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.
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.”
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.
A DUI hit and run accident that involves drunken driving generally involves multiple offense. When alcohol is not involved, the police officer will attempt to contact the driver after the hit and run. Politely decline to answer the officer's questions, although this is sometimes easier said than done.
If you are charged with a DUI on Federal land, such as a military base or national park, then it will be classified as a Federal DUI. A conviction can have long-lasting consequences and can include fines, license suspension, and possibly jail time.
Driving under the influence is a specialized and highly technical area of the law. What used to be considered a glorified speeding ticket, now is one of the most severely punished misdemeanors on the books. A person convicted of a DUI is facing jail, fines, alcohol classes, driver's license suspensions, points on the driver's license and higher insurance costs.
Drug charges are almost always a result of financial need or in support of personal use. In the case of the former, the client that is charged with a federal drug offense is generally a courier that feels forced to cross drugs across the United States border POE (ports of entry) at San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and Calexico to earn a relatively meager amount of money.
Historically, white collar criminals engage in financial deception such as tax evasion, tax fraud, bribery, forgery, Ponzi schemes, embezzlement, insider trading and other crimes that utilize government resources for personal gain. They are usually tried in federal court because they are considered federal crimes.
The legal process behind dealing with a domestic violence case can be emotional and challenging. Though SDD’s founder, Daniel Smith says,” if there is one thing that my father, a judge for 20 years, taught me about DV cases, it is that an arrest is not an automatic indication of guilt.
In California, most convictions can be expunged from your record. An expungement is technically your plea of guilty being withdrawn and the case being dismissed. It is a legal fiction that it never happened.
What others are saying
“We all make mistakes and I am no exception. I was charged with Felony DUI with injury. This was my first time every being arrested and I was terrified of what the consequences would be. I searched for a good local lawyer and was pointed in the direction of San Diego Defenders law office. I called and arranged for a consultation. I met with Dan Smith and he was very honest and patient with my questions. I decided to retain their services. I was represented very well by Jon Pettis. In the end I was faced with fines, scram (90 days), 3 month DUI class, probation and 10 day public service. This was much better than the alternative of 2-4 year prison sentence. The office was responsive to inquiries and responded quickly. I hope to never need their services again, but if I ever find myself in a legal bind again, I definitely will be calling on the San Diego Defenders! ”Posted on Avvo by Anonymous, October 29, 2018
“Provided me with information that I needed over the phone. Great attorney had a client too and made the time to give the info that I needed. I definitely recommend him.”Posted on Avvo by Alejandra, October 21, 2018
“If you are reading this, it is probably because you are doing what I did a little over 9 months ago, and that is surf the net for reviews on a good Criminal Defense Attorney. I was looking at four (4) Felonies and One (1) Misdemeanor, which meant jail time for sure. I was worried, petrified, and uneasy it all added up to considerable amount of stress. I drove by San Diego Defenders office almost every day, not realizing that I would need to contact them. During my first meeting with Mr. Daniel Smith, I felt a load off my back, my stress level reduced, because he was going to work on keeping me out of jail. He did not make any promises, but showed me that he was confident on his criminal defense skills, along with his Partner Jon Pettis, very knowledgeable and they work well together. Dan and his partner have a good relationship with the DA’s office, and Courts (I think that is very important). They knew the right people to get my case reduced, stay out of Jail with a low risk case; they also worked out a payment plan with the court. I was happy with the outcome and glad I made the right choice in calling San Diego Defenders office. Good Luck! ”Posted on Avvo by Anonymous, June 20, 2018
“Daniel Smith is the definition of legal tenacity. My immigration case was complex. He worked diligently for over two years. With his extensive knowledge, he was able to exhaust all avenues and obtain a winning solution to my situation. Thank you San Diego Defenders!”Posted on Avvo by Anonymous, June 14, 2018