Criminal Defense

San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers – Why Hire Me

Named as one of the TOP ONE HUNDRED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS in Southern California by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017, Jerrold Bodow, our criminal defense attorney at Coastal Legal Center APC, is here to help if you have been accused of a crime in San Diego County, Southern California, and beyond. We defned our clients and fight for their rights!

We thoroughly investigate the allegations against our clients, review all police reports and other documents, and examine the legality of tactics used by the police, as well as collect information from witnesses about the event in question. We thoroughly study the facts surrounding our clients’ cases to properly and successfully defend them, no matter the charge or accusation. In short, we take every step necessary to protect your legal rights.

If you are currently facing a felony or misdemeanor charge in California, you need the help of a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jerrold Bodow has more than 35 years of criminal law experience representing Californians who have been charged with crimes. We thoroughly investigate every angle of a case to determine any potential discrepancies and search for the many ways to have the charges reduced or, if possible, dropped completely. Having worked with the judges and the prosecutors in all the courts across the county, Mr. Bodow successfully negotiates on his client’s behalf. Being respected and liked goes a long way in the San Diego legal community.

Coastal Legal Center APC represents individuals who have been charged with crimes ranging from minor criminal offenses, such as minor in possession of alcohol, to the most serious criminal acts, such as homicide, and every charge in between. Coastal Legal Center APC works in all state, federal, and military courts. We also handle all proceedings with the DMV. Even if you were arrested outside of San Diego County or outside of California, Coastal Legal Center APC can help you. We offer a free phone consultation for those who are seeking legal representation to help fight for their rights and freedom. Call Coastal Legal Center APC at 619-231-0724 to talk with a member from our legal team about your case today.


Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) in San Diego

When an individual is under the age of 21 and is found possessing alcohol, they may be charged with a minor in possession charge or MIP. The three most common types of minor in possession ordinances are:

  • Actual Physical Possession – When a minor is holding an alcoholic beverage in their hand.
  • Possession by Consumption/Internal Possession – When a minor has already consumed an alcoholic beverage and is proven by a blood-alcohol content test or a sobriety test.
  • Constructive Possession – When alcohol is found in an area that indicates a minor had intentions of consuming it, such as in the trunk of their vehicle or a cooler that a minor is sitting next to.

Some states make exceptions to minor in possession laws, depending on the jurisdiction. For example, some states allow minors to legally possess alcohol if an educational course permits it, if they are under adult supervision, if alcohol is needed in a religious ceremony, or if they are employed by a vendor that sells alcohol. An experienced criminal defense attorney will evaluate all state exceptions when representing clients who are being charged with a MIP offense.  

In the state of California, it is illegal for an individual under the age of 21 to possess alcohol in a public place. If a minor is charged with a MIP, the prosecutor must prove that the individual is both under the age of 21 and was in possession of drugs or alcohol in a public place, such as a street or a highway.

For individuals who are facing minor criminal charges and require an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges, you should contact the Coastal Legal Center APC to have the charges reduced and possibly dropped altogether.


Charged with a DUI in California

If an individual is driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants in California, the consequences will depend on a variety of factors, including the number of past DUI convictions and quantity of alcohol in the blood. An individual’s first DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor, the consequences of which include:

  • Fines – The first DUI charge varies between $390 and $1,000, as well as penalty assessments which could result in additional thousands of dollars in fines.
  • Incarceration – An individual could serve between 48 hours and six months in prison for their first DUI charge. However, if a judge grants a probationary period instead, then an individual will not have to serve any jail time. Judges tend to be more lenient for first-time offenders depending on the circumstances of their case.
  • License Suspension – First-time offenders usually get their license suspended for six months along with a four-month administrative suspension if their blood-alcohol concentration was higher than 0.08%.
  • Probation – First-time offenders can receive up five years of informal probation which includes requiring them to complete a three-month DUI course consisting of 30 hours of class. With a high blood-alcohol level, prosecutors are now asking the court to order either sale of a vehicle or attaching an ignition interlock device (IID) in the car. This requires the driver to blow into a device which assesses whether there is any alcohol in the driver’s body before unlocking the vehicle. It’s expensive and a constant, daily intrusion. An experienced lawyer can often have that condition deleted.

