San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers
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. Knowing these consequences of conviction, we make it our goal to help clients battle their charges and protect their freedoms.
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At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we take our responsibility to defend clients very 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 are facing charges for a state or federal offense, we are prepared to serve as your advocate and ally until your case has come to a conclusion.
What can you expect when you are suspected of a crime in San Diego? The criminal process starts when law enforcement officials, typically San Diego police officers, 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, the officer may visit a suspect and ask questions as part of the investigation. It is important to note that neither the suspect, or 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 he or she is a suspect in the case. Instead, the officers may visit or call the suspect in a casual manner, telling him that they simply want to give him a chance to tell his side of the story. Any statements the suspect makes may later be used against him, and suspects do 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 that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and your right to have an attorney present for all questioning.
If during the course of the investigation officers have probable cause to believe that an individual committed a crime, they may search the individual’s property and arrest him or her. At the time of arrest, the suspect should be read his Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed to if unable to afford one. The individual will then be asked if he understands these rights and should say, “Yes.” He will then be asked to agree to further questioning, to which he should reply, “Not without my attorney.” If no questions are going to be asked, the suspect does not have to have his or her Miranda rights read. However, if the suspect volunteers information without being asked by law enforcement, Miranda rights do not protect him.
Once a person has been arrested, he will either be given a citation on his promise to appear in court, or he will be taken to a county jail until he can post bail. If the individual is held in county jail, he will be given an arraignment right away. If he is let out on bail or was 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.
After the arraignment there will be a number of different hearings. Readiness conferences will be held for both sides to present any evidence they found during discovery, and 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 being questioned at a hearing, at trial, or during any part of the criminal defense process. One wrong statement can have a huge impact on 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.
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 and narcotics investigator and as a skilled board certified criminal law specialist, he 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 will work hard for his client from the time of pre-file investigations to an appeal of the jury’s verdict, if necessary. And he will fight to ensure any case he takes on never makes it that far.
A San Diego criminal lawyer from our firm can provide you with high-caliber defense representation when you need it most. Our firm has 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) 630-2000 today and schedule a confidential consultation where we can review the defense strategies we would use for your case.
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