El Cajon is a city surrounded by mountains with San Diego a few miles to the west. It has a diverse population of more than 99,000 people who enjoy safe schools, parks, museums, and businesses. The city has greater temperature shifts than coastal California cities, as it’s a mix of Mediterranean and semi-arid zones. It’s warm in the summer and cooler during the winter, allowing the residents and visitors to experience seasons more than their coastal neighbors.

Despite the idyllic life many people in El Cajon experience, some are the victims of crime and others are charged with these offenses. Whether it’s domestic violence, drug, or theft related, the defendant must face the charges in a court of law. While the person has the right to defend themselves in court, they also have the constitutional right to an attorney from the time of arrest throughout the trial and potential appeals.

An experienced El Cajon criminal defense attorney like Jessica McElfresh helps those charged with crimes to thoroughly and tenaciously defend themselves in court.

Assault & Battery

While people often hear of assault and battery together, they’re actually two very different crimes. Battery is when actual violence or physical force is used against another person. Assault is when someone threatens or attempts violence against another person and has the ability to follow through with that threat or violence.

Both are serious crimes under California law and a defendant charged with assault, assault with a deadly weapon, simple battery, or battery resulting in a serious injury face harsh fines and time in jail. Depending on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, a person may spend up to 4 years in jail.

Domestic Violence Charges in California

A domestic violence experience can be traumatic for everyone. Sometimes situations just get out of hand or the police are called in when a spouse or significant other is lying about your actions. Under the law, domestic violence is the use of physical force of threat against any intimate partner, including an ex. There doesn’t have to be a physical injury.

No matter the reason for the charge, it’s important to have an attorney help you defend yourself against the allegations. The penalties for a conviction range depending on the defendant’s history and the victim’s injuries, but many offenders face at least 30 days in jail.

California Marijuana Charges

While medical marijuana is legal under certain circumstances in California, people can still be charged with the cultivation, sale, and possession of marijuana under state law. If someone is caught with a particularly small amount, the person will be fined for an infraction and not a misdemeanor criminal offense. However, more than an amount for personal use will come with fines and jail time. If you’re under 21 years old, a marijuana conviction can lead to you losing your license or driving on a restricted license for a period of time.

California Drug Charges

Anyone charged with other drug crimes, including possessing, selling or manufacturing drugs faces serious fines, time in jail or prison, and a permanent criminal record. The collateral consequences of a drug conviction are serious as well. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, receive a private or federal school loan, or be approved for an apartment. A person can lose their professional license, such as a law or medical license, or a student may not be able to achieve a professional license.

To attempt and avoid the statutory and collateral damages associated with drug-related charges, a defendant should work with a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney will understand the law, how to poke holes in the prosecutors case, and will have experience negotiating a lower charge or lesser punishment.

Theft Charges in California

Many crimes in any city relate to theft, including shoplifting, burglary, larceny, and embezzlement. In California, petty theft is when someone steals property valued at less than $950 while grand theft is when the stolen property is worth more than $950. Petty theft is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and 6 months in jail. Grand theft is generally a felony, which means the defendant faces up to 3 years in jail.

Work With an El Cajon Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with any crime is a terrifying experience. If you’ve never dealt with the police or the criminal courts before, you may be intimidated and wonder what your best move is. The next best step after being arrested for a crime is to call a criminal defense attorney before answering any of the police officer’s questions. You absolutely have the right to an attorney and do not have to speak with the police until you’ve had time to consult with your attorney.

Jessica McElfresh is an experienced attorney who not only understands your constitutional rights but believes in fighting for them. Call her today at (858) 756-7107 to learn more about your charges and how to best defend yourself.

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