Orange County's Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal Attorneys in Orange County, California

Coffey & Coffey is an experienced Orange County criminal defense law firm located in Newport Beach, California. The firm handles cases throughout Newport Beach, Fullerton, Westminster, Santa Ana and Laguna Niguel.

The aggressive Orange County criminal defense attorneys and lawyers at Coffey & Coffey understand the time and attention it takes to successfully represent a client who has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense. The areas of practice our attorneys handle include, but are not limited to, the following:

Orange County Criminal Defense

An Orange County criminal defense attorney has an important job. Although the American justice system is built to offer protection to individuals facing criminal charges, there are still ample opportunities for a person’s rights to be violated at any point in the criminal process – through the arrest, investigation and trial. By representing clients arrested for and charged with DUI, assault, domestic violence or other crimes in Southern California, the Orange County criminal defense lawyers and attorneys at Coffey & Coffey fight to protect the rights of Americans throughout the country.

The experienced attorneys at Coffey & Coffey understand that an individual facing a conviction is facing a myriad of life-altering penalties: fines, jail time, state prison sentence, probation, community service, and sex offender registration. The effects a criminal conviction can have upon a person’s future are also severe. Alienation from friends and family, a damaged reputation and the inability to find employment are all possible effects an individual may face.  As such, the Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Coffey & Coffey take the necessary time and care with each case they take on in order to provide the best legal service possible.

When to Involve an Orange County Defense Attorney

The instant an individual understands that he or she may be facing criminal charges is the moment to consult an Orange County criminal defense attorney. This may be after an arrest, accusation or when served a warrant to search property. Even when contacted for police questioning, it is possible that a person may be a suspect in a police investigation. An attorney can review the particular situation an individual is facing and provide legal counsel accordingly.

Contact an Orange County criminal lawyer at Coffey & Coffey for a free case evaluation regarding your criminal charges. We may be able to get started with a down payment of $200, and we have payment plans available. Our legal services are affordable without sacrificing quality. When you work with an Orange County criminal lawyer at our firm, you will be working with an individual who will fight for you. Our firm handles cases throughout all of Orange County, including Newport Beach, Westminster, Fullerton, Santa Ana and Laguna Niguel.

Arrested in Orange County, California? Contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at Coffey & Coffey immediately!


• Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The following items are from the Wheaton Police Department:


Police arrested two men for marijuana possession near the intersection of Roosevelt Road and West Street around midnight Wednesday, Jan. 4. Jesus Favela, 22, of West Chicago was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Aldo Marrufo, 24 of Aurora was arrested for possession of marijuana. Both men were booked at the Wheaton Police Department and released later that morning.

Police issued a local ordinance citation to a 20-year-old Winfield woman for possession of drug paraphernalia Tuesday, Jan. 3. She was cited around 1:30 a.m. near the intersection of Geneva Road and Gary Avenue and released on the scene.

Police issued a local ordinance citation to a 20-year-old Wheaton man for illegal marijuana possession Thursday, Dec. 29. He was cited in the 1100 block of Bunker Hill Court and released on the scene, police said.

Police issued local ordinance citations for possession of drug paraphernalia to two men, 30 and 19, who were driving near the intersection of Lakeside Drive and Woodlawn Street Tuesday, Dec. 27. They were released on the scene.


Police arrested a Hoffman Estates man for driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal transportation of liquor Sunday, Jan. 1. Alvaro Munoz, 37, drove a maroon 2002 Dodge Caravan near the intersection of Heritage Lakes Road and Monticello Street around 8:30 a.m. when police stopped him. He was booked at the Wheaton Police Department and released later that morning.

Police arrested a Naperville man for driving under the influence of alcohol, a traffic sign violation, no valid registration and theft Wednesday, Dec. 28. Colin Hartnett, 22, drove a black 2009 Toyota Corolla near the intersection of College Avenue and President Street around 1 a.m. when police stopped him. He was booked at the Wheaton Police Department and released later that morning.

Police arrested Lauren Theiss, 24, of the 1700 block of Stonebridge Court in Wheaton for DUI of alcohol, improper lane usage and speeding Wednesday, Dec. 28. Theiss drove a blue 2008 Ford Escape near the intersection of Butterfield and West Loop roads around 1 a.m. when police stopped her. She was booked at the Wheaton Police Department and released later that morning.


Police arrested a West Chicago woman for driving on a suspended license, operating an uninsured vehicle and failure to signal Tuesday, Dec. 27. Carla McKinney, 41, drove a beige 2001 Chevy Malibu in the 1500 block of Roosevelt Road around 8 a.m. when police stopped her.


