38+ years of experience | 150+ trials | 100+ media mentions
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge
  • Achievment Badge

Facing a criminal charge can change your life, but legal representation can minimize or completely alleviate the damage that it has already done.

Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.

We’ve tried 100s of cases and are ready to offer you the emotional support and advocacy that you deserve.

Board-certified by the State Bar of CA legal specialist in criminal law

Alt Text! Alt Text! Speak with an award-winning criminal defense attorney

Our Criminal Defense Team

  • I did my fair share of research trying to find an attorney to handle a very serious criminal matter of mine. Of all the offices I visited, this firm was by far the most informative of them all. From the beginning, they were on top of communication and very proactive with my case the entire way. They live up to their reputation of being some of the top trial attorneys in San Diego. Attorney Kerry Armstrong handled my case. He is very dedicated to his profession and serving his clients. In the time that I spent with him, I can tell that he really cared about getting me the best outcome possible.

    - Charlie M.
  • Mr. Armstrong is a one of a kind exceptional criminal defense attorney He is always patient, positive, honest and upfront with you on his opinion of your case. Always committed and diligent in his work ethics. He is highly respected in and out of the courtroom, went above and beyond for my husband on his case and has a great sense of humor that puts you at ease. Would recommend him to anyone in need of a top criminal defense attorney.

    - Melissa S.
  • Vanessa is very knowledgeable in what she does. Her professionalism and passion made this extremely tough time for me remarkably smooth. She was always able to give me all the information I needed and made very clear of the possible outcomes. Communication with her was open at all times and if she was busy, she would make sure to get back to you as soon as she could. I had 4 misdemeanors charged against me with 60 days custody over my head. With a couple of months of negotiating, I get a call with great news. 60-day custody was dropped and 3 of 4 misdemeanors were dropped. The outcome was truly more than I can ask for.

    - Jonathon
  • I was facing LIFE in prison and the prospect of never seeing my family again for a crime I did not commit. Dan Greene took my case and fought for me every step of the way. Against all odds, a corrupt system, a ruthless prosecution and a hanging judge, my lawyer defended me and proved to the world that I had been falsely accused. I owe this man my life. Dan wasn't my first lawyer, but he is definitely my last. I would recommend Dan Greene to everyone. If you are in trouble, you MUST call Dan!

    - Steven P.

Recent Blog Posts

California Statutory Rape Laws

| Read Time: 2 minutes

If you’ve ever dated someone under eighteen, you might have heard the phrase “statutory rape.” Statutory rape occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is underage, even if the underage person consents to the intercourse. California calls statutory rape “unlawful sexual intercourse.”  California prosecutors can charge statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of your case. Any sex crime conviction can result in serious criminal penalties for the accused, not to mention the damage to your reputation caused by the negative stigma of sex crimes charges. Our statutory rape attorneys at The Law Offices of Kerry Armstrong, APLC., have handled numerous cases involving statutory rape charges in California. We understand the seriousness of these charges and are committed to providing our clients with the best legal defense possible. Contact our office today to start your free consultation.  Penalties for Statutory Rape in California As stated above, prosecutors can charge statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony. California considers unlawful sexual intercourse a misdemeanor when the minor is less than three years younger than the adult charged with the crime. For example, if a 19-year-old has sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old, the 19-year-old could receive a misdemeanor charge for statutory rape, but not a felony. In some states, the minimal age gap between the participants in sexual intercourse can allow the defendant to escape statutory rape charges. These are known as Romeo and Juliet laws. However, legislators chose not to implement a Romeo and Juliet law in California, choosing to lower the potential punishment range instead. A misdemeanor statutory rape charge carries potential penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  A felony statutory rape charge carries the potential of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the minor was under 16 at the time of the sexual intercourse, potential penalties increase to up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Confused About California’s Statutory Rape Laws? Contact Our Office Today If you face charges of statutory rape in California, you should consider talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. A sex crimes conviction can greatly impact your daily life and even some of your constitutional rights. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has represented dozens of clients dealing with life-altering accusations. Our founding attorney, Kerry L. Armstrong, focuses his efforts on defending individuals accused of sex crimes. Mr. Armstrong understands the implication a criminal conviction can have on an individual and thrives on ensuring he obtains the best possible result for his clients. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong has earned the respect of other attorneys in the area, earning the distinction of 2012 “Trial Attorney of the Year” awarded by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association. He is also a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California.  When your liberties are at stake, you want an attorney that is committed to defending your rights, no matter what the accusations are. Our team at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, is here to help. Start your fight today by contacting us.

