777 High Street, Suite 300

Eugene Oregon 

(541) 484-9292

criminal-defense-luvaas-cobb-attorneys-eugene-oregon.jpgCriminal Defense

When you are accused of a crime, you need a strong and experienced criminal defense attorney to defend and protect you.


Anyone accused of a crime needs and deserves representation from an attorney who knows the legal issues, knows their way around the courtroom, and ultimately, makes sure they knows what is at stake for you and what you want to happen in your case.

A criminal case usually begins with an arrest or citation by a police officer, but in federal cases it can begin even earlier, with a proactive investigation and “target letter” from the FBI. An arrest for a crime does not always result in the person being held in jail; the officer may “book and release” you, or hand you a citation with the alleged crimes and a court appearance date written on it.

Once the officer cites you for a crime, the district attorney decides whether to charge you with that crime, a different crime, or not to charge you at all. Your arraignment is usually where you first learn what charges the state will go forward with. Depending on the circumstances, charges can sometimes be amended later. In some cases, local law enforcement agents will work with federal agents, and the case may be dismissed at the state level and be charged federally instead.

As a defendant in a criminal case, you have many rights that can be vindicated. Some may have already been implicated, such as your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the state and federal constitutions (and both apply in state proceedings). An experienced defense attorney can advise you of these rights and can sometimes gain victories– such as pretrial dismissal of the case– by convincing the court that the state violated certain of your rights.

Only you can decide whether to take your case all the way to trial. A skilled defense attorney can advise you on all the variables in making that decision. It is a decision that takes into account not only the likely outcome of the case, but also, what is at stake for you in your personal life. Because you will need to make an informed decision, you can benefit from a lawyer who is committed to answering all your questions with clarity. You will benefit from a lawyer who listens to you. Often, the facts you give your attorney can be extremely helpful at sentencing, as a compassionate and experienced defense attorney can educate the judge on who you are and what would be the right outcome in your case.

Whether to take your criminal case to trial is your choice alone. In most cases the prosecutor will present the defense with a plea offer, and your attorney will set about negotiating. Certain cases involve issues that should be preserved for appeal– that is, legal arguments your attorney makes that, even if the trial judge disagrees, you can still argue in the higher courts by filing an appeal. In those cases, your attorney can try to negotiate for (among other things) the right to appeal those issues that you argued and lost. Normally a guilty plea waves the right to appeal most issues in the case; but a conditional plea can preserve appeal rights if it is done properly.

If you lose your trial or lose certain legal arguments such as motions to dismiss or to suppress evidence, you can appeal your case, provided you did not waive your right to appeal and you file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the judgment. (Timely notices of appeal can later be amended to add restitution judgments.) For municipal cases, the way an appeal is handled depends on whether the municipal court is one of the listed courts of record. A knowledgeable trial attorney can preserve the record for appeal by making the correct arguments so that the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court will be able to consider the issues.

Our firm can represent you through all stages of a criminal case in state or federal court. Attorney Laura Coffin has significant experience in trial practice, appellate practice, and federal practice, all in the field of criminal law. She enjoys getting to know each client and protecting her clients’ interests, their families’ interests, their freedom, and their futures during this crucial time in their lives.


Oregon’s drunk-driving statute is called “driving under the influence of intoxicants,”or DUII.

By statute, the prosecution may prove guilt of DUII in either of two ways: By proving that the person had a blood-alcohol content of at least .08 at the time of driving, or by proving that the person was “under the influence” of the alleged intoxicant– that is, affected in one or more faculty to a noticeable or perceptible degree.

DUII offenses are misdemeanors unless they are the person’s third DUII or equivalent offense within 10 years. They cannot be expunged.

DUII cases can be highly technical and involve frequent legal issues. These run a broad gambit of constitutional confrontation rights, hearsay statutes, expert witness qualifications, scientific evidence, reasonable suspicion, self-incrimination, the constitutional implications of implied consent, relevance, unlawful fees, and more. What is more, DUII cases almost always involve a stop and a search. Because of that, your attorney will want to analyze whether officers violated your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the state and federal constitutions.

DUII arrests also implicate your license to drive. The DMV follows administrative rules for suspending your license if you fail or refuse a breath test. This is a process that happens separately from the criminal process. If you act soon enough, you can request a hearing before the DMV where you can argue that your license should not be administratively suspended.

DUII diversion: In general, a diversion is similar to a probation at the end of which, if everything goes right, the charges can get dismissed. DUII diversions in Oregon are controlled by statute.

A person may participate in a DUII diversion if certain eligibility requirements apply. The classic diversion participant is someone for whom this is their first DUII charge and no one was injured during the driving incident. But the statutory requirements go beyond that scenario, and you can participate in diversion if you had a prior diversion more than 15 years ago and you meet the other statutory requirements. Judges can sometimes deny diversion eligibility for public safety reasons (for example, if the person’s BAC was very high), but those decisions are appealable. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you cannot participate in a DUII diversion.

To participate in DUII diversion, you must first plead guilty to DUII, but the trial court does not enter a judgment of conviction; instead the judge saves your guilty plea in case you fail diversion. The diversion program entails taking classes, paying fines, refraining from intoxicant use, and some other requirements for one year.