Profile Picture of David M. Boertje

Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Lawyer

Demystifying the Criminal Justice System—Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Attorney

A criminal conviction can disrupt your family relationships, career and freedom. Although the prospect of defending your reputation and liberty may be a daunting task, there are few fights that are more important to your future. Many people underestimate the impact of a criminal conviction and the difference that a proven Ranch Santa Fe criminal defense attorney can have on the outcome of a criminal case. Whether you are under the microscope of a law enforcement probe or you have been formally arrested for a criminal offense, you should immediately assert your right to an attorney and politely refuse to speak with the police without an attorney.

Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Defense Attorney David M. Boertje tenaciously advocates for those arrested and/or facing prosecution throughout Southern California. Although many people share an affluent lifestyle in Rancho Santa Fe, the specter of a criminal investigation or prosecution can threaten an individual’s livelihood, professional reputation and family stability. Mr. Boertje understands the disruptive impact of a criminal conviction, so he works diligently to have the charges thrown out or to obtain an acquittal at trial.

Classification of Charges in Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Cases


There are essentially three types of potential offenses that you may face arising out of an encounter with law enforcement: (1) felonies, (2) misdemeanors and (3) infractions. Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offenses. They are punishable by a term of years in state prison. Sentences for felonies may include substantial fines, lengthy state prison terms, probation and other penalties, so these serious criminal offenses can have a lasting impact on your future. Convicted felons may have difficulty obtaining work and encounter landlord bias when searching for rental housing.

Because a felony convictions can have a lifelong impact, Mr. Boertje leaves no stone unturned when aggressively defending felony cases. Some of the felonies that our Rancho Santa Fe criminal defense law firm handles include:

Burglary (first and/or second degree)
Assault with a deadly weapon
Criminal threats
Witness or victim intimidation
Grand theft involving a firearm
Any felony punishable by life imprisonment or death


Under California criminal law, a misdemeanor constitutes any offense that is punishable by up to a year in county jail. If an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor, a fine up to a $1,000 also may be imposed. There are other types of penalties for misdemeanors, which can include community service, probation, participation in anger management classes and successful completion of drug rehabilitation programs. It also is important to keep in mind that felonies and some misdemeanor convictions can result in deportation of non-citizens, suspension of your driver’s license (DUI related offenses), loss of gun ownership rights and requirements that you register as a sex offender. Some of the common types of misdemeanor cases we handle include:

  • Vandalism
  • Petty theft
  • Drunk driving
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Hit and run property damage
  • Public intoxication
  • Domestic battery

Because misdemeanors can have a serious impact on future employment prospects, immigration status and housing opportunities, you should promptly seek legal advice if you are arrested for a misdemeanor.


Many though not all infractions are moving violations under the California Vehicle Code. If you are found guilty of an infraction, you can receive a fine but not jail time. Misdemeanor and felony offenses subject individuals to probation.

Defenses to Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes in Rancho Santa Fe

While each set of facts are different and specific charges have defenses related to the definition of the crime, our Rancho Santa Fe criminal defense lawyers explore all potential defense strategies to protect our clients’ future and liberty. We may expose misconduct by law enforcement officers in gathering or preserving evidence, highlight sloppy handling or processing of evidence, attack the credibility of witnesses or demonstrate that the prosecutor has failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. While the litany of defenses that we might use in a particular case is too long to list, we have provided some examples of common defense strategies that we employ:

  • Misconduct by Law Enforcement Officers: We may investigate witness accounts, dash cam footage, law enforcement reports and employment records to expose embellished facts, planted evidence and excessive force.
  • Constitutional Violations: We carefully scrutinize searches and incriminating statements to identify law enforcement conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment or Miranda protections.
  • Mistaken Eyewitness Identification: This is the leading cause of wrongful convictions. We may present expert testimony regarding the unreliability of this type of evidence. People may make honest mistakes because you look similar to the perpetrator, or they may lie to prevent discovery of their own criminal conduct.
  • False Accusations: False accusations are a common reason that those who have not engaged in criminal activity are wrongfully accused. While false accusations can occur in any case, they are common in family court disputes where false allegations of domestic violence or child abuse can create a strategic litigation advantage.
  • Entrapment: This defense is based on the premise that you would not have engaged in the unlawful conduct without the coercion or harassment of police. This defense is most commonly employed in drug and sex crime cases involving law enforcement stings.
  • Alibi: If we can prove through evidence or other witnesses that you were somewhere else at the time the crime was committed, this is an effective defense.
  • Accident: When you cause injury to another in a car accident, simple negligence does not justify imposing criminal liability. However, sometimes overzealous prosecutors will claim that such conduct indicated a reckless disregard for the consequences of one’s action which can be the basis for criminal prosecution.
Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Defense Information – Aggressive Rancho Santa Fe Criminal Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Rancho Santa Fe, we invite you to contact us to discuss your case. If you call, email or visit us, we can evaluate your case, explain your rights and outline potential defense strategies. Rancho Santa Fe criminal defense lawyer David M. Boertje can meet with you during normal business hours as well as on weekends or evenings when necessary and our office 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.

Client Reviews
“Mr. Boertje exceeded my expectations as an attorney. His fees were very reasonable and his representation was absolutely exceptional.” - Jimmie
“David and his staff made everything simple and easy. Not only was David a wonderful lawyer, but he and his staff are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. He also worked with my budget by letting me make payments.” - Merced
“I was accused of misdemeanor criminal charges and Mr. Boertje convinced the prosecutor to dismiss my entire case without even having to go to trial. I recommend him for anyone in San Diego looking for the best criminal lawyer.” - Nicole