Chula Vista Criminal Defense Attorney


With a population of nearly 244,000 people, Chula Vista is the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan region. It’s only 7.5 miles from downtown San Diego, which means its residents benefit from all the nearby city has to offer. Tourists enjoy visiting Chula Vista for the cultural experience, including live entertainment, shopping, and attractions like SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica. The nearby wildlife and nature draws in many people interested in learning more at the Living Coast Discovery Center and hiking or riding horseback through the Otay Valley Regional Park.

As ideal as life is in Chula Vista, it’s not perfect. The police and local government do what they can to prevent crime, but nowhere has rid itself of violence and other crimes entirely.

If you have been charged with an offense, contact a Chula Vista criminal defense attorney. You have the right to an attorney and to defend yourself in a speedy trial.

Moving Violations in California

People often don’t take traffic tickets very seriously, but by simply paying your ticket, you plead guilty or no contest to the offense and must accept whatever consequences the court imposes. Under California law, moving violations add points to your license, which means paying a ticket increases your chances of losing your license in the future. Receive and pay a few speeding tickets and you can suddenly find your license revoked for months or a year.

Instead of handling a moving violation on your own, call an experienced traffic attorney. Whether you were speeding, ran a red light, or were texting, a lawyer can help you plead your innocence and avoid harsh punishments.

California DUI

California law harshly punishes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Someone charged with a first-time DUI may be able to get off light, with probation and a 6-month license suspension. However, if there are aggravating circumstances or this is a second or third DUI, it’s likely an offender will face jail time. Factors that increase DUI penalties include:

  • The defendant had a BAC level of 0.15 percent or higher
  • The DUI caused an accident
  • Children under the age of 14 were present in the car at the time of the DUI
  • The defendant was under 21 years old
  • The defendant was speeding at the time of the DUI
  • The defendant refused a breath or chemical test

Even first DUIs that cause injury can be charged as a felony, which increases the likelihood and amount of time in jail as well as fines.

California Marijuana Charges

Growing, possessing, transporting and selling marijuana are still generally illegal. An individual can have 1 ounce or less on their person and not be charged with a crime. However, more than an ounce will generally lead to a misdemeanor charge. If you’re found to be growing, possessing, moving, or selling more than an ounce, you could face a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500 and up to 6 months in jail.

The penalties for misdemeanor marijuana charges may seem light, but a conviction creates a permanent criminal record that can affect someone the rest of their life. A criminal record could limit the type of jobs someone can hold, cause them to lose their professional license, make them ineligible for financial aid, and make it difficult to obtain safe housing.

Assault & Battery Charges in California

If you’ve been charged with assault or battery, it’s important to completely understand the offense and how you can defend yourself. Battery occurs when actual force or violence is used against another person. Assault, however, is when there is an attempt at violence along with the ability for the person to follow through with that violent act. In neither case does the victim need to be injured for the offender to be charged, but if someone does suffer an injury, the offense may be charged as a felony

Assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor unless a deadly weapon, such as a knife or gun, is used. In this case, it could be a felony punishable by up to 4 years in jail. Battery is also usually a misdemeanor unless the victim is seriously injured, such as by broken bones or a head trauma. Then the battery may be a felony punishable by up to 4 years in jail.

If the victim is a peace officer for either of these charges, the punishment may increase.

Contact a Chula Vista Criminal Defense Attorney

Don’t face criminal charges on your own, particularly if you already have a criminal record. Contact an experienced lawyer right away to learn more about the charges and how you can best defend yourself in court. Jessica McElfresh believes in every defendant’s right to defend themselves against criminal charges, and she’ll build you the strongest defense possible under the law.

Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a free consultation.