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Christopher F. Morales

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Morales Law Firm
1388 Sutter Street, Suite 805
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-552-1215
Fax: 415-674-7643
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2022
Licensed in California Since: 1991
Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense: White Collar
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
  • Free Consultation
Attorney Profile

Mr. Morales has been in private practice since 1991 and has successfully defended thousands of clients accused of breaking the law. He practices criminal defense in all counties in California, handling misdemeanors, felonies and juvenile cases. Throughout his years as a criminal defense attorney Mr. Morales has been interviewed numerous times on television while defending high-profile clients and was an expert commentator for Fox News on the Scott Peterson murder trial. He also has been quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as the San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers. Chris is an aggressive trial attorney who tries all types of cases including: DUI's, sexual assault, child molestation, three strikes cases, possession of drugs, assault, murder cases and all types of white collar crimes. He handles the toughest cases and has won the respect of judges and prosecutors alike for his tenacious and intelligent defense of his clients. Chris is a native San Franciscan and graduated from U.C. Berkeley and Santa Clara University Law School before starting his private law practice. While in law school Chris realized that he had a passion and talent for battling the police and prosecutors in criminal cases. This is the reason why he only handles criminal cases. 

White Papers

  • Criminal Anti Trust Cases - Although the term “antitrust law” may sound complex, it’s simply a way of referring to the body of law that prohibits anti-competitive behavior (a monopoly) or unfair business practices. The purpose of these laws it to promote competition and protect consumers.
  • Sentencing Frequently Asked Questions - 1) Who determines what punishment a convicted defendant receives? 2)Where can the prescribed punishment for crimes be found? 3)Do people convicted of the same or similar crimes receive similar sentences? 4)What factors do judges use in determining sentences? 5)Can my attorney ask for an alternative sentence?
  • Common Defenses in Criminal Cases - To convict a criminal defendant, the prosecutor must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As part of this process, the defendant is given an opportunity to present a defense. There are many types of defenses, from "I didn't do it" to "I did it, but I was too drunk to know what I was doing." Here are some of the most common defenses that criminal defendants can raise.
  • Criminal Procedure FAQ - 1) What's the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? 2) What is the "presumption of innocence"? 3) How can I tell from reading a criminal statute whether I'm guilty of the crime it defines? 4) What standard is used in criminal trials to prove a defendant is guilty? 5 )If I'm accused of a crime, am I guaranteed a trial by a jury? 6) Why would an innocent defendant choose not to testify? 7) What happens if a defendant is judged "incompetent to stand trial"?
  • The Basics of Insider Trading - Insider trading is often mentioned in the news, but many people want to know what “Insider Trading” exactly means, and when such conduct rises to the level of a criminal act. In today’s tumultuous economy, much focus is being placed on the perceived wrongdoings of corporate America. For this reason, insider trading is one hot area of federal litigation. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are willing to prosecute even if the amount of profit is relatively small1. The following article outlines the fundamentals of the crime of insider trading and explains the different theories used in federal court.
  • Search and Seizure Frequently Asked Questions - 1)When is a police investigation considered a search? 2)How private is your house or other dwelling? 3)What is a search warrant and what does it take to get one? 4)What are the police allowed to do after they obtain a search warrant? 5)Do the police always need a warrant to conduct a search? 6)Can my roommate -- or my landlord -- give the police permission to search my apartment? 7)If a police officer pulls me over, can she frisk me or search my car? 8)If my car is towed and impounded, can the police search it?
  • Limiting the Definition of "Insider Trading" (2014) - In a closely watched criminal case originating in the Southern District of New York, USA v. Newman, No. 13-1917-CR, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will decide whether the trial judge erred by failing to instruct the jury to only find the defendants guilty if they knew that the tipper received a personal benefit for divulging inside information. In denying the defense request for this instruction, the trial court relied on SEC v. Obus, 693 F.3d 276 (2d Cir.2012), a civil case in which the Second Circuit ruled that the SEC was not required to prove that the tippee was aware that the tipper received a benefit. The defense argument relied on the landmark case Dirks v. SEC, 463 U.S. 646(1983). In Dirks, a criminal case, the court stated “a purpose of the securities laws was to eliminate use of inside information for personal advantage. Thus, the test is whether the insider personally will benefit, directly or indirectly, from his disclosure. Absent some personal gain, there has been no breach of duty to stockholders.” (Id. at 662.)
  • Common DUI and DWI Defenses - The penalties for DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenses can be very serious. If you've been arrested for DUI or DWI and want to fight the charge, you should understand all of the defenses that may be available to you. By mounting a viable defense, you might help persuade the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges, prevent the suspension of your driver's license, or even get an acquittal after a trial.
  • 8 Ways to Cleanup Your Criminal Record - Criminal records can prevent you from getting a good job, obtaining U.S. citizenship, obtaining a state issued professional or commercial licenses, enlisting in the military and most importantly having peace of mind. With the age of the internet and easy access to criminal records, even your future in-laws can find out about your past criminal conviction.
  • Does Self-Representation in a Criminal Case Ever Make Sense? - Criminal defendants might represent themselves in a few situations. There are many reasons why some criminal defendants may wish to represent themselves in a criminal trial. Although it is usually wise to get a defense lawyer, sometimes it's not necessary. The key to deciding if you need a lawyer is to look at the punishment you'll face if convicted. The harsher the potential punishment, the more important it is that you are represented by counsel.