Defrauding an Innkeeper — Overview and Defenses

| Read Time: 3 minutes

The crime of defrauding an innkeeper may sound like an ancient law that does not have relevance in today’s society, but that isn’t the case. In California, defrauding an innkeeper has a much broader context, making it illegal to obtain certain items without paying for them. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we represent clients in San Diego County and throughout Southern California facing all types of serious criminal charges, including defrauding an innkeeper and other theft-related offenses. What Is Defrauding an Innkeeper? The crime of defrauding an innkeeper is outlined in California Penal Code section 537 (PC 537), which makes it illegal to “obtain any food, fuel, services, or accommodations at a hotel, inn, restaurant, boardinghouse, lodging house, apartment house, bungalow court, motel, marina, marine facility, autocamp, ski area, or public or private campground, without paying therefor, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof.” That sounds complex, but this is essentially California’s “dine and dash” law. The statute also prohibits skiers and snowboarders from “poaching,” which means using a ski resort without a valid lift ticket. Similarly, this law covers reselling lift tickets when the resort does not allow the resale of their tickets. Punishments for Defrauding an Innkeeper As is often the case with California theft offenses, the seriousness of defrauding an innkeeper charge depends largely on the value of the goods or services. For example, if the value is less than $950, the crime carries a fine of up to $1,000 or a term of incarceration of up to six months. However, if the value exceeds $950, then the maximum sentence increases to three years in prison.   How Does the Government Prove Someone Defrauded an Innkeeper? Under state and federal law, every element of a criminal offense must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of defrauding an innkeeper are: You obtained a good or service from a business; You did not pay for the goods or services; and You intended to defraud the business. In any theft case, your intent is a critical element of the offense. If the prosecution cannot prove that you intended to steal, a judge or jury cannot find you guilty. However, PC 537 contains a built-in presumption that can make it easier for the prosecution to prove its case. Specifically, evidence that you left a business without paying can be considered evidence of your intent to defraud. In other words, if you leave a restaurant without paying, the burden shifts to you to prove that you did not intend to defraud the restaurant. Defenses to Defrauding an Innkeeper Charges Despite the presumption that anyone who leaves a business without paying for goods or services did so with the intent to defraud the business, there are still defenses to these charges. The most common defenses to defrauding an innkeeper involve negating the intent element of the offense. For example, assume you go out to eat with several friends. At the end of the meal, you get up to use the restroom. When you return, you see the bill on the table and assume that one of your friends took care of it. You then walk out without paying. In this case, you mistakenly believed that someone else paid the bill. If that mistake was reasonable, then it may be a defense to any charges you face. Although less common, another defense to defrauding an innkeeper involves a situation in which you act under duress. Duress is a legal defense in which you claim that you only broke the law because someone else threatened you. For example, if someone comes up to you at a bar, presses an object into your back, and tells you to follow them outside, you may be under the belief that if you didn’t go with them, they would shoot you. In this case, if you failed to pay your bar tab, you could argue you only did so because you were under duress. Have You Been Charged with Defrauding an Innkeeper? If you face charges of defrauding an innkeeper, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, our dedicated team of Southern California criminal defense lawyers represent clients in all types of theft offenses, including defrauding an innkeeper. We understand how stressful it is to have criminal charges hanging over your head and do everything we can to ensure an arrest has as little impact on your life as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, at 619-304-1359 today. You can also reach us through our online form.

