Criminal Divisions

APPELLATE & TRAINING [TOP]

The Appellate & Training Division provides support to the District Attorney’s Office in the areas of motion practice, appellate practice, legal research, policy, ethics, legislation, training, and public records.

BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION [TOP]

The Bureau of Investigation is the law enforcement arm of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. It is made up of eight divisions, which include 130 District Attorney Investigators and a number of Process Servers, Paralegals and Investigative Technicians.

CASE ISSUANCE/EXTRADITIONS [TOP]

The Case Issuance and Extradition Division is responsible for reviewing cases for potential charges, coordinating domestic and international extraditions and overseeing a number of units involving clemency, prior criminal conduct and more.

COLLABORATIVE COURTS [TOP]

The Collaborative Courts Division, previously under the Case Issuance and Extradition Division, advocates for the best solutions to protect public safety while transitioning offenders back into the community, with appropriate treatment and supervision to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. The division represents the District Attorney's Office in a number of court programs including Behavioral Health Court, Drug Court, Reentry Court, Veterans Treatment Court, Homeless Court, and Veterans Stand Down. In addition, Deputy District Attorneys are assigned to San Diego County's innovative Mandatory Supervision Court. Each prosecutor specializes in the intricacies of these particular courts.

The Collaborative Courts Division also participates in the multi-disciplinary team meeting for the recently-developed Vista Detention Center's Veterans Housing Module. This division also has prosecutors assigned to the Conviction Review Unit and the Lifer Unit. Finally, the division provides staff for the high-volume parole and post release community supervision calendars.

ECONOMIC CRIMES [TOP]

Economic crimes often have dire consequences, from destroying family equity in a property to rendering corporate stocks worthless to shareholders. These crimes may be committed by individuals against institutions or other individuals. The Economic Crimes Division is responsible for prosecuting a wide variety of wrongdoing, including computer intrusion, identity theft, investment scams, embezzlements, real estate matters, counterfeit goods, environmental crimes and the theft of public assistance funds. The division also acts to protect consumers and businesses by successfully filing numerous civil cases to prohibit unfair business practices within the marketplace.

The teams within the division, include Consumer Protection, Complex Theft, CATCH, Environmental Protection, and Real Estate Fraud.

EL CAJON BRANCH [TOP]

The District Attorney's East County branch is located in the City of El Cajon. The branch serves more than 20 communities and covers more than 2,000 square miles. Because of its location and proximity to Native American reservations and casinos located in East County, the branch often handles cases involving crimes committed on the reservations or arising from casino activities. Our cooperation and partnership with the tribes, their tribal councils, tribal law enforcement, and the Sheriff’s Department has enabled us to successfully investigate and prosecute these cases resulting in increased public safety on the reservations and in the casinos.

FAMILY PROTECTION [TOP]

The Family Protection Division of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office prosecutes crimes of murder, domestic violence, stalking, crimes against children, and elder abuse. The division strongly supports victims of crime and works closely with criminal justice agencies and community partners.

The division is led by Chief Tracy Prior and Assistant Chief Kurt Mechals and includes 39 deputy district attorneys, 14 investigators, 10 paralegals, and 16 other staff members who are stationed downtown as well as in each Branch office in the County.

During 2016, the Family Protection Division received 8,208 cases for review. It prosecuted 2,210 domestic violence cases, of which 725 were felonies and 1,485 were misdemeanors. In addition, there were 494 child abuse cases and 20 Internet crimes against children cases prosecuted along with charges filed in 371 elder abuse and 24 assisted living facility cases received by our office for review.

Today's misdemeanor can be tomorrow's homicide. The DA's Office has specially trained prosecutors and staff handling these cases from the earliest stage (issuing) all the way through the trial. This vertical handling of the caseload ensures better courtroom efficiency, better perpetrator accountability, and better victim safety.

