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San Diego Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a federal crime can be overwhelming for a criminal defendant and their family. From the moment that someone receives a target letter, or even worse, when they are arrested by a federal agent, it is absolutely essential to hire a lawyer that has significant experience with federal criminal cases.

Rist Law Office has handled thousands of criminal defense cases in the fifteen years since the firm opened. From arrest through final verdict, our office has an in-depth knowledge of the federal criminal defense system and we can help you and your family to understand the entire process and to set up a defense quickly.

Our office handles all types of federal criminal cases including drug crimes, alien smuggling, alien entry and reentry cases, white-collar crimes, fraud, and other violent crimes. As soon as we are hired to work on a case our firm quickly examines all aspects of a case and determines whether investigators or expert witnesses need to be retained to assist with the defense. In some cases, witness interviews that are taken shortly after an arrest can be the difference in a verdict, plea or dismissal of a case.

Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Lawyer Thomas Rist started out his career as an assistant prosecuting attorney where he learned the inside of the federal criminal system. After opening Rist Law Office, Thomas Rist has been appointed by federal courts in multiple jurisdictions to be on the Federal Criminal Justice Act Panel (“CJA Panel”). This panel is made up of highly qualified attorneys that are vetted by sitting federal judges and are approved to serve on the CJA Panel. Attorneys on the CJA panel have to demonstrate experience with jury trials, federal sentencing knowledge, and the entire criminal defense process before being accepted to the CJA Panel. Thomas Rist is currently an active member of the Federal CJA Panel in the Southern District of California, which is based in San Diego.

A History of Winning Criminal Defense Cases

Rist Law Office has a history of fighting for defendants charged in a wide variety of cases. We have taken criminal defense cases to trial in both State and Federal Court and have successfully won the acquittal of clients in multiple jurisdictions. We have obtained not guilty verdicts in drug cases, sexual assault matters, and other serious criminal cases where our clients were facing years in prison.

What Is the Difference Between a Federal Criminal Case and State Criminal Case?

There are several differences between a state and federal crime. Federal criminal cases are handled by the federal court system and involve violation of the laws of the United States of America. Federal criminal cases can be much more complicated to deal with than a state court case due to the applicability of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as well as the immense resources of the United States to prosecute criminal defendants. It is extremely important to find an attorney that has significant experience in the federal criminal system, not just state court cases. Many attorneys that practice in state courts will not handle a federal court criminal case.

What Types of Federal Crimes Are Typical in San Diego?

San Diego is a border town so many of the cases we deal with in federal court in the Southern District of California involve drug smuggling, drug sales, and the crossing of illegal immigrants. The district also has a large number of white-collar crimes such as money laundering or fraud.

Our office offers free consultations to clients or their families who are dealing with federal criminal charges. We typically start a case by talking through all charges with a family member if the defendant is still incarcerated or the defendant if they have posted bail. Then we can research the charges and provide our best assessment as to how serious the crime is and potential defenses. In many cases when we are retained, our office quickly has investigators start gathering additional evidence that can be useful to defend a client.

Client Reviews

“Tom Rist embodies all of the attributes a person would look for in an attorney. He is honest, trustworthy, competent, genuine, and personable. He is a natural at putting his clients at ease.”

Google Review by a Client

“I just wanted to say thank you for everything. I really appreciate all you did for my case. Awesome job.”

Employment Case Client

“Thank you so much for what you did in this case. My husband and I had nowhere to turn until we found you. Your work on this case made all of the difference for us and our family. We are so very grateful for your help and will send all of our family and friends to you if they need a lawyer for...

Fraud Litigation Client

“Thank you so much for what you did in this case. We will refer everyone that we know to your office for help with any legal matter. Thank you for your hard work.”

Wrongful Death Client Representative

“You did excellent work in this case to get not only the attorneys for the defendants to understand your client’s strong position, but also to get their insurance claim representatives to put real value on what was a hard case.”

Mediator in a crime victim case

Contact Us

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 No Fees Unless You Win
  3. 3 Get Results, Not Excuses
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