Innocence Legal Team | Criminal Defense Attorneys | Michael Begovich

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Michael Begovich

Innocence Legal Team > Team > Michael Begovich

Philosophy

“I have seen firsthand how District Attorneys overcharge clients and are too quick to judge the facts and assume my clients are guilty. I’m a specialist at using experts, investigations, inconsistencies, and finding motives to lie to show the prosecution that they are falsely accusing my clients.”

Education

  • University of California, Hastings School of Law, 1985 Juris Doctorate
  • University of California, Davis, 1981 B.A. Summa Cum Laude Double Major: Political Science and Rhetoric

Area of Practice

  • 100% dedicated to Criminal Law with an expertise in Sex Crimes defense

Testimonials

“The DA wanted me to spend the rest of my life in jail. Michael through his use of experts and investigation convinced the DA to give me probation.”

“Michael’s trial skills got me an acquittal despite video evidence and it being a high-profile media case.”

“I was terrified when I found out I was being investigated for child molestation. Michael got my charges dismissed before preliminary hearing.”

“Michael saved my life.”

Michael Begovich, Esq.

Your voice. Michael Begovich can work with law enforcement agencies and the prosecution to see if charges can be avoided or dismissed. Maybe a misunderstanding exists. Michael can help the other side see your side of the evidence and law. Michael is highly regarded by prosecutors, judges, and his peers. He has negotiated thousands of cases successfully and tried over 175 serious felony cases and won acquittals or substantial reductions in charges. People trust his evaluation of cases.

 

Your expert. Michael is the criminal defense attorney and sex crimes expert you want to hire. Use his 33 years of experience to try and bridge the gap between two competing views of the law and evidence to manage the dispute that is keeping you up at night. Michael knows juries are unpredictable having tried over 175 cases to verdict. Michael knows either side can lose in court.

 

Your lawyer. Your partner. Excellence and Experience Fighting in Your Corner.

 

Your strategist. Michael uses his compassion, superb listening skills, excellent ability to connect with others and put them at ease, attention to detail, intellect to understand the law and the strengths and weakness of each side, extensive trial litigation, and relentless determination – to limit your exposure.

 

Your fighter. You won’t regret hiring Michael as your aggressive fighter. Michael understands how damaging and emotional sex crime criminal charges are. They can ruin your life and the lives of your loved ones. Michael will be a fearless advocate in your corner. Michael knows your fears. He will try to manage the source of your anger, anxiety, fear, threats to reputation, freedom, and finances, and distraction.

 

Michael cares. Preparation, tenacity, professionalism, and experience at your service. Michael graduated from University of California Hastings Law School and the University of California Davis (Political Science & Rhetoric). He is AV-rated. He is a longtime author for statewide CEB books on jury selection, expert witnesses, trial practice, and sentencing. Michael served as faculty at USD Law. 32-year Deputy Public Defender. Michael was featured in Crime & Punishment TV series and has handled dozens of high-profile cases. Put his experience to work for you.

Trials to Verdict

  • 176 total serious, felony trials to verdict such as aggravated sexual assault, child molestation, rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an incompetent person, forcible rape and oral copulation, and sexually violent predators
  • 12 murder cases to verdict

Awards

  • “Michael Begovich Day” designated every February 14 – Awarded in 2019 by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for exemplary service and commitment to excellence as a Deputy Public Defender.
  • Rated AV in Martindale-Hubbell continuously since June 13, 2002.
  • Listed in 2013-2018 “Top Lawyers in San Diego” published by San Diego Magazine as rated by peers.
  • Spirit of CEB award received on September 11, 2009, for my outstanding service to the California legal profession though legal publications and teaching.
  • Michael tried one of San Diego County’s only “no-body” murder cases, and Michael was featured in the lead episode of NBC’s Crime and Punishment (created by Dick Wolf and an offshoot of the Law and Order series).

Bar Admission

  • United States Supreme Court, 1993, Active member in good standing.
  • California Bar, 1988, Active member in good standing.
  • Indiana Bar, 1987, Member in good standing, inactive status.