Certificates and Credentials

About Christopher F. Morales

First Admitted: 1991, California

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity

  • PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE -Admitted to the State Bar of California in1991, practicing criminal defense exclusively since 1991 with offices in Redwood City and San Francisco. I handle felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases. -Certified as a Specialist in Criminal Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, 2002 -I have tried over seventy-five criminal jury trials, including several high profile cases: -Bilitnikoff Murder Case: The daughter of Hall of Fame football player Fred Biitnikoff was killed by her boyfriend. -22nd & Bryant Street Gang-Rape Case: Largest rape case in San Francisco history, seven members of a gang were accused of raping two girls. -Fernando Murillo Attempted Murder Case: This juvenile was featured on America’s Most Wanted television show; he escaped from a juvenile detention center and went on a three-month shooting and car-jacking crime spree -I have also handled about ten criminal appeals COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES -Member of the Board of Directors, Huckleberry Youth Programs, this organization provides services to homeless youth and to juveniles in the criminal justice system.2008-2010 -Member of the Board of Directors, San Mateo County Bar Association. 2006-2009. -Chairman, Private Defender Committee, San Mateo Private Defender Panel in 2005, member of committee 2004-2006. -Arbitrator for the Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Committees for the Bar Association of San Mateo County and the State Bar of California. -Member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Lawyer’s Club, 2003-2005. I chaired the San Francisco Legendary Trials Committee. -Member of the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, appointed by San Francisco Board of Supervisor President, Matt Gonzalez in March 2003. We distribute over three million dollars to programs that serve youth who are in the criminal justice system. I was the representative of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on this committee. -Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2001-2002. -Member of State Bar of California, Conference of Delegates, Executive Resolutions Committee 2001, appointed by the Board of Governors, State Bar of California. We evaluated all resolutions that were submitted to the Conference of Delegates for debate. -President of the Board of Directors 1998-1999 of La Raza Centro Legal, a non-profit law firm that represents low-income, Spanish-speaking clients in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. During my term I oversaw the final stages of unionization of our staff, the hiring of a new executive director and a new accountant. Also during my tenure the agency became financially stable after several lean years. -Founding member of the La Raza Lawyers Association of San Mateo County, President 1995-1996 -Member of the Board of Directors of the Barrister’s Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco1994-1995. -Member of the Bar Association of San Francisco resolutions committee in 1994 and 1995, author of a resolution that passed without debate at the Conference of Delegates.

Educational Background

  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Juris Doctor , 1990
  • University of California, Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts, Earth Science, 1984


  • Board Certified Specialist, State Bar of California, 2003
  • Nation's Top One Percent , National Association of Distinguished Counsel, 2015
  • A+ Rating by the Better Business Bureau, 2010
  • Best Attorney of America , Rue Ratings , 2015
  • The National Trial Lawyers is a professiohnal organization of America's top trial lawyers. , The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyer, 2014

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Certified Legal Specialist in Criminal Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, 2003

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Lectured attorneys on avoiding negative immigration consequences of criminal convictions., Lecturer, Bar Association Of San Francisco, 2008


Industry Groups

  • Corporate
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Office Location for Christopher F. Morales

1388 Sutter Street
Suite 805
San Francisco, CA 94109

Last Updated: 1/27/2022

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