If an individual is convicted of a second or third DUI offense, the consequences result in more substantial fines, longer jail sentences, extended license suspensions, and longer probationary periods. Because DUI laws are so complex and every case is unique, it is essential for individuals who have been charged to understand their rights and the legal consequences of their actions.

Those who feel as though they have been unfairly treated, wrongfully charged, or are suffering from inappropriate consequences should contact Coastal Legal Center APC to consult with a member of our legal team. We also help clients who may be charged with other allegations such as juvenile DUI, DUI with bodily injury, or driving with a suspended license.



The federal government defines homicide as the act of one human being wrongfully taking the life of another human being. Charges for individuals who commit homicide depend on the mental state of the accused individual and their intention at the time of the incident. There are some cases where individuals commit homicide unintentionally, while there are other cases where individuals take time to plan out their actions.

For those who have committed accidental homicide, the consequences are not as severe as those who commit premeditated “murder”. The consequences for such actions can include a life sentence in prison or, in the most heinous cases, the death penalty.

In California, those who are convicted of DUI are notified that driving under the influence is dangerous and if they continue to drive under the influence and kill another individual, they can be charged with murder. It is that notification that gives them the state of mind, or mens rea, required for a murder conviction. This differs from the past where the maximum charge was vehicular manslaughter when a driver under the influence, negligently killed another.

Jerrold Bodow has successfully represented those charged with killing another person driving a car while under the influence. These tragic cases take both legal skills and the ability to assist the client through an extremely traumatic event. These drivers never meant to kill someone, and the fact that they did so often leaves them with intense feelings of guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, fear, and remorse. At Coastal Legal Center APC, we work with a team including mental health professionals to assist the client and the clients family in getting through this agonizing process.

For those accused of committing a homicide, it is essential to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the distinction between and consequences of first and second-degree murder, as well as which circumstances determine whether a homicide is a crime of passion. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from Coastal Legal Center APC will gather all of the facts and collect enough evidence to mount a client’s defense.


Other Criminal Offenses

We also help clients who may be accused of other crimes, such as:

  • Drug Offenses – We defend clients who are being charged with various drug offenses, such as cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, possession of paraphernalia, possession with the intent to sell, prescription fraud, trafficking, and transportation.
  • Domestic Violence – If you are being charged for abusing another person with whom you have a domestic or dating relationship, we can help you whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges.
  • Fraud – We help clients with bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, credit card fraud, health care fraud, insurance fraud, internet fraud, investment fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion, telemarketing fraud, and more.
  • Sex Offenses – We help those who are accused of sexual assault, rape, and sex with a minor. We are acutely aware of the emotional response of people when they hear someone has been charged with a sex crime. It is critical to minimize any publicity of the accusation and prevent adverse emotional reactions from the jurors hearing these cases. Jerrold Bodow has the insight, understanding, and ability to deal with these complex issues.
  • Stealing and Theft – If you are facing fines or jail time for petty theft, shoplifting, grand theft, commercial burglary, or embezzlement, we will defend your case and protect your rights.
  • White Collar Crimes – Rapid advances in technology have opened a new world of crimes being committed via technology. These complex crimes require an attorney whose knowledge of the latest advances in software and analysis is up to date. Forensic experts are often required to defend such charges which include bribery, computer hacking, counterfeiting, cyber-crime, email interception, extortion, forgery, identity theft, money laundering, pyramid schemes, and racketeering.
  • Violent Crimes – We understand that some individuals may be falsely accused of partaking in violent crimes such as aggravated assault, arson, assault and battery, domestic violence, hate crimes, homicide, manslaughter, mayhem, murder, terrorism, and robbery. If you have been falsely accused of any of the above crimes, we will work hard to protect you.
  • Juvenile Crimes – We help those who are underage and are being charged with juvenile crimes such as false identification, graffiti, property crimes, trespass, truancy, vandalism, violating curfew, and violent crimes.