If you have question about your case or if you would like to speak to one of our victim advocates, we are available to assist you. DA Victim Advocates can provide assistance with crisis intervention, emergency assistance (housing, food, medical care, etc.), assistance with filing for crime compensation claims, and provide community resource referrals.

You may reach the Family Protection Division at (619) 531-4300.

Family Protection Pages

Victim Services

Other Information

GANGS [TOP]

The District Attorney's Gangs Division prosecutes the most serious gang crimes committed in San Diego County. This division is a vertical prosecution unit which combines Deputy District Attorneys with District Attorney Investigators to handle the uncommon and dangerous issues that arise in gang prosecutions. The goal of the Gang Prosecution Division is to reduce the level of gang violence in San Diego County.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY [TOP]

The Information Technology Division provides the District Attorney's Office with technology tools and services. The 27 employees that make up this unit design, develop, implement, and support all information technology hardware, software, business applications, and websites. They also provide support for prosecution in the courtroom and community outreach efforts. In addition, ITD provides direct support to the City Attorney's Office in their use of the District Attorney's case management system for criminal prosecution.

INSURANCE FRAUD [TOP]

The average person doesn't give insurance fraud a second thought. But, the fact is it costs U.S. consumers an estimated $80 to $90 billion per year. In California, it's a $15 billion-a-year problem. It's the second-largest economic crime in America, exceeded only by tax evasion. The San Diego County District Attorney's Insurance Fraud Division addresses this problem by dedicating specialists to handle complex insurance fraud prosecutions.

JUVENILE [TOP]

The Juvenile Division of the San Diego District Attorney's Office promotes family focused interventions for youth under 18, who become involved in the criminal justice system. While still keeping our community safe, we are using new and diverse approaches to help our justice-involved youth succeed in life.

Working with law enforcement, the Courts, Probation, Health and Human Services and multiple community based organizations, we use evidence-based practices to ensure the most successful outcome for all. Diversion programs offered through local law enforcement agencies and the Probation Department, for example, ensure youth are obtaining the necessary services within their own communities rather than in custody. These diversion programs work with the justice-involved youth and their family to educate the youth and prevent future law violations. We have also enlisted organizations trained in restorative circles to correct the juvenile's behavior through discussion, mentoring and education, while also making reparations to the victims for their losses.

In addition, we have increased our prevention work by educating San Diego youth through school presentations on the law, and the pitfalls or dangers cyber-bullying, teen relationship violence, social media, commercial sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, and many other topics of interest. These presentations also help parents, teachers, school administrators and mentoring organizations, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, to identify and respond to issues today's youth are dealing with.

In cases where diversion and restorative circles are not appropriate or have not been effective, after traditional prosecution, we use one of the many specialty courts we helped create. They include Juvenile Mental Health Court, Drug Court, Truancy Court, RISE Court and Teen Court. Each of these court programs increases support and services for the high-risk/high-needs youthful offenders.

The Juvenile Division is broken down into specialty units, allowing our prosecutors to become subject matter experts and creative problem solvers.

NARCOTICS [TOP]

The District Attorney's Narcotics Division prosecutes illegal drug-related offenses, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies. In addition, the division assists law enforcement officers in preparing and reviewing their search and arrest warrants. We also assist with various investigative issues, and help law enforcement with projects in high-crime areas as well as handle state asset forfeiture matters.

NORTH COUNTY BRANCH [TOP]

The North County Branch of the District Attorney’s Office serves about 1 million residents – one third of San Diego County’s population. Ten law enforcement agencies, including five sheriff’s substations, submit crime reports for prosecution to the North County Branch, in Vista. In 2017, the branch reviewed over 6,400 felony cases and more than 12,500 misdemeanor cases submitted for criminal prosecution. There are currently 51 active homicide cases, 22 of which are regular branch cases.

SEX CRIMES AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING [TOP]

The Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division is comprised of a highly-trained and specialized team of Deputy District Attorneys, District Attorney Investigators, paralegals and secretaries who are all dedicated to aggressive and just prosecution of perpetrators of sexual assault and human trafficking crimes. The division strives to treat the victims of sexual assaults with compassion, dignity, and respect.

