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San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers

Do Not Let a San Diego Arrest Define Your Future

For many people, an arrest is only the beginning. Conviction for an offense can lead to:

  • Jail or prison sentencing
  • Stiff monetary fines
  • Community service
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Victim restitution
  • Probation and/or parole

Additionally, criminal offenses will remain on your record for life. The lawyers at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys aim to help clients battle their charges and protect their freedoms. With over 30 years of legal experience, our lawyers know the consequences of conviction and can help. Start your case today with a free consultation by calling (760) 891-5141!

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How Our San Diego Defense Law Firm Can Help You

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we take our responsibility to defend clients seriously. Knowing that a criminal accusation could impact your future for the worse, we make it our goal to minimize these charges or eliminate them altogether. Our defense strategy will always fit the specific details of your situation. Whether you face charges for a state or federal offense, we are prepared to serve as your advocate and ally until your case has concluded.

We have experience providing defense strategies for the following:

  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence): Our DUI defense lawyers can review the circumstances of the arrest, including the legality of the traffic stop and the administration of field sobriety tests or breathalyzers. We can represent defendants in court hearings and trial proceedings, presenting evidence and arguments to defend against the DUI charge. We can also negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges, penalties, or offenses.
  • Drug Crimes: The attorneys at our law firm can challenge the legality of search and seizure procedures employed by law enforcement during a search and arrest. We can explore alternative sentencing options, such as drug diversion programs or probation, instead of incarceration. Our attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or explore the possibility of plea agreements.
  • Theft: Our criminal lawyers can scrutinize the evidence against the defendant to identify weaknesses or inconsistencies in the prosecution's case. Our lawyers may challenge the credibility of witnesses or evidence presented by the prosecution and negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or explore diversionary programs, especially for first-time offenders.
  • Sex Crimes: Our criminal defense lawyers can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process, including during a police interrogation and at all court proceedings. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding the allegations and gather evidence to support your innocence or raise reasonable doubt at trial. We can take actions to minimize the potential consequences of a conviction, including negotiating plea bargains or seeking alternative sentencing options.
  • Domestic Violence: We work closely with our clients, advising them on their legal rights and options, including issues regarding restraining orders. We can challenge the reliability of witnesses and the authenticity of evidence presented by the prosecution. Our attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options, such as rehabilitation or counseling.

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The Criminal Defense Process in San Diego

What can you expect when you are suspected of a crime in San Diego? The criminal process starts when law enforcement officials believe that an individual has committed a crime or is in the process of committing a crime, for example, driving under the influence of alcohol. If a police officer does witness an individual committing a crime, the officer may detain that individual. The detention must not be longer than is necessary for the officer to issue a citation or arrest the individual.


If the police officer did not actually witness the crime, they may visit a suspect and ask questions as part of the investigation. It is important to note that neither the suspect nor friends and family are obligated to participate in the investigation. Because suspects are not required to cooperate with the police, the police will often not inform the person that they are a suspect in the case. Instead, the officers may visit or casually call the suspect, telling them that they simply want to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. Any statements the suspect makes may later be used against them, and suspects have a right to politely decline to comment on the investigation.

Police officers sometimes use tactics that, while unethical, are allowed during the course of an investigation, such as saying that the individual's fingerprints were found at the scene when they were not. For this reason, if you are being interrogated by police, tell them you are invoking your right to remain silent and want to use your right to have an attorney present for all questioning.


During the course of the investigation, if officers have probable cause to believe that an individual committed a crime, they may search the individual's property and arrest them. At the time of arrest, the suspect should be read Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed if unable to afford one. The individual will then be asked if they understand these rights and should say, "Yes." The suspect will then be asked to agree to further questioning, to which they should reply, "Not without my attorney." If no questions are going to be asked, the suspect does not have to have their Miranda rights read. However, if the suspect volunteers information without being asked for by law enforcement, Miranda rights do not protect them.

