Spiegel Law Group
Have You Been Arrested in San Diego?
Being charged with a crime can be and often is one of the most overwhelming and difficult experiences in your life. Your first thought may be of going to jail and losing your freedom. Whether or not the crime with which you’ve been charged carries with it the possibility of imprisonment as one of the penalties, there are numerous other consequences that can disrupt and alter your entire way of life. They include fines, which may be significant enough to affect your financial well-being and that of your family; probation, which affects what you can do and with whom you can associate; as well as the embarrassment and humiliation associated with the being arrested and convicted of a crime.
With all this riding on the results in your criminal case, this is no time to settle for anything but the best in legal representation. The fact is, however, that any lawyer can call himself a defense attorney or a criminal attorney. Your choice, very simply, has to be the lawyer who will give you the best chance of a dismissal, a reduction in charges and/or a reduction in the penalties associated with your case. That’s where we come in.
What Factors are Important in Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney?
At Spiegel Law Group, we specialize in criminal defense. Day in and day out, we represent clients charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Here is what we offer to our clients:
- Experience. As with many areas in life, experience is the best teacher when it comes to defending people charged with crimes. We don’t “dabble” in criminal law, we live it. Matthew Spiegel, founder of the firm, is a veteran of over a thousand criminal cases. Our staff also includes a former prosecutor. Our experience helps us, and therefore our clients, in several ways. First, we know the law. The wide variety of cases we have handled over the years includes minor offenses, serious felonies, and everything in between. If you have been charged with a DUI, a violent offense, theft, domestic violence, fraud, a sexual offense, internet crime, or any other criminal offense, our starting point is complete familiarity with the statutes that govern the particular crime. Second, we know the system. When we represent you in your criminal case, we come to the table with a thorough understanding of how the prosecutor puts together a case. What this allows us to do is to spot weaknesses in the case against you. Armed with this knowledge, we are in a strong position to negotiate when we argue for a dismissal of or reduction in the charges against you.
- Dedication and Aggressive Defense. When we refer to dedication, we are talking about putting your interests, and those of our other clients, first. What this means is that the attorneys at Spiegel Law Group will leave no stone unturned in seeking the best result possible in your case. We will interview witnesses, examine all the evidence the prosecutor has, hire experts when necessary, and use every tool at our disposal to provide you with the best possible result. Prior to trial, we will file whatever motions are appropriate. They may include, for example, motions for a dismissal or a reduction in the charges against you based upon the law, or motions to exclude evidence based upon illegal search and seizure. The word “aggressive” has assumed some negative connotations in some quarters – indeed, it is often associated with loud, obnoxious behavior. When we use the word, we mean that we will push for every advantage we can, within the bounds of our ethical responsibilities. Aggressive representation also means that we are not afraid to pick apart the prosecution’s case against you, and, when your interests dictate, to recommend that we proceed to trial.
- Personalized and Compassionate Representation. We understand that you have been through a lot. You are facing criminal charges, and your entire way of life is threatened. Some charges may even call into question your morals. No matter what your situation is, at Spiegel Law Group, our motto is that all clients are innocent until proven guilty; you will always be treated with the respect and dignity you deserve. When you schedule a consultation with us to discuss your case, you will have ample opportunity to explain to us your version of the facts, and tell us anything you can about the circumstances leading up to the filing of charges against you. After listening to you, and researching all available information and materials about your case, we will provide you with a proposed defense strategy based upon our analysis of all we have learned. Of course, you have the final say in how your case proceeds from a defense standpoint. What we offer is an honest evaluation of what will occur as the case moves forward, and how best to minimize your risks. We will keep you advised of the progress of your case at every step of the proceeding, and we will remain available to consult with you whenever we reach a critical stage in the case, and whenever you have a question or concern that you need to discuss with us. When we present our strategy to you, we will do so in language that you and your family can understand, the goal being that you always know where your case stands, and that you are not confused or unsure about where we are heading. Finally, our advice will be honest, and by that we mean that we will not sugar coat our analysis or our recommendations – you have the right to know exactly what you are facing, and we will not engage in tactics that give you a false sense of security. Unless you know the truth, you cannot adequately or meaningfully contribute to your defense.
What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in California?
As noted above, Spiegel Law Group represents clients charged with a wide range of crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies. Like many aspects of criminal law, what appears to be simple, in this case the distinction between misdemeanors and felonies, is actually quite involved. The basic difference between the two is the potential penalty if you are convicted. A misdemeanor may result in a jail sentence of not more than one year. A felony is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for a year or more.