Police arrested a 20-year-old Glen Ellyn woman for retail theft in the 400 block of County Farm Road Thursday, Dec. 29. She was cited around 8 p.m. and released on the scene, police said.

Police arrested a 58-year-old Wood Dale woman for retail theft at Rice Lake Square around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29.

Category: Criminal
• Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A Corvallis man who crashed his car near the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse faces DUI charges after police say tests pegged his blood alcohol level at .20.

The legal DUI limit is .08.

Dylan R. Beorchia, 23, of Corvallis faces the charges after Newport police responded to a report of a crash on Lighthouse Drive between the Yaquina Head Interpretive Center and the entrance to the lighthouse early Tuesday morning.

Officers responded to the single-vehicle crash at 1:47 a.m. No one was injured.

Beorchia, identified by police as the driver, showed signs of impairment and later submitted to a breath test at the Lincoln County Jail. The results were more than double the legal limit, police said.

The vehicle was significantly damaged, police said. There was also some damage to landscaping at the crash site.

In addition to impairment, police suspect speed was a factor in the crash.

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012,0,4850878.story

A Howard County judge threw out charges Thursday that an Ellicott City woman was DUI of alcohol, ruling that they were linked to an illegal quota indicating that officers had to cite two to four motorists every hour.

It was unclear how many other county cases might be affected by the ruling, which involved federally funded initiatives that targeted drunk and aggressive drivers from January through April of 2011. At least two other similar cases are pending before the same judge.

Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon, in an unusual criticism, called District Judge Sue-Ellen Hantman’s decision a “bad ruling” and said an appeal is likely. The police chief said a memo distributed to officers contained, “in retrospect, not the best wording,” and conceded that he “could see how it could be misinterpreted.”

Motorists pulled over for traffic stops routinely suspect they’re victims of a quota system designed to enhance revenue or build an officer’s resume, or both. That perception has been stoked occasionally by leaked memos or emails that supervisors send out to implore officers to work hard.

But this is the first time lawyers and police can recall that a judge threw out a criminal case based on such a missive. The driver’s attorney, Mark Muffoletto, subpoenaed police memos that served as the crux of his case.

Gary McLhinney, an executive with the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents officers in Howard County, said the issue indicates that “there is a problem with what leadership is doing. The rank and file didn’t do anything wrong. But they’re suffering the consequences.”

McLhinney, a former Baltimore police officer and former chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said, “It introduces an unwanted dynamic in every traffic stop. Citizens are not only upset that they get stopped, but now they can question the motives. People of Howard County need to have the confidence that the police are doing the right things for the right reasons.”

In 2006, then-Howard County Police Chief Wayne Livesay canceled a short-lived policy that some officers perceived as a quota. It called on them to make three traffic stops a shift and an average 11/2 drunken-driving arrests each month.

Thursday’s case stems from the April 2011 stop of Katie Majorie Quackenbush, 22. Officer Erika Heavner stopped her 2001 Honda on suspicion of driving 38 mph on Ellicott City’s Main Street, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

McMahon said the woman’s blood alcohol content registered 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit, and she was arrested. The officer was working what is called a “saturation patrol” that used overtime funded by a federal grant to target drunk and aggressive drivers.

The police chief said that “we have more deaths in traffic incidents than we do in violent crime” and that every officer is pushing to “do everything we can to stop intoxicated drivers and get them off the road.”

Hantman ruled from the bench and did not issue a written opinion. She is a former prosecutor in Howard County, once served as a Democratic Central Committee chairwoman and in 1994 contemplated a run for Howard County executive.

Hantman did not return calls to her chamber seeking comment. Both the defense attorney, Muffoletto, who was in the courtroom, and the police chief, McMahon, confirmed her decision. Electronic court records show that the defendant, Quackenbush, was acquitted of all charges on Thursday. Court records show she faces another speeding case in Howard County, accused of driving 71 mph on U.S. 29.

The quota issue arose from the federal grant, which included ways to measure performance. McMahon said the grant “mandated that an average of 2-4 citations must be written per hour on each of these details by each officer or future funding may be withheld.”

McMahon said an employee who administers the traffic safety program repeated that wording on an internal memorandum distributed to officers on the detail. He said there was no intention to set quotas, and noted they are illegal when linked to employee evaluations — by penalizing officers for failing to meet a benchmark, for example.

But McMahon acknowledged that supervisors questioned the memo and it was revised.

“I know there was some concern about the wording,” McMahon said. “It was a guideline given to the officers. Grants have expectations, and this was a way of explaining that to the officers. … The goal clearly wasn’t to set out for X number of citations. It was a well-intended effort to underscore the importance to be active on these details.