Attorneys and staff in this division handle a number of significant cases including prosecutions for sexually motivated homicide, sexual assaults by strangers, acquaintances or family members, lewd acts with children, non-domestic violence stalking, human trafficking, pimping, pandering, failing to properly register as sexual offenders, indecent exposure and civil commitments of sexually-violent predators.

Human trafficking prosecutions are on the rise, primarily in conjunction with pimping and pandering charges. Felons, intent on profiting from this illicit business, seduce vulnerable young women and minors into prostitution throughout San Diego County.

The division is committed to protecting the community from sexually-violent predators through the pursuing civil commitment petitions resulting in hospitalization and treatment of offenders found to be a substantial danger to the public. The division works to keep the public safe and informed as sexually-violent predators reach the community treatment phase through community notification and public meetings.

SOUTH BAY BRANCH [TOP]

The South Bay Branch of the District Attorney's Office is located in Chula Vista and serves the southern portion of San Diego County. The branch handles all misdemeanors and felonies that occur in Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Bonita, San Ysidro and Coronado. The South Bay branch handles unique cases because of our proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. We work with the Department of Homeland Security to prosecute cases that involve drug smuggling, identity theft and stolen vehicles that occur at the Otay and San Ysidro Ports of Entry. The branch also prosecutes cases from R. J. Donovan State Prison and the county detention facilities in East Mesa.

The South Bay branch is also involved in the community by reaching out to the youth in the Sweetwater Union High School District. For example, prosecutors made a number of anti-bullying presentations at local schools. And, through programs such as the Open Doors to Justice, South Bay middle and high schools students learned about the criminal justice system. Students met and learned from attorneys, judges, court staff, and participated in mock court hearings through these partnerships.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS [TOP]

The Special Operations Division investigates cases involving misuse of public funds, political corruption, hate crimes, threats and other crimes impacting the integrity of the justice system, such as perjury, filing falsified documents, and criminal misconduct of government officials, including peace officers and other public employees. This division acts as the primary advisor to the San Diego Grand Jury and reviews all police use of deadly force. The investigators are involved in gathering and disseminating criminal intelligence, threat assessment and are on call for officer involved shootings and incidents involving serious violence against police officers. To make sure the office maintains good working relationships with Mexico and with the Indian tribes in the area, this division has international liaisons and a Tribal and Gaming Liaison.

SUPERIOR COURT [TOP]

The Superior Court and Central Pretrial/Case Disposition Division is responsible for prosecuting some of the most challenging cases in the District Attorney's Office, including assaults, burglaries, robberies, felony DUIs, and murders. It is one of the largest divisions in the office and its Deputy DAs handle all felonies not assigned to a branch or vertical prosecution. This division is responsible for more than 25 percent of all felony cases tried by the District Attorney's Office.

In addition, the Superior Court Division handles pre and post-conviction mental health cases for those defendants alleged to be incompetent to stand trial and those found to be a danger to the community as a result of mental illness. The unique combination of senior trial attorneys and junior deputies in the division helps junior deputies develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become highly skilled felony trial attorneys.

The division consists of six teams: Pretrial, Case Disposition, Trials, Major Violators, DUI Homicide, Crimes Against Police Officers (CAPO), and Cold Case Homicide.

VICTIM SERVICES [TOP]

The San Diego County District Attorney's Victim Services Division strives to reduce the trauma, frustration, and inconvenience experienced by victims, witnesses, and family members affected by crime. The Victim Assistance Program provides comprehensive services to all crime victims, as mandated by law. Mandatory and optional services are provided to crime victims, even when a suspect has not been apprehended or prosecuted. The Victim Services Division helps victims recover from the effects of crime. For example, some of the services they provide are:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Resources and referrals
  • Victim Compensation Board application assistance
  • Court support
  • Restitution assistance