Indicted for a Crime: What Does It Mean?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

You Need a Tough, Dependable California Criminal Defense Lawyer if You Were Indicted for a Crime Facing a criminal indictment in California can be daunting. You may have questions like, “What does it mean when you are indicted? What’s the first thing I should do if I am indicted for a crime?” You need these questions answered quickly.  Call the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, right away if you have been indicted for a crime. San Diego criminal defense attorney Kerry L. Armstrong and his team have the experience and skills to help you mount a successful defense. You have too much at stake if you have been indicted for a crime to trust your freedom to just anyone. Indictment v. Information  If a prosecutorial agency in California charged you with a felony, you will need to know, “What does indictment mean for you?” An indictment is one method of charging someone with a felony in California. California uses the process of filing a pleading called “information” as the other method of bringing felony charges against you. Bringing Felony Charges Against a Person When someone reports a crime, the police respond and gather evidence. Then, they write a report detailing witness statements and the physical evidence collected. The police officer can arrest a person at that time without a warrant if he or she has probable cause that a crime has been committed.  Otherwise, the officer will apply for an arrest warrant. This is the first step in the criminal justice system.  The person arrested then appears before the court for an arraignment. At that time, the person will enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). The court will make sure the person has enough time to get a lawyer and will inform the accused of the charges pending at that time. The Preliminary Hearing One way to be formally charged with a felony is through a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor presents the case to a judge by calling witnesses and entering physical exhibits in evidence. The accused must be present, along with their lawyer. The accused’s attorney can cross-examine the witnesses and present evidence as well. The judge answers two questions at a preliminary hearing. The first is whether there is probable cause to believe someone committed a crime. The second question is whether there is probable cause to believe the accused committed the crimes alleged. The judge will then bind the case over for trial if the judge finds probable cause that a crime or crimes have been committed. The Indictment Process The second way to be charged with a felony is through an indictment from a grand jury.  While very common in other states, grand jury indictments in California are relatively rare.   Prosecutors convene a criminal grand jury to investigate crimes. However, they could also use it for other reasons as well. Notwithstanding, a prosecutor has an ethical duty not to abuse the power of the grand jury.  Prosecutors can call witnesses under oath, who will give a sworn statement. The prosecutor can also use the grand jury to subpoena documents as well.  Once the grand jury hears the evidence from the prosecutor, it will vote on the evidence. Fourteen people must vote to hand down an indictment. The accused does not appear to testify and has no right to cross-examine or present evidence.  If the grand jury hands down an indictment, then there is no need to have a preliminary hearing.  What Does “Indicted” Mean in Court? An indictment is a critical step in the California criminal justice system. Consequently, receiving notice of an indictment triggers valuable rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the California State Constitution.  According to the U.S. and California Constitutions, after a grand jury indictment, you have the right to:  A bail set, unless the case is a capital offense; A speedy trial; A public trial; An attorney; Be present at all proceedings; Compel witnesses to testify on your behalf; Confront and cross-examine witnesses; Not face the same allegations more than once; Remain silent; and Due process of law. The right to due process of law includes the right to have a jury trial. A petit jury, which is the name of a jury at a trial, consists of twelve people who vote on your innocence or guilt. Indicted for a Crime? Act Now Before It’s Too Late An indictment is nothing more than a piece of paper that serves as notice to you that a grand jury has a strong suspicion that you committed a felony. An indictment is not a conviction. You enjoy the presumption of innocence even after a grand jury indictment. But this does not mean you should just wait and see what happens.  The prosecution has the upper hand by indicting you rather than going to a preliminary hearing. You must level the playing field. Turn things in your favor right away with help from San Diego Criminal Attorney Kerry L. Armstrong and his defense team.  Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation by calling 619-234-2300.