“All funding is scarce. The public has an expectation that we make good use of these funds. … I acknowledge how this could be misinterpreted. That’s why we don’t use it anymore.”

McMahon said it was unfair to judge traffic enforcement efforts by a single instance.

But December 2010 stat sheet obtained by The Baltimore Sun includes a handwritten notation advising county officers of “a prize” for boosting traffic stops 60 percent. This memo was not used in the court case.

Muffoletto said the practice is more widespread than the traffic stops made under one DUI grant. He called the ruling from a former prosecutor “courageous” and disputed the police chief’s explanation.

“It is a quota,” he said. “Just because they were caught … doesn’t change the fact that it was a quota.”

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012

Thirty-nine people were arrested for  DUI in Delaware on New Year’s Eve weekend, according to preliminary reports from state and local law enforcement agencies and the Office of Highway Safety.

Officers conducted sobriety checkpoints in Rehoboth Beach, Clayton, Wilmington, and Newport, along with more than 100 DUI saturation patrols statewide.

In addition to the 39 DUI arrests, officers issued 10 citations for underage drinking violations, apprehended seven wanted individuals, made 23 drug arrests, made four felony arrests, and issued 23 seat belt citations, four child restraint citations, six cellphone citations and 49 citations for various other criminal violations.

According to OHS Community Relations Officer Alison Kirk, New Year’s Eve also signaled the end of the 2011 Checkpoint Strikeforce and Safe Family Holiday campaigns. With the 39 DUI arrests from New Year’s Eve weekend, that brings the total number of people arrested for DUI as part of the two campaigns to 490. Kirk noted that there were 96 fewer DUI arrests made as part of the two 2011 campaigns combined than in 2010.

“Success of a campaign can be measured in many ways,” Kirk said. “The decrease in DUI arrests may indicate that more people are using designated drivers or moving the party to home because they are taking notice of the high visibility enforcement presence and that we mean what we say.”

Kirk also pointed out that alcohol-related fatalities made up 31 percent of the total motor vehicle crash fatalities for 2011, a decrease from 39 percent in 2010.

In addition to the 490 DUI arrests in 2011 during the Checkpoint Strikeforce and Safe Family Holiday campaigns, police issued: 97 citations for underage drinking violations, apprehended 302 wanted individuals, recovered 15 stolen vehicles and 11 weapons, made 251 drug arrests, arrested 157 persons for felonies, issued 396 citations for seat belt violations, 77 for child restraint violations, and 4,597 for other traffic violations.

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012

A mistrial was declared Thursday after a jury deadlocked in the case of a former Redskins player accused of felony  DUI in Fairfax County.

Rickie Harris, 68, an ex-kick returner, could be tried again for allegedly driving under the influence as he returned to his then-Fairfax home from an autograph-signing event in December 2010. He has been convicted of drunk driving two times in the past five years.

The trial generated interest because Harris’s attorney, John Keats, argued that his client’s erratic driving could be blamed on his dementia, which Harris believes may have been induced by hits he took in the NFL. The long-term impacts of on-field concussions are one of the hottest issues in sports today.

“It is anything but a cut and dry DUI case,” Keats said in his opening statement.

Commonwealth Attorney Laura Riddlebarger argued Harris’s mental state was beside the point.

“Dementia does not mean he is not responsible for his actions,” Riddlebarger said in her closing argument. “He chose to drink. He chose to get into the car and he chose to drive.”

Family members testified recent years had been hard for Harris, who played for the Redskins from 1965 to 1970. He was working as a security guard and had started drinking again after a being sober for 17 years. His memory was fading and he could no longer handle his finances.

His ex-wife, Pamela Harris, testified that Rickie Harris took his young granddaughter to the mall one day, but couldn’t find his car when he was leaving. Harris and the girl had to be driven home by a police officer.

“I’m concerned even when he goes out and takes a walk,” Pamela Harris said.

At the beginning of the trial, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Devine asked Harris a simple question: How old are you?

Harris scrunched up his face as if doing a hard math problem, stammered and then offered up the wrong answer — 67.

Pyschologist Anita Boss testified that Harris suffers from dementia and it could have caused him mental distress that would have led him to weave his car over the center line on Route 50 in Chantilly the night he was arrested.

She also said Harris told her he had discussed his memory problems with old football buddies, who had similar issues. They had a term for it.

“He and his old friends would say they suffered from ‘Can’t remember [expletive]’’ Boss testified. “They called it CRS.”

