At The Law Offices of Michael Berg our San Diego criminal defense attorney understands the seriousness of criminal charges. If you are facing a misdemeanor, felony or federal charge we will fight for your rights.
401 W A St #2600
San Diego
United States
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Michael Berg

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney | DUI, Federal Crimes


Frequently Asked Questions

If you are facing criminal charges in San Diego, you need the assistance of an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney.  San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Berg will provide you with a free consultation of your case if you call his office at 619-239-2186. 

While there is no substitute for proper legal representation, we hope the following answers to Frequently Asked Questions about criminal cases can be of some assistance.

What is a Felony?

The most serious types of crimes are referred to as felonies. Typically, a felony is any crime that can be punished by more than a year imprisonment or death. A crime that has a maximum sentence of a fine or a year or less of custody in the local jail is not a felony. Felonies include both violent and non-violent crimes, and also crimes against both property and a person. A few examples are murder, rape, grand theft, assault, serious drug crimes, auto theft and embezzlement.

When crimes charged are more serious, the need for an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you through the legal process becomes even greater. Michael S. Berg has extensive experience defending people arrested and accused of all types of criminal offenses. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges or are currently under investigation, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.

What are the Consequences of a Felony Conviction?

Different felonies carry different maximum terms in state prison. Also, certain enhancements may be filed which can increase the punishment. Some enhancements will even deny probation to a person.

If a person is convicted of a felony, the consequences are most often more severe than those of a person convicted of a misdemeanor. Felony convictions usually carry more time in custody and the conditions of release are generally more restrictive. The conditions of custody are more often more severe. There are other consequences as well, such as not be allowed to vote, not serving on juries in some states, not being able to hold public office, not owning firearms and perhaps not serving in the military. To determine what consequences you may be facing, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help guide you. Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.

What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is typically a crime that is less serious than a felony. It is often punished by custody in a local jail as opposed to a state prison, and the maximum term in custody is up to one year. There may be alternatives to custody for misdemeanors such as home arrest, work-furlough detention centers and G.P.S. ankle bracelets. Although the charges are certainly less serious than felony charges, being accused of a misdemeanor, or being convicted of a misdemeanor, can be a life-changing event for some persons. In some professions, a misdemeanor conviction may result in loss of employment, denial of certain rights, loss of the right to own or carry firearms and restrictive conditions of probation.

Whether a felony or a misdemeanor, any type of accusation can have serious consequences and requires the need of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.

What is the Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors?

Generally speaking, felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. Certain crimes can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the crime. For example, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol with an Injury is typically a misdemeanor. However, if the injury is serious, or the injuries are permanent, the case can be filed as a felony. There are some charges that start out as felonies that can be reduced to misdemeanors, such as Assault or Grand Theft. Finally, some charges may be initially pled to as a felony but reduced to a misdemeanor either before the term of probation has expired, or later upon a motion to the court and a showing of good cause. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the consequences can be severe. Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.

How Can I Find Out if I Have a Warrant Out for my Arrest?

An excellent place to start is the San Diego County Sheriff’s website, where you can find out if you have a warrant out for your arrest for a state felony or misdemeanor in San Diego County. The website is:

If questions remain concerning the status of a warrant, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today. I can advise you about the status of your case and whether or not there is an active warrant out for your arrest.

Can I Clear A Warrant Without Begin Arrested?

The short answer is “maybe.” It depends on the charge and it depends on the warrant that was issued. Some warrants are issued as “no bail” which means that bail cannot be posted. In this case, a person must go to court and having the judge lift the warrant. If the warrant has a set amount of bail, it is possible to post the bail with a bondsman without going to court first. If this happens, the warrant will be cleared and a future court date will be given.

If a court appearance is necessary to clear the warrant, the case must be put on calendar before going to court. Once in court, the judge will decide whether to clear the warrant and allow the person to remain out of custody, or to clear the warrant and impose bail. (To answer any questions concerning bail, please see the section entitled “Bail.”) Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your situation.

What Happens if I am Arrested?

If you are arrested, you will be handcuffed and taken to the county jail for processing. At the jail, an officer will interview you for basic information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, etc. You will be searched and your personal property will be taken away from you and held until your release. Should you have any items of contraband, such as illegal narcotics, it is probable that you will be charged with an additional crime. You will be fingerprinted, have your picture taken and housed until your arraignment, which is an initial appearance before a judge, or until bond is posted.

If you know in advance that you might be arrested, or are turning yourself in, you can prepare for arrest. You should leave personal property at home, but should carry a form of identification with you, such as a driver’s license. You might also consider having a few dollars to place on your books at the jail for purchasing items such as soups, candy or soaps.

Miranda Rights

Most people have seen movies or T.V. shows talking about a person’s “Miranda Rights.” “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you free of charge.” These “rights” or warnings, basically explain your constitutional right not to answer questions asked by the police. If the police make a decision to question a suspect, the goal is to attempt to get the suspect to admit to something that can be used in a case against him or her at a later court appearance. You should not answer any questions or make any type of statement to the police without a lawyer there to protect you. The police officers will try to make the case against you greater and easier to prosecute, thus making any type of statement or admission will surely do you more harm than good. If you believe you have information that will be of benefit to your case, wait to tell it to your lawyer who can then decide how to best use the information.

The Miranda warnings need to be given if an officer is attempting to take a statement from a person in custody. However, in many situations, the police do not try and take statements from the arrested person. In these situations, the Miranda warnings most likely do not need to be given. You should be aware, however, that just because the Miranda warnings are not given does not necessarily mean the statement an arrested person gives cannot be used. Anything you voluntarily say in the presence of an officer, even if you are not being questioned, has the potential of being used against you. Police are allowed to use statements they overhear you make, whether it is on the phone or talking to another person, so you should be very careful about any type of statements made while in custody. If you have any questions as to whether or not any statement you made while in custody may be used against you, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Michael S. Berg today and schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.