Best San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These San Diego Criminal Lawyers?

We help connect consumers with top-rated criminal defense attorneys in San Diego. To determine which are the best of the best, we scored each criminal defense attorney or law firm across a half-dozen metrics covering three categories. Each firm or attorney’s results were analyzed to bring you a handpicked list of the very best criminal defense lawyers in San Diego.

  • Attorneys reviewed: 21
  • Top picks: 5

If you or a loved one have been arrested, do not delay seeking the assistance of an attorney. The sooner an attorney can get involved in your case, the better your chances of having a strong defense.

The attorney you hire may start right away, studying the authorities’ against you, doing legal research, and preparing legal motions. That’s why the sooner they begin, the better, as they work to chip away at the prosecution’s case against you.

Skilled criminal defense attorneys in San Diego handle everything from DUIs to simple misdemeanors to white-collar crimes to violent felonies. Get the best legal defense in San Diego by choosing from this list of best criminal defense attorneys.

Read the profiles below and choose the attorney or law firm that best aligns with your needs.

Best San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers

Here are the best criminal defense law firms and attorneys in San Diego:

  1. Dod Ghassemkhani
  2. Mark Deniz
  3. Law Office of David P. Shapiro
  4. Vik Monder
  5. Sevens Legal

Best San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

If you or a loved one are looking for an outstanding criminal defense attorney in San Diego, these lawyers are the best of the best.

Dod Ghassemkhani

303 A St. Suite 306

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 762-3950

Attorney Dod Ghassemkhani has nearly two decades of experience in the area of criminal defense. His primary practice areas include DUI, assault, domestic violence, fraud, sex crimes, theft, white-collar crimes, drug charges, and many others.

Ghassemkhani represents clients throughout the greater San Diego area, including Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, El Cajon, Solana Beach, Santee, La Mesa, Encinitas, Poway, and Lakeside. He has a 10.0 rating on Avvo and was listed in the top 100 trial lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.

Visit law firm website: https://www.dodlaw.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Dod-Law-APC-1479150695666222


Mark Deniz

2831 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 307

San Diego, CA 92108

Phone: (858) 429-9982

Attorney Mark Deniz spent almost 10 years as a prosecutor, including serving as a deputy city attorney and a deputy district attorney. Since 2003, he has exclusively practiced in criminal defense, but his prosecutorial background gives him unique insight into how to craft a winning defense.

His primary practice area is in DUI, but he also represents clients accused of crimes like burglary, embezzlement, fraud, drug charges, domestic violence, and more. He also assists clients in getting their records expunged so that they can more fully participate in society.

Visit law firm website: https://www.denizdefense.com/staff/lisa-barrow/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/denizdefense


Law Office of David P. Shapiro

3500 5th Avenue #304

San Diego, CA 92103

Phone: (619) 295-3555

Managing partner David P. Shapiro opened his criminal defense practice in 2010, and it has become one of the fastest-growing in the United States. With three attorneys and many support personnel on staff, the firm is one of the largest criminal defense law firms in San Diego.

Associate Ally F. Keegan has spent time as a prosecutor, which lends special expertise to the cases tried by the firm, as she understands intimately how prosecutors craft their cases. The firm’s primary practice areas include drug crimes, DUI, domestic violence, assault, ID theft, indecent exposure, theft, and juvenile crimes. The firm boasts a 10.0 rating on Avvo and all three attorneys have been honored by SuperLawyers.

Visit law firm website: https://www.davidpshapirolaw.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/davidpshapirolaw/


Vik Monder

424 F Street

San Diego CA 92101

Phone: (619) 405-0063

Vik Monder was inspired to become an attorney by witnessing the childhood murder of his best friend and seeing up-close the flaws in the criminal justice system. His experiences in youth and throughout his career have helped school him in the many ways individuals can be crushed by the investigative and criminal justice process.

Monder has been honored by The National Trial Lawyers and has a 10.0 rating on Avvo. His primary practice area is in defending those accused of DUI, but he also handles cases of assault, firearms charges, property crimes, fraud, and records expungements.

Visit law firm website: https://www.monderlaw.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MonderLawGroup


Sevens Legal

3555 Fourth Ave,

San Diego, Ca 92103

Phone: (619) 430-2355

The four attorneys at Sevens Legal have a combined 40-plus years of criminal defense experience, and they represent clients throughout the San Diego area as well as most of Southern California. Lead attorney Samantha Greene is a former prosecutor with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, so she brings unique expertise to bear in all criminal cases the firm handles.

Their primary practice areas include DUI, drug charges, theft, assault, domestic violence, property crime, sex crimes, fraud, federal crimes, and juvenile cases. They have a 10.0 rating on Avvo and have been honored by The National Trial Lawyers.

Visit law firm website: https://www.sevenslegal.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SevensLegalAPC/


What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in San Diego?

San Diego saw about 32,000 total crimes reported in 2019 the most recent year for federal data on crime across the country. Reflecting broader trends when it comes to crime, the vast majority of those 32,000 incidents were property crimes. In fact, property crime accounted for 84 percent of all crimes in San Diego in 2019, with larceny-theft making up 57 percent on its own.

That means on a population-adjusted basis, violent crimes occurred at a rate of about 360 per 100,000 people in San Diego in 2019, while property crime took place at a 1,900 per 100,000 rate. In both cases, those rates are just under the overall national rates. The U.S. has a population-adjusted violent crime rate of 367 per 100,000 people and a property crime rate of about 2,100 per 100,000.

Crimes in San Diego, by number and per 100,000 people

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 5,215 362
Murder 50 3
Rape 561 39
Robbery 1,346 93
Aggravated assault 3,258 226
All property crimes 27,141 1,883
Burglary 3,543 246
Larceny-theft 18,426 1,278
Motor vehicle theft 5,172 359
Arson 122 8

Compared to other major California cities, San Diego tends to have much lower crime rates. In fact, among the 10 largest cities in the state, San Diego does not rank in the top half for any crime category, while its highest ranking is seventh for rape. Nationally, the city compares quite favorably as well. Among other major U.S. cities, the San Diego metro area, which includes Chula Vista and Carlsbad, does not rank near the top in any individual crime category when comparing population-adjusted rates of the 60 or so biggest U.S. cities. San Diego’s highest national placement is 26th in motor vehicle theft, a category led by Denver with a rate more than double that of San Diego.

Unlike most other major American cities, San Diego has not experienced wild swings in crime reports or crime rates since the beginning of the pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, the city’s overall violent crime rate rose by less than two percent, while the number of murders rose by 10 percent. But overall, the city’s crime rate fell by eight percent, with officials connecting the decline to pandemic-related changes in people’s behavior.

It’s important to note that police- and FBI-reported data does not cover closed cases or incidents for which a person was convicted.

Attorney Geoffrey G. Nathan

About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq

Geoffrey Nathan is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. He is a Boston criminal defense attorney with over 25 years of experience in felony, federal, and white-collar crimes. Board of Bar Overseers Number #552110