Carlsbad, CA Criminal Defense Attorney and DUI Lawyer

Carlsbad is in the Northern San Diego County, and stretches the Pacific coastline about 87 miles south of Los Angeles. Locals know Carlsbad as the "village by the sea" and is a beach town that values community. Carlsbad also has a prominent arts and cultural presence, and takes pride in its high quality education and community services. Although Carlsbad is regarded by many as one of the best places in to live in Southern California, it is certainly not crime-free. As Carlsbad continues to grow and sprawl, the crime rate inevitably increases. As a result, police presence will also increase, so it is important to know your rights if you are arrested. With low crime rates, local law enforcement can place a special emphasis on reducing DUI. Carlsbad is nearby Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido and Encinitas, and is served by the 5 and 78 Freeways. 

If you or someone you care about is arrested, be sure to check the Practice Areas page for more information regarding various arrests and potential convictions - ranging from drug offenses and theft crimes to homicide. It is also important to know about the conviction process. For example, your case may be appealable, and there are many different strategies to appeal a guilty conviction. For more information about the appeals process, visit the Appeals Page.

The City of Carlsbad Police Department is a full service department, headquartered at West Mermod Street. The Department prides itself on a strong ethical code of conduct, and devotes a significant amount of resources to community outreach, including a prevention and intervention counseling program for elementary and middle school students in the Carlsbad Unified School District. They also coordinate a neighborhood watch program, and a free, seven week program designed to teach Carlsbad residents about their city government.  Additionally, California Highway Patrol is the primary law enforcement agency on the 5 and 78 Freeways passing through Carlsbad.

Carlsbad is served by the San Diego Superior Court North Regional Center (located on Melrose Dr. in Vista, California). As a full service branch, this facility is shared by the Sheriff, Probation, District Attorney, Revenue and Recovery, and the Board of Supervisors. This branch has most of the operations and functions as the downtown San Diego courthouse, and the business office at this location handles all filings and records, the Arbitration Department, jury facilities, Family Court Services, Probate Examiners, Legal Research Department, and the older Records and Exhibits Office.

Below is a general guideline for some of the most frequently asked questions regarding criminal cases:

What is the Three Strikes Law?
California is one of the states that adopted the three strikes law, which counts any felony conviction as a "strike." Once someone has a strike on their record, subsequent convictions receive harsher punishment. Once someone has one strike prior, a subsequent felony conviction will make prison mandatory and double the punishment under the law. If the third strike is serious or violent felony, the defendant may receive a 25-year-to-life sentence.  Judges and DAs can strike a strike as part of a plea deal, but it is important to have a persuasive hard-working lawyer on your side. 

If the victim in my case no longer wants to press charges, will the DA dismiss the case?

Unfortunately, once the charges are filed, the case now belongs to the state, and the state will determine whether or not to proceed in the case against you. This means that even if the victim comes forward and requests the charges be dropped, the state will likely proceed if there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. It is important to hire a skillful and competent attorney, even in this situation, as the victim may become an important part of the defense.

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is an alternative to incarceration, where the defendant is allowed to remain in the community under supervision and specific restrictions. Parole, however, is a condition of release when a person is being released from prison. Another key difference is that probation is handed down by a judge, whereas parole is decided by a parole board.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
In California, felonies are punishable by a minimum confinement of one year. Generally, a felony conviction will also include fines and may include probation. As a lesser charge, misdemeanors are punishable by maximum confinement of one year. Those convicted of misdemeanors are also usually required to pay a fine (maximum of $1,000). There are also charges known as wobbler charges, which give the District Attorney's office the discretion to file the charge as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of each particular case.

What are some of the considerations to weigh when choosing to take a plea deal?

A good attorney should be able to gauge whether or not it will be beneficial to have a jury trial, but sometimes it is better to avoid a trial. Trials can be costly, lengthy, and stressful. In addition, taking a plea bargain may help get you a reduction in the number of charges and/or the type of charges against you. However, each case will have different considerations to weigh, so it is important to have an attorney that will explain all of the pros and cons in your specific case.


By Lauren Noriega


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