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About Our Criminal Defense Law Firm

Defense legends Daniel Smith and Jon Pettis have achieved a remarkable number of court wins over their 50 years in federal and state criminal defense, establishing themselves as the most successful criminal defense team in San Diego.


The key to our success is teamwork. We use the round table method to work together to find the best strategy, often splitting up duties at trial.


After 50 years of case experience in San Diego, we’ve come to know the individual prosecutors and judges in this county and can strategize accordingly.

Affordable Payment Plan

We provide a complete defense for a flat fee and offer affordable payment plans.

Our Legacy

A reputation built over several generations, San Diego Defenders can trace it’s humble beginnings to Daniel Smith’s grandfather R.G. Smith, who gained a reputation as a legendary defense lawyer during the 1920’s Prohibition Era and into the Great Depression. The legacy continued with Daniel’s father Ralph G. Smith Jr., a former prosecutor for the United States Attorney. He often told Daniel that a winning reputation will have prosecutors agreeing to your terms rather than dealing with you in court. “When you have enough passion to win, clients and prosecutors know it.”

BBB Acredited Business
Hispanic Lawyers member

SanDiego Lawyers

Practice Areas

Our clients depend on us for a result that gets their life back to normal as soon as possible and because of that, we have always been committed to providing our clients with a complete defense to the finish.

Asset Seizure and Forfeiture

San Diego Defenders has achieved great success helping Innocent Owners get their property returned from the government. Learn how we can help you.


Misdemeanor and felony DUI; first, second, third or fourth DUI; Federal DUI.

Drug Defense

San Diego Defenders Has Expertise Defending Drug Cases

White Collar

Tax evasion, tax fraud, bribery, forgery, Ponzi schemes, embezzlement, insider trading and other related crimes.

Domestic Violence

Felony or misdemeanor; going to trial; plea deals

Petty Theft

Shoplifting and commercial burglary.


Felony and misdemeanor theft.


Get a past conviction expunged from your record.

Federal Crimes

Hire an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with any federal crime.

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