If you’re wondering whether your case falls within one of these categories, call Coastal Legal Center APC for a free consultation today. We will evaluate your situation, and clearly discuss all of your legal options.


Non-Legal Team

Although we are located in San Diego, we help out-of-state clients who may be charged with any of the above allegations. We work with most other states as well as all areas across California. We have a team consisting of specialists in different fields we work with to help us successfully defend our clients. Our non-legal team includes:

  • Medical, Alcohol and Drug Analysts – An analyst who studies drugs and other substances that may have been present at a crime scene. Their job is to help attorneys, judges, and juries understand all the science related to these issues.
  • Psychologists and Psychiatrists – These medical professionals are trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They can evaluate the psychological and physical components that lead to behavioral issues. They conduct clinical studies that lead to a deeper understanding of an individual’s relationship between emotional and mental illnesses. They also assess whether genetics and family history are contributing factors to these issues.
  • Special Investigators – These investigators speak with witnesses and gather evidence to show the defendant was not guilty of a particular crime or present mitigating evidence. They review all of the documents the prosecutor has presented to the defense team. We challenge those allegations by collecting data from police reports, witness statements, crime scene analysis, photographs, and any other documentation or circumstances that would benefit the defendant’s case.
  • Weapons and Ballistic Specialists Ballistic specialists study the motion, dynamics, angular movement, and effects of specific weapons including bullets, missiles, and bombs. They carefully examine the evidence to determine which firearm was used based on evidence at the scene such as shells left by the shooter. Shells and recovered casing help them determine whether the gun was connected to other crimes. Depending on where the bullet landed, specialists can determine where the suspected shooter may have been standing, what angle they shot from, and when they shot the gun. They can compare the residue left on bullets to the residue left on the suspect’s hand, the weapon they used, and any nearby objects. All of this information helps them determine whether the suspect was the shooter.
  • DNA Analysts These analysts, also known as forensic biologists, investigate violent crimes by collecting, testing, and analyzing blood, saliva, and hair samples as evidence of whether a suspect is guilty of a particular crime. These samples can also indicate how many people were involved.  Specialists run the DNA at a laboratory to eliminate or include a suspect.
  • Polygraph Examiners These specialists use a polygraph machine to assess the body’s response to specific questions pertaining to a case. Upon completion, they study the findings of the polygraph to search for possible deception in an individual’s answers. The three major focal points of the body that the machine picks up on are the respiratory, cardiovascular, and sweat gland systems. Although polygraph results are not allowed into evidence in any court hearing, they are often useful to convince a prosecutor of the client’s innocence. A defense-conducted polygraph gives the client the benefit of showing the results to the prosecution if the results are good or ignoring the results and not showing it to the prosecutor if they’re not. The only downside to a defense polygraph is the cost to the client, often in the range of $500-$1,000. If the client is innocent, it may be worth it. If the client is guilty, it is wasted money.

Our specialists help us analyze and assess whether there has been a wrongful charge based on any unnoticed inconsistencies as well as defend you against prosecutors who use specialists in the government’s case against you. We utilize our resources to ensure we do everything within our power to help support your case. Although the prosecution has the burden of proving a suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a strong offense is a good defense. The defendant doesn’t need to prove his or her innocence, but the more evidence in your favor, the better. Our job is to develop as much evidence reflecting innocence as possible.

If you or someone you love need an aggressive and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, contact Coastal Legal Center APC. To speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney about the charges you are facing, contact us at 619-231-0724 for a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team. We are standing by, waiting to take your call. If urgent call 619-300-0660 at any time.  



Jerrold Bodow Esq.

Get your questions answered – call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (619) 231-0724

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