Before World War II, “Beautiful View” was a sleepy little town known mostly for its citrus groves, but the munitions industry together with the sprawling naval base in San Diego drastically altered the community, and those citrus groves are long gone now. Like most California cities, Chula Vista grew rapidly between the end of World War II and the 1970s, but unlike some other cities, that growth has continued. In fact, Chula Vista’s population almost tripled between 1980 and 2010.
Today, there is an old Chula Vista between the San Diego Freeway and Interstate 805, and a new Chula Vista to the east towards the Sierra Madre foothills; most of the population growth is in the east.
There are different kinds of crime in the east and west. In the fast-moving, freeway-dominated west, which is also where many of the tourist spots are located, CHP officers vigorously enforce the state’s strict DUI laws. California has both an impairment law and a per se law, so prosecutors can prove guilt regardless of the defendant’s score on a BAC breath or blood test. In the more residential east, police are on the lookout for theft and other property crimes. While officers are very aggressive when making arrests, even in the wake of Proposition 47, there are lots of moving parts in theft prosecutions, and prosecutors often have a hard time winning these cases.
Chula Vista is also home to the South County Regional Center, which houses the Superior Court for South County and the Chula Vista Sheriff’s Office. If you have been arrested in the Chula Vista area, your case will be heard in this court.
How a Criminal Lawyer Can Help
The parties resolve nearly all court cases during pretrial negotiations, and in criminal law, these negotiations are called plea bargaining. Some say the practice started right here in California, when in 1880 or 1881, Albert McKenzie pleaded guilty to misdemeanor embezzlement in Alameda County to avoid felony embezzlement charges related to his alleged $50 theft from his sewing machine-company employer. Plea bargaining has not changed much, as a defense attorney from the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, negotiates with prosecutors to either get the charges reduced or the punishment lowered.
Attorneys must be very experienced to successfully plea bargain, because they must know the applicable law and any relevant defenses that the defendant has. Furthermore, they must be aggressive, because in most cases, the prosecutor doesn’t simply roll over and give the defendant a reduction. At the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, our lawyers add determination to their legal experience and aggressive posture, and this combination usually delivers results that exceed your expectations.
At the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, we limit our practice to the areas that matter most to Chula Vista families, including:
- DUI: Even a first conviction means high fines, much higher insurance rates, and long-term license suspension; aggravating factors, like an alcohol-related collision, drive the penalties even higher. These cases nearly always rest on either circumstantial evidence that’s subject to interpretation or Breathalyzer test results that are sometimes inherently flawed.
- Theft: To obtain theft convictions, prosecutors must produce civilian witnesses, and this is not always easy to do months or years after the alleged crime. Furthermore, theft is a specific intent crime that is difficult to prove in court.
- Domestic Violence: This is another kind of case that almost always requires a civilian witness, although prosecutors sometimes try to circumvent the hearsay rule with complex legal arguments.
- Juvenile Crimes: These cases require a special touch, because juvenile law is often a cross between family and criminal law.
- Sex Crimes: Serious consequences will result from a sex crimes conviction, including lifetime sex offender registration. Do not take these allegations lightly and call us today.
- Drug Crimes: Given Chula Vista’s proximity to the Mexican border, local police are constantly on the lookout for drug crimes. If you have been charged with drug trafficking or smuggling, find out how we can help.
We also routinely handle expungements and many other criminal cases in and around San Diego County.
In all criminal cases, the state must prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. In California, that means that the evidence must be so overwhelming that jurors have “an abiding conviction that the charge is true” that eliminates anything other than “imaginary doubt.” Furthermore, prosecutors must prove each element of the offense. For example, in DUI collision cases, there may not be a witness who saw the defendant behind the wheel at the moment of the crash.
There are procedural limits as well, because search warrants must be based on probable cause and police do not have unlimited powers. In fact, in one recent United States Supreme Court case from California, the Justices sharply limited police officer’s authority to conduct searches following lawful arrests.
Speak to an Experienced Chula Vista Criminal Defense Attorney
In criminal law, the sooner your attorney begins working on your defense the more effective it will be, so contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC right away.