a violent felony like forcible rape, the decisions you make about how to respond can significantly impact your future.
When you have the considerable resources of law enforcement agencies and experienced prosecutors arrayed against you, the most important decision you can make is to balance the scales of justice by retaining an El Cajon criminal defense lawyer. IF YOU ARE ARRESTED OR ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, YOU SHOULD ASSERT YOUR RIGHT NOT TO TALK TO THE POLICE OUTSIDE THE PRESENCE OF AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about El Cajon Criminal Cases
Because El Cajon criminal defense lawyer David M. Boertje understands that individuals who have been arrested or charged with a crime have many questions, we have provided answers to many of the questions we receive.
What are the potential consequences if you are charged with committing a crime in El Cajon?
Although the punishment that you may be exposed to if you are charged with a crime in California will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your criminal case, some of the penalties that might be associated with a conviction include:
- Imprisonment or county jail time
- Fines and penalty assessments
- Loss of driving privileges
- Criminal record
- Mandatory participation in counseling, anger management classes and/or rehabilitation programs
These are just a few of the formal penalties that might result from a misdemeanor or felony conviction in El Cajon. While these penalties can have a significant impact on your life, the long-term impact of a criminal conviction can have other far reaching consequences, such as:
- Deportation and other negative immigration consequences
- Discovery by prospective employers
- Restrictions on where you can live
- Possible denial of student aid or other loans
- Forfeiture of gun possession, voting and jury service rights
- Registration as a sex offender
- Job loss
Why do I need a private criminal defense attorney?
While some people qualify for a public defender, there are strict income qualification standards so only destitute individuals will qualify for a court appointed lawyer. Even if you do qualify for a court appointed attorney, there are huge benefits to being represented by a private criminal defense lawyer. Although attorneys in the public defender’s office generally are conscientious and competent, they typically have enormous caseloads, so you may only get to meet with your attorney in the hallways for a few minutes before court hearings. If you want prompt responses when inquiring about your case, the time limitations faced by a public defender can make this a difficult challenge. By contrast, Mr. Boertje limits his caseload so that he can respond to client calls or emails and devote enough time to each client. We also have the resources to conduct specialized scientific testing and employ top experts that may be unavailable to public defenders because of their more limited financial means.
If I am being investigated but have not been arrested, why shouldn’t I wait to hire an El Cajon criminal defense attorney?
Many criminal cases turn on evidence acquired by the police before a person has retained legal representation. Law enforcement officers recognize that someone without the benefit of legal advice is more likely to waive important rights like the right against self-incrimination or to provide consent to a search of one’s office, business or vehicle. When people retain a criminal lawyer prior to a formal arrest, the attorney can challenge the sufficiency of a search warrant, constrain the scope of questioning during interviews and expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. These efforts may prevent an arrest or prevent the prosecutor from overcharging the case.
How does the punishment for a felony conviction differ from a misdemeanor?
Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses, so they carry the most significant penalties. Felonies in California often involve serious physical harm or the threat is such harm, but felonies offense also include many drug offenses, fraud and white collar crimes. Some criminal offenses that are misdemeanors for a first offense become felonies for subsequent offenses. The period of incarceration for a felony ranges from over one year to life imprisonment or the death penalty (murder cases). A misdemeanor is defined under California law as a crime with a maximum one year jail term. While people convicted of a misdemeanor may be subject to a maximum fine of up to $1,000, felony offenses usually are subject to more substantial fines.
What types of defenses might an El Cajon criminal defense lawyer use to obtain a more positive outcome in my criminal case?
While there will be unique defenses that are specific to a particular criminal offense, there are procedural, factual and legal defenses that may exist in a broad range of cases that include:
- Self defense
- Exclusion of confessions that are not voluntary
- Speedy trial violations
- Use of expert testimony
- Challenging the legality of a search or seizure
- Miranda violations
- Suppression of evidence obtained illegally
- Challenging witness identifications
- Exposing witnesses that are not credible
- Reasonable doubt
- Improper collection, storage or testing of forensic evidence
- Factual innocence
- Lack of capacity
These are merely a handful of defenses that El Cajon criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje might employ when seeking an acquittal or dismissal of charges. While this is always our primary objective if the facts make such an option feasible, we aggressively pursue all available defenses to compel the prosecutor to agree to a plea bargain on terms favorable to our client.
If you or someone close to you has been arrested, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your situation and potential defenses. We invite you to visit us in our downtown San Diego office which is a short drive from El Cajon so that we can evaluate your case, explain your rights and outline potential defense strategies. Mr. Boertje can meet with you during normal business hours as well as on weekends or evenings if necessary and returns calls 24 hours/7 days per week. Call us today at (619) 229-1870 or (760) 476-0901 to arrange a free no obligation confidential consultation. You also can also submit an inquiry by completing the form on our Contact Us page or emailing us.