Harris played in an era of thinly padded helmets and at a bruising position. Nearly two dozen ex-NFL players sued the league last month claiming they have long-term neurological problems as a result of concussions suffered during their playing days. Autopsies on the brains of some ex-players have found they suffered from an Alzheimer’s-like disease, called CTE. It is believed to be caused by repetitive concussions.

Fairfax County police officer Chris Walczyk testified he pulled Harris over around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2010 because Harris repeatedly crossed the center line and was speeding on Route 50 in Chantilly.

Walczyk said Harris’s car smelled of alcohol, the driver’s eyes were bloodshot and Harris was unsteady on his feet when he got out of the vehicle.

Harris initially told the officer he had two glasses of champagne that night, but later said it was two glasses of beer, Walczyk testified.

Harris was arrested and taken to the Fairfax County jail, where a breath test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal DUI limit in Virginia, according to testimony.

Judge Devine instructed the jury the dementia testimony could only be considered in regards to the manner in which Harris drove on the night in question, not his guilt or innocence on the drunk driving charge.

A juror interviewed after the trial said the jury was 11-to-1 in favor of convicting Harris. The woman, who declined to give her name, said she held out for a not guilty verdict because the defense raised doubts about the breath test machine used in Harris’s case.

A defense expert testified the results of the breath test were suspect because the machine was not recalibrated after some routine maintenance. A prosecution expert testified she thought the machine was in working order.

“They couldn’t lock down whether his blood alcohol level was .08 when he was stopped,” the juror said.

Prosecutors will now have to decide whether to mount another trial against Harris. The defense has asked the charge be dismissed.

If Harris is tried again and convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail because it would be his third drunk-driving offense in five years.

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012

Aggravated DUI

Mark E. Semro, 48, 696 S. Mitchell, was arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated driving with a revoked license after police received a call about a suspect taking a vehicle without permission from the Mitchell address at 1:25 a.m. Jan. 3. While speaking with the victim, Semro returned home and officers determined he was under the influence of alcohol. He was taken to DuPage County Jail.

DUI Arrest

Sean Waiffird, 18, 362 E. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst, was arrested and charged with DUI after police pulled over his white Pontiac Grand Am for no rear plate light and obstructed view at Fairview and St. Charles at 4:55 a.m. Jan. 4. Police discovered he also had a suspended drivers license. Drug paraphernalia was found in his pants pocket, and a plastic jar with about .2 grams of suspect cannabis was found in the center console. He was released on bond.

Dennis Pedote, 42, 407 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, was arrested and charged with DUI, driving without insurance and driving with a revoked license after police got a call from a witness who was following a suspected a drunk driver  south on York Road. Police pulled over Pedote’s red Ford Windstar at Roosevelt and Harger roads. His vehicle was towed for forfeiture and he was taken to DuPage County Jail.

Warrant Arrests

Tyler R. Nelson, 19, 299 River Glen, Elmhurst, was arrested during an investigation of a domestic disturbance at 11:44 p.m. Dec. 30, at 299 River Glen. Police discovered he had a warrant out of DuPage County for failure to appear. He was unable to post bond and was taken to DuPage County Jail.

Eugeniusz Modzelewski, 61, 3051 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, was arrested where he works as a security guard at 888 Larch St. at 12:20 a.m. Jan. 1 after police determined he had outstanding warrants out of McHenry County for failure to appear on battery and aggravated battery charges. He was taken to DuPage County Jail.

Christopher A. Wilson, 31, 696 S. Mitchell Ave., Elmhurst, was arrested after police received a call for a man drinking at the train depot, 128 W. First St., at 4:36 p.m. Jan. 2. Police found Wilson inside the station with open and unopened cans of beer. He also was found to have a warrant out of DuPage County. He was released on bond.

Disorderly Conduct

Fivos Antonopoulos, 28, 612 W. Lake St., Elmhurst, was arrested at Elmhurst Hospital, 155 E. Brush Hill Road, at 5:58 a.m. Jan. 1. Police received a call for an unruly subject. They met Antonopoulos in the waiting area of the emergency room; he was being guarded by three security guards who told police he was getting in the way of doctors and nurses who were attending to his girlfriend in the emergency room. They said he was loud, belligerent and using profanity, and he refused to leave the hospital. He was charged with disorderly conduct, drunkenness and resisting an officer, and was released on bond.

Patch reports on law enforcement activity using information provided by official agencies. Persons charged with a crime or issued a citation for violation of a local ordinance are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you or a family member are charged with a crime or cited for a violation and the charge or citation is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to contact and we will do follow-up reporting on the case. 