Published Works

  • “Jury Selection” in Chapter 29 of California Criminal Law: Practice & Procedure – (CEB: 2005-2021).
  • “Property Loss/Money Laundering/Fraud [Chapter 12]” &, “Felony Committed While Released on Bail or Own Recognizance [Chapter 14]” in California Criminal Sentencing Enhancements (CEB: 2021).
  • “Jury Selection” in Chapter 29 of California Criminal Law Forms Manual, Second Edition (CEB: 2007-2021).
  • “Presenting and Challenging Expert Testimony on Scientific Evidence” in Chapter 2, Scientific Evidence & Expert Testimony in California (CEB: 2016-2019).
  • “Preparing & Presenting Expert Testimony on Scientific Evidence” in Chapter 3 of Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases (CEB: 2009-2014).
  • Internet Investigation of Juror Misconduct: Tips to Win a Motion for New Trial,”38:2 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRIAL ADVOCACY 227 (2015).
  • Voir Dire in a Digital World: A Model for Ethical Internet Investigation of the Venire,” 36 T. JEFFERSON L. REV. 227 (2014).
  • Keeping Your Sanity: Preparing for Sanity & Competency Trials” in Criminal Law Journal (Summer 2013), State Bar of California, San Francisco.
  • “Staying Sane: Preparing & Presenting Expert Testimony in Sanity Trials” in Criminal Law Journal (Spring & Summer 2011), State Bar of California, San Francisco.
  • “Trial Publicity: Ethical Considerations Whether to Speak to the Media, and if you Decide to, Tips for Successful Media Interviews” in Criminal Law Journal (Winter 2008), State Bar of California, San Francisco.
  • “Tips for Successful Media Interviews” in California Lawyer Magazine (April, 2008) Daily Journal Corporation, Los Angeles.
  • “Serbianism: How it Motivated the Serbian Pioneers of the California Mother Lode” in East European Quarterly (1989).
  • “Serbianism: How it Motivated the Serbian Pioneers of the California Mother Lode” in East European Quarterly (1989).