Most people assume that the difference is based upon the severity of the crime, and that more serious crimes are felonies, and less serious ones are misdemeanors. While this may suffice as a very general rule of thumb, it is certainly not always the case. For example, there are many white collar crimes that are felonies, and various violent crimes that are misdemeanors. To complicate the matter further, in California, there are a host of offenses, referred to as “wobblers,” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The list of wobblers is too long to detail here, but it includes, many types of fraud, certain weapons offenses, and even some sex crimes.
There are also crimes that ordinarily are treated as misdemeanors, but, because of the presence of other factors, will be treated as felonies. An example is assault, ordinarily punishable by not more than six months in jail. But if the assault (attempt to inflict a violent injury to another person) is coupled with intent to cause death, the assault is a felony. An offense which is ordinarily charged as a misdemeanor may also become a felony charge based upon your prior criminal history. An experienced San Diego criminal attorney can tell you how the offense with which you are charged is treated, and what penalties you may face if you are convicted.
What Should I Do if I am Charged with DUI in San Diego?
San Diego has the highest rate of DUI citations among the 20 largest cities in the United States. Penalties are harsh, and under some circumstances, can lead to jail time, fines, loss of license and mandatory attendance at a drug or alcohol education program. But remember that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the fact that you have been charged with drunk driving does not mean that you will be convicted. If you have been charged with DUI in the San Diego area, an experienced DUI lawyer can help.
While DUI is often referred to as “drunk driving,” operating a vehicle under the influence of a variety of drugs can also support a DUI charge. Typically, the process starts when you are pulled over by the police. If the officer believes you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he may administer what is referred to as a Field Sobriety Test (FST). Standard FST’s include requests that you attempt to walk and balance yourself in certain ways, as well as an examination of your eye movement. You may also be asked to blow into a machine commonly referred to as a breathalyzer, to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). There may also be a search of your vehicle involved in the process. The end result, if you are charged, will be that you are handcuffed and unceremoniously transported to the police station, at which time you may be subjected to yet another breath test.
Are There Any Defenses to a DUI Charge?
The simple answer is yes. We say that even if you allegedly failed the FST; even if your BAC was measured at above the legal limit; and even if alcohol or drugs were found in your vehicle. As experienced San Diego DUI attorneys, we know what the police and the prosecutors do not want you to know. Here are a few of the possible defenses to a DUI charge:
- Blood Alcohol Content. Blood alcohol content is supposedly measured by devices such as the Alco-Sensor IV, which is a particular brand of breath testing equipment. In fact, the device measures BAC indirectly, through placing an electrical current through the air blown into the machine. Some problems affecting the validity of breath testing results include the overall reliability of the device; the presence of other substances that can lead to false readings; degradation of the fuel cell in the device; lack of proper periodic calibration; and inexperience or lack of training of the individual performing the test.
- Field Sobriety Tests. FTS’s do not measure intoxication. The essence of FST’s is the measurement of coordination. The argument put forth by prosecutors and police is that drunk people are uncoordinated; therefore if you are uncoordinated, you are drunk. Apart from the complete lack of logic contained in this argument, FST results are subject to attack in other ways. In that regard, there is substantial scientific evidence that FST’s are not even an accurate method of determining coordination, let alone intoxication. In addition, all FST’s rely entirely on the subjective interpretation of the person administering them. So the fact that someone has determined, based upon FST “evidence,” that you were driving under the influence, does not mean that your case is doomed.
- Illegal Search and Seizure. Just about all DUI charges begin with a vehicle stop. But police are not at liberty to stop your vehicle as the mood hits them. Issues such as racial profiling are relevant to attack the validity of the stop. Moreover, to the extent that your DUI charge is based in part upon items found in a search of your vehicle or in your possession after the stop, the search, as well as the stop, may be challenged as illegal. If the court finds that the stop, the search or the seizure were improper, any evidence obtained as a result may not be used as evidence against you.
These are just a few of the issues that can be raised successfully in your case if you have been charged with driving under the influence.
How Will I Be Able to Afford a Lawyer?
No matter what the criminal charge against you, the attorneys at Spiegel Law Group have the experience and dedication to provide you with an aggressive defense. We understand that quality legal representation is expensive, and we therefore provide you with the option of affordable payment plans to ease your financial burden.
Call an experienced criminal lawyer today at 619.338.0022 for a free consultation.