December 21, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

The City Attorney, not the District Attorney, prosecutes all misdemeanor crimes in the city of San Diego. Thus, it is important that a San Diego criminal defense lawyer know how the City Attorney’s office operates.

The San Diego City Attorney’s office has certain policies and rules regarding how they are supposed to handle certain types of crimes. These policies and practices are evaluated and changed every so often. In the summer of 2007, the City Attorney’s office made more changes. These changes are not helpful for some of San Diego’s citizens. Among these changes is a policy that petty theft crimes will not be automatically reduced to a lesser offense unless they would have a difficult time proving their case for substantial evidentiary reasons.

What does this mean? It means if you are ever arrested for and charged with petty theft in San Diego, you want to make sure you hire an attorney who is willing to put in the work to actually fight your case and make the City Attorney’s office prove their case. You don’t want an attorney who will just roll over for the San Diego prosecutor and accept whatever they give him. You want a lawyer who is willing and able to show the City Attorney all of the holes in their evidence to convince them to drop the petty theft charge.

All too often, I walk into court in downtown San Diego and I listen to lawyers who I would think are old and experienced criminal defense lawyers, but who I overhear asking questions about what will happen on their case. All the time I will hear these lawyers lean over and ask, “Here is the situation my client is in. What should I do? What do you think the City Attorney will do? What will the sentence be?” How can this be? It is possible because people are hiring lawyers who are not familiar with the San Diego City Attorney’s office and with the different punishments that attach to different crimes.

At Wallin & Klarich, we make it a point to make ourselves aware of what the opposition is doing. The opposition is of course the prosecutor, the City Attorney. We handle many cases with them and we know how the system works. We can help you make the system work for your benefit, as much as possible. If you have any questions about crimes or criminal law in San Diego, call us for a free telephonic consultation.

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