Continuing education classes and seminars taught

  • Elimination of Bias in Jury Selection: Wheeler/Batson/Lenix in the Courtroom.” 1.5-hour MCLE (1.5 hours qualified for Elimination of Bias) presented with Judge Eric Isaac & Mark Jackson, Esq., at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting (October 9, 2015).
  • Preparing & Presenting Psychological Testimony at Trial.” 1.5-hour MCLE (.5 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) presentation with Raymond G. Murphy, Ph.D., and Christopher M. Honigsberg, Esq., at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting (September 11, 2014).
  • Ethical Preparation & Presentation of Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE (1.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (March 26, 2014).
  • Ethical Jury Selection Techniques.” 1.0-hour MCLE (1.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (February 12, 2014).
  • Ethical Jury Selection Techniques.” 1.0-hour MCLE (1.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (February 12, 2014).
  • Ethical Preparation & Presentation of Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE (1.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (March 26, 2014).
  • Preparing & Presenting Psychological Testimony at Trial.” 1.5-hour MCLE (.5 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) presentation with Raymond G. Murphy, Ph.D., and Christopher M. Honigsberg, Esq., at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting (September 11, 2014).
  • Ethical Jury Selection Techniques.” 1.0-hour MCLE (1.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (February 12, 2014).
  • Jury Selection in the Digital Age.” 2.0-hour MCLE (2.0 hours qualified for Legal Ethics) live training presented with Judge Philip H. Pennypacker & Wendy L. Patrick, Esq., at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting in San Jose (October 7, 2013).
  • Preparing and Presenting Expert Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (June 12, 2013).
  • Defending Your First Murder Case.” 1.0-hour MCLE Webinar sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California (December 12, 2012).
  • Jury Selection Techniques: Elimination of Bias & Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Wendy Patrick, Esq., at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting in Long Beach (September 17, 2011).
  • Preparing & Presenting Expert Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE Webinar presentation from San Diego sponsored by the State Bar of California Criminal Law Section (January 5, 2011).
  • Preparing & Presenting Expert Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE Webinar presentation from San Diego sponsored by the State Bar of California Criminal Law Section (January 5, 2011).
  • Staying Sane: Preparing & Presenting Expert Testimony in Sanity Trials.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Philip Hanger, Ph.D., at the State Bar Winter Skills Education Institute Training in Long Beach (January 23, 2010).
  • California Criminal Sentencing Laws.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Judge Phillip Pennypacker & Peter Flores, Esq. at the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego (September 11, 2009).
  • Staying Sane: Understanding & Presenting Competency & Insanity Testimony.”
  • 1.5-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Judge Michael Wellington, Philip Hanger, Ph.D., and Kristen Spieler, Esq., at the San Diego County Bar Association (June 24, 2009).
  • Tips for Successful & Ethical Media Interviews.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation (1/2-hour Legal Ethics) delivered with Teresa Cafesse, Chief Trial Deputy of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, at the Winter Skills Education Institute, State Bar of California, Berkeley (January 18, 2009).
  • Tips for Successful Media Interviews.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation, delivered with San Diego County Media Specialist Lesley Kirk, at the California Public Defender’s Association Advanced Trial Practice Seminar, Palm Springs (October 24, 2008).
  • Defending Murder Cases: How to Investigate, Prepare & Try Murder Cases in California.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, Monterey (September 27, 2008).
  • Direct & Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses: Procuring, Preparing, & Presenting Expert Witnesses.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (September 15, 2008).
  • Tips for Successful Media Interviews.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation, delivered with San Diego County Media Specialist Lesley Kirk, at the monthly management meeting for the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (June 26, 2008).
  • Defending Murder Cases: A Mens Rea Spectrum Approach to Understanding California Homicide Law, Parts I-II.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered to the Dept. of the Public Defender, San Diego (March 12, 2008 & February 28, 2008).
  • Jury Selection: How to Pick a Winning Jury.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the 2008 Winter Section Education Institute Program for the State Bar of California, San Diego (January 26, 2008).
  • “Defending Murder Cases: How to Investigate, Prepare, & Try a Murder Case.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the State Bar Annual Meeting, Anaheim (September 30, 2007).
  • Preparing & Presenting Expert Witnesses in Civil & Criminal Cases.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation (1/2-hour Legal Ethics) delivered at the State Bar Annual Meeting, Anaheim (September 29, 2007).
  • Jury Selection: How to Pick a Winning Jury.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the Winter Section Education Institute Program for the State Bar of California, Berkeley (January 22, 2007).
  • Jury Selection: How to Pick a Winning Jury.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Michael Leiffer, Esq. at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, Monterey (October, 2006).
  • Opening Statements: Begin with a Bang.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, Monterey (October, 2006).
  • Jury Selection: How to Pick a Winning Jury.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Dr. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius at the First Annual Trial Skills Seminar (sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the California State Bar) in Los Angeles (March 25, 2006). I was Co-Chairperson for this event.
  • Jury Selection: Tips & Tactics in Criminal & Civil Trials.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation presented with Michael Leiffer, Esq. at the 2006 State Bar Winter Skills Institute in Santa Monica (January 28, 2006).
  • Jury Selection: Tips & Tactics in Criminal & Civil Trials.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Michael Leiffer, Esq. at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, San Diego (September 8, 2005).
  • Jury Selection: Tips & Tactics in Criminal & Civil Trials.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the California State Bar Winter Skills Institute, San Francisco (January 27, 2005).
  • Jury Selection: Tips & Tactics in Criminal & Civil Trials.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, Monterey (October 4, 2004).