If you have been charged with a crime, it is crucial to navigate the legal process carefully. Here are five important steps to consider:

  • Seek Legal Representation: Immediately secure the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer will help explain the charges against you, advise you on your rights, and formulate a defense strategy.
  • Understand Your Rights: Educate yourself about your legal rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. Exercise these rights appropriately and avoid discussing case details with anyone other than your attorney verbally, via phone, email, or social media.
  • Gather Evidence and Documentation: Work with your attorney to gather evidence, documentation, and witness statements supporting your defense. This may include an alibi, video footage, financial records, or any other relevant information that could help support a case for your defense.
  • Attend Court Hearings and Follow Legal Procedures: Attend all scheduled court hearings and adhere to all court-ordered requirements. Failure to comply with court orders or deadlines can have serious consequences. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process and protect your interests in and out of court.
  • Stay Informed and Stay Calm: Stay informed about developments in your case and maintain open communication with your attorney. It is natural to feel anxious or overwhelmed, but try to focus on following your attorney's advice. Remember that the legal process can be lengthy and complex, but with experienced representation and case preparation, our legal strategies could help you achieve the best possible outcome.


Once a person has been arrested, he will either be given a citation on his promise to appear in court or taken to a county jail until he can post bail. If the individual is held in county jail, he will immediately be given an arraignment. If he is released on bail or given a citation with a promise to appear, the arraignment will typically be held within 30 days. This is a critical stage of the criminal process, as the individual will have the charges read to him, which are often different than the charges he was initially told at the time of arrest.

During the arraignment, the suspect's defense attorney will do most of the talking, including entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. Conference dates and pretrial hearing dates will be set at this time, and bail issues will be discussed.


Even if you plan to plead guilty, a criminal defense lawyer is invaluable. Our attorney will ensure you fully understand your rights and what to expect. Our attorney may negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or more lenient sentencing. We will investigate the facts to identify mitigating factors that could reduce the severity of a penalty imposed by the court. Additionally, our attorney will handle all the complex drafting and proceedings, ensuring proper legal procedure and fairness. Ultimately, we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, even in cases of admission of guilt, ensuring your interests are protected to the fullest extent.


After the arraignment, there will be several different hearings. Readiness conferences will be held for both sides to present any evidence they found during discovery. If the case is not settled or dismissed at one of these conferences, a preliminary hearing date will be set. During the preliminary hearing, a judge will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to go to trial.


If there is enough evidence, the case will go to trial. At trial, the burden of proof will be on the prosecution, which means they must prove the individual is guilty — the individual does not have to prove his or her innocence. Trials can take a great deal of time, or they can be very short and over in one day. Either way, suspects have the right to a speedy trial regardless of whether they have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

If you are accused of a crime, it is never recommended that you represent yourself when questioned at a hearing, at trial, or during any part of the criminal defense process. One wrong statement can significantly impact your case and lower the chances of you being found innocent or having your charges reduced.

Extremely grateful for Mr Dicks for not only the results but for his hard work throughout the case!

"Mr Dicks was easy to get a hold of. He made me feel so much better whenever I spoke to him. He didn't beat around the bush and gave me his honest feed back. His honesty and his approach to everything made dealing with my case much easier. In the end because he fought so hard for me he was able to get by case dismissed! Thank you Mr Dicks, you and your staff at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys were extremely professional, helpful, and compassionate. Wouldn't have wanted it any other way! I highly recommend James Dicks!"

- Rafael S.

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Why You Should Hire jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

Our firm, jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, is one of the most prestigious criminal defense law firms in North San Diego County; here, you will get high-quality criminal defense representation when you need it most. Vista criminal defense attorney James N. Dicks has worked in the criminal field for more than 30 years. As a former police officer, narcotics investigator, and skilled board-certified criminal law specialist, Attorney Dicks can help you take steps toward securing a more favorable result for your case.

We have a proven track record of success, with numerous case results that testify to our legal abilities. Attorney James N. Dicks offers his services, time, and energy to assist clients charged with a wide range of crimes. He has handled hundreds of criminal cases in state and federal courts and uses this experience to help those dealing with criminal court.

When Attorney Dicks takes on a case, he works relentlessly for his client, from the time of pre-file investigations to an appeal of the jury's verdict if necessary. He will fight to ensure that he never makes it that far in any case he takes on.

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Talk with a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

Our San Diego criminal lawyers can provide you with high-caliber defense representation when you need it most, having successfully handled hundreds of criminal cases, large and small, in the state, federal, and military courts. We urge you to contact our firm at (760) 891-5141 today and schedule a confidential consultation where we can review the defense strategies we would use for your case.

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