San Diego Criminal Law Tips and Links
If you have a conviction in state court, in many cases you are eligible for an expungement under Penal Code 1203.4. For a discussion of the consequences of this type of expungement, go to the San Diego County Public Defender's website at San Diego Public Defender Expungement and look at their detailed description.
In many cases, you will be able to get an Expungement yourself, without needing to hire an attorney, particularly on misdemeanors when probation is terminated. Things get more complicated with felony Expungements, particularly if you are eligible for a reduction to a misdemeanor before doing the Expungement, you should have a lawyer, or request that the public defender be appointed for you if your funds are limited.
The liberal Expungement rules are unique to California law. Federal convictions, with extremely limited exceptions, cannot be expunged.
Federal Presidential Pardon or Commutation
President George W. Bush commuted White House Aid Scooter Libby's 30-month sentence for perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators about the leak of Valerie Plame's job with the CIA, within hours of the decision of a federal court of appeals ordering Libby to begin serving his sentence, in 2007. You are not Scooter Libby, and George W. Bush is no longer in office, and you are not going to get your sentence commuted. The procedure for applying for Presidential Pardons includes waiting to apply at least five years after the conviction. The procedure is explained at www.justice.gov/pardon.
County Work Furloughi in San Diego
County Work Furlough is an alternative to custody in county jail for criminal defendants in San Diego who have been convicted of certain serious misdemeanor charges, and some felony charges. Before a client will be accepted into work furlough, they must be pre-screened for eligibilty. Eligibility is determined by the offense of which the client was convicted and their employment. If a client is determined to be eligible, their employer will also be contacted to verify the client's employment - including the days and hours they are scheduled to work - and work furlough will contact the employer to verify the client is at work. The cost for work furlough is about $35 per day.
Under Penal Code § 2900.5, time served in work furlough (as well as residential rehab and other forms of confinemet) counts as time served in jail
If you think there may be a warrant for your arrest in San Diego County, click on the link San Diego Sheriff Arrest Warrants. Many common state court misdemeanor arrest warrants and felony arrest warrants will be listed. One way to clear the warrant is to get a bail bondsman, which will pull the warrant and set a court date for you. Another way is to have your lawyer put the matter on the court calendar.
San Diego Sheriff - Who's In Jail
San Diego Superior Court - Central Division
If you click on the above link and then navigate to the other sections of that web site, you can find a wealth of information on topics including:
Bail Schedule, for felonies and misdemeanors
- Clearing your record (the procedure for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, as well as Expungement)
- Drug Court, Substance Abuse, and DUI
- Paying your court ordered fines
- DUI programs - First Conviction and Multi-Offender (SB-38)
San Diego Superior Court - Hall of Justice
The Hall of Justice is located across the street from the main courthouse. This courthouse is occupied by the Sheriff's Court Services Bureau, the San Diego County Probation Department as well as the Office of the District Attorney.
San Diego Superior Court - Traffic Court Division
The Kearny Mesa Traffic Division handles traffic matters, small claims, minor misdemeanor offenses, infractions, fish and game violations, and some local municipal code violations.
The San Diego Superior Court link above has a link to the bail schedule. This is the schedule used by the booking clerks at the jail, and the judges in the arraignment departments use it as a general guideline when setting or modifying bail. A useful web site for showing the approximate value of your home, when using it to secure a federal bond or a contract with a bondsman for a state court bail bond, is www.zillow.com In some cases, you will also need to get an appraisal and a preliminary title report.
Legal Research: Cornell Law School A good source of Supreme Court and other federal cases, and also has state codes including the California Penal Code. Good sources of information from the US Supreme Court are www.scotusblog.com and www.supremecourt.gov A list of pending cases on appeal is www.capcentral.org
The State Bar of California - Legal Specialization If need to find a certified criminal law specialist in any county of the state, you can find the list on this official state bar web site.
California Firearm Laws
The California Office of the Attorney General's web page with a great deal of practical information on firearm laws California DOJ Bureau of Firearms http://ag.ca.gov/firearms
San Diego District Attorney, www.sdcda.org This is the DA's web site, and has a lot of information about prosecution of crimes, victim's rights, criminal restitution and crime victim compensation, and the crimina law process. It also has links, including San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff's Department, and the Attorney General guide to medical marijuana.
United States Attorney www.justice.gov/cas
Federal Court www.casd.uscourts.gov
US Marshall 619 557 6620 ext 4132 (to see if recent arrestee is in federal custody)
San Diego Police Dept. www.sandiego.gov/police
DMV Points - for DUIs and other violations http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/vioptct.htm#twocvc
www.spokeo.com is useful for finding information about witnesses, and it is a useful start in seeing what other people can find out about you
www.googlearth.com and the google map feature are useful for zooming in on crime scenes
www.google.com continues to be a valuable source of information. Many useful sources come up in a google search, but be careful of the ones who are selling goods or services. There is a lot of false advertizing, and the most aggressive marketers are the ones who tend to show up highest in a google search. A google search for attorneys, in any specialty of law, will produce web sites of who are paying a lot of money to maintain their google ranking, and some of these attorneys misrepresent their experience and their qualifications. With the exception of the California State Bar list of certified criminal law specialists, the best way to evaluate the qualifications of attorneys is through peer review publications, particularly Martindale Hubbel. www.superlawyers.com is also based on peer review and is a pretty reliable way to find a good criminal lawyer in other counties or states.