  • Jury Selection.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the State Bar Winter Skills Institute, Santa Monica (January 24, 2004).
  • Jury Selection: Tips to Select a Winning Jury.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation delivered at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego (December 3, 2003).
  • Jury Selection.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the 2003 State Bar Annual Meeting in Anaheim (September 4, 2003).
  • Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors and Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation that qualified for 2.0 hours of Legal Ethics credit delivered at the 2003 State Bar Annual Meeting in Anaheim (September 6, 2003).
  • Trial Tactics in Shaken Baby Cases.” 1.0-hour non-MCLE lecture given telephonically in a conference call throughout the United States, sponsored by SBSDefense.com (March 3, 2003).
  • How to Win Pre-Trial Motions.” 1.0-hour non-MCLE lecture delivered to Professor Ellen A. Waldman’s Clinical Education students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego (January 31, 2003).
  • Interrogation of the Medical Expert.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered on behalf of The Society for Law and Medicine at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego (January 30, 2003).
  • Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors & Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation (2.0 hours of Legal Ethics MCLE) credit delivered at the 2003 State Bar of California Winter Skills Institute in Berkeley (January 19, 2003).
  • Jury Selection: Tips & Tactics to Pick the Best Jury for Your Case.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the State Bar of California Winter Skills Institute in Berkeley (January 18, 2003).
  • Ethics & Trial Publicity.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Wendy Patrick, Esq. at the Hall of Justice Jury Overflow Room in San Diego (November 14, 2002). This presentation was sponsored by the Criminal Law Section of the San Diego County Bar Association.
  • SBSNET: Tips & Tools to Defend a Shaken Baby Syndrome Case.” 1.5-hour MCLE PowerPoint presentation delivered to the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office (October 16, 2002).
  • Eliminating Bias in the Jury Selection Process: Tips & Tactics in Criminal & Civil Trials.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Samantha L. Begovich, Esq. at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting in Monterey (October 13, 2002).
  • People v. Dailey on Crime & Punishment. I am featured defending my client charged with first-degree murder in a high-profile, “no body,” one-hour “Reality TV” program first broadcasted by NBC on Sunday, June 16, 2002.
  • Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors & Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation (two hours Legal Ethics credit) delivered at the State Bar Winter Skills Education Institute in San Diego (January 19, 2002).
  • Ethical Considerations for Criminal Defense Attorneys–Part III: Ethical Pitfalls for Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (January 16, 2002).
  • Ethical Considerations for Criminal Defense Attorneys–Parts I-II: Legal Malpractice & Attorney Discipline.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation (one-hour Legal Ethics credit) delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (January 9, 2002).
  • Jury Selection Techniques.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the California State Bar, Anaheim (September 9, 2001).
  • Ethical Considerations for Criminal Defense Attorneys–Part III: Ethical Pitfalls for Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 1.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (January 16, 2002).
  • Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors & Criminal Defense Attorneys.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation (two hours Legal Ethics credit) delivered at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the California State Bar, Anaheim (September 8, 2001).
  • Jury Selection Techniques.” 2.0-hour MCLE presentation delivered with Samantha L. Begovich, Esq. at the State Bar Winter Skills Education Institute Three-Day Training Program, in Berkeley (January 19, 2001).
  • The Bear Necessities: Keeping Your Case Interesting to Goldilocks & Other Jurors with Short Attention Spans.” 1.5-hour MCLE panel presentation delivered at William B. Enright Inn of American Inns of Court, San Diego (October 5, 2000). “Jury Reform & Strategies.” 2.0-hour MCLE panel presentation delivered at the 2000 Annual California State Bar Convention, San Diego (September 16, 2000).
  • Attorney Conducted Voir Dire—The Sequel.” 1.5-hour MCLE training panel program presented with Matt Braner, Sharyn Leonard & Robert Stall, delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (August 5, 2000).
  • Jury Reforms & Strategies.” 1.5-hour MCLE presentation provided at a regular meeting of the William B. Enright Inn of the American Inns of Court, San Diego (February 6, 2000).
  • Character Evidence in Misdemeanor Cases.” 1.0-hour MCLE lecture delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (November 1997).
  • Psychological Character Evidence in Sexual Assault, Murder & Other Cases.” 1-hour MCLE credit lecture presented with Bonita F. Hammell, Ph.D. delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (May 1997).
  • Standards of Practice for Deputy Public Defenders.” 1.0-hour MCLE credit lecture (including Law Practice Management) delivered to the Department of the Public Defender, San Diego (August 1996).
  • Trial Strategies in ‘Three Strikes’ Jury Trials.” 1.0-hour MCLE credit lecture delivered to the Department of Public Defender, San Diego (December 1995).
  • The ‘Three Strikes’ Law: Has it Reduced Crime in California?” One-hour guest appearance debating representatives from the Attorney General’s Office and District Attorney on KPBS Radio, San Diego (October 1995).
  • Peace Officer Errors in DUI Cases.” Lecture to the North County Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Council, Oceanside, CA (November 1994).
  • Analysis of the ‘Three Strikes’ Legislation: The Defense Perspective.” Speech to North San Diego County Bar Association, Vista (June 1994).
  • Three Strikes and You’re Out: Implications for the Family from the Criminal Defense Perspective.” Lecture at the Second Annual Family Summit, sponsored by San Diego Youth Involvement, Inc., San Diego (June 1994).
  • An Overview of the Three Strikes Legislation.” 1.5-hour lecture at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego (April 1994).
  • Three Strikes and You’re Out:’ The Mitigated Case of People v. Morales.” One-hour guest appearance on the Stacy Taylor Radio Talk Show, KFMB, San Diego, with Public Defender Steven J. Carroll (March 1994).

Employment Positions Held

  • San Diego County Public Defender, Deputy Public Defender, Felony Team Leader, and Assistant Supervisor, 1988 – 2019 and 2022
  • Private Practice in Criminal Law, 2019 – 2022
  • San Diego County Office of Assigned Counsel, Deputy Director, 2009 – 2011

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