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012

While few arrests for driving under the influence were made during New Year’s celebrations, one report caught the attention of law enforcement because it was so out of the ordinary.

In Burleigh County, there were only two DUI on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Sgt. Trent Wangen said. However, one of them was an unusual case in that the person who got the DUI was a 14-year-old girl.

Major Les Witkowski said the 14-year-old girl was driving eastbound in the 5300 block of Highway 10 when she drove into the westbound lane. A vehicle traveling west saw the girl’s vehicle and stopped, and the girl ran head-on into the other vehicle, Witkowski said. No one was injured, but the crash did approximately $5,000 damage to each vehicle.

Witkowski said the 14-year-old girl was cited with driving under the influence and minor in possession. A 12-year-old girl who was a passenger in her car had to be taken to the hospital due to her intoxication level and also was cited with minor in possession. Both girls were released to parents, Witkowski said.

He said he can’t remember a 14-year-old licensed driver getting a DUI in his 30 years of law enforcement, though he noted that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. However, he said it is rare for someone that young to be caught driving drunk.

Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Buschena said he can’t say his department has never arrested someone that young for DUI but said it is “way outside the norm.” According to department statistics, Bismarck police arrested eight juveniles for DUI in all of 2010.

The department’s overall DUI arrests were low through New Year’s Eve festivities. Bismarck police made four DUI arrests from noon on Dec. 31 to noon on Jan. 1, Buschena said.

“One is too many, but that does seem like a low number,” he said.

Mandan Police Sgt. Jay Gruebele said his department’s DUI arrests were “nothing out of the ordinary” on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman said his department made one DUI arrest.

Category: Criminal
• Thursday, January 05th, 2012

All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera will avoid jail time after pleading no contest Thursday to a DUI charge.

Cabrera was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $1,436.23 in a fine and court costs arising from a Feb. 16, 2011, traffic stop in Fort Pierce, Fla. Cabrera earned $20 million last year, so his penalty is equivalent to $3.59 for someone making $50,000 per annum.


See which baseball players have been arrested this season for allegedly drinking and driving.

The settlement also includes a six-month driver’s license suspension, 10-day vehicle immobilization and 50 hours of community service. A second charge of resisting arrest was dropped.

Cabrera’s, DUI attorney said in a statement to that Cabrera asked him to settle the case because he “wants this behind him before the start of spring training.”

He  acknowledged that he “proceeded slowly” with initial trial preparations, so that the court proceedings would take place after the 2011 season, in which Cabrera’s Detroit Tigers qualified for the postseason.

The decision to settle,  said, came only after the St. Lucie County prosecutor’s office gave notice Thursday that it had prepared an additional 100 pages of discovery materials.

He  believed the new information put the Jan. 9 trial date in jeopardy. With Tigers set to report to spring training next month, Kessler said, “Miguel Cabrera is determined not to allow this to go on any further.”

Cabrera, 28, apparently succeeded in minimizing distractions associated with the case. He won the American League batting title with a .344 average, led the Tigers to the American League Championship Series and finished fifth in MVP voting last year.

Major League Baseball has not publicly disciplined Cabrera regarding the incident. However, MLB and the players’ union jointly established a “multifaceted, professionally administered program” to treat his alcohol addiction in the days following his arrest. The program included a sober companion, former major-league outfielder Raul Gonzalez, who is expected to return this year in the same role.

Cabrera’s treatment plan through MLB and the union stipulated that “any future alcohol-related incidents could involve more serious consequences.”

Category: Criminal
• Sunday, January 01st, 2012

Two DUI checkpoints posted at a Rohnert Park intersection Friday night led to dozens of arrests, according to Petaluma police who are part of a multi-agency anti-DUI task force throughout Sonoma County.

Police Lt. Jeff Taylor confirmed Friday that there would be DUI checkpoints in place on Saturday night, New Years Eve.

The Friday night checkpoints were held in the eastbound and westbound directions of Rohnert Park Expressway near State Farm Drive from 6 p.m. Friday night to 1 a.m. today, according to police working with the “Avoid the 13″ Sonoma County DUI Task Force.

A total of 2,407 vehicles passed through the two checkpoints by the end of the night. Of those drivers, 39 were cited and arrested on suspicion of various violations including one arrest for driving under the influence, 12 for driving with a suspended license, 15 for driving without a license and one for suspected cocaine possession, according to police.

Category: Criminal
• Sunday, January 01st, 2012

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports that the 2011/2012 New Years Eve celebration in the casino core area of Stateline, Nevada went well, with only a few problem incidents occurring.

The celebratory crowd seemed smaller than in past years; estimated at approximately 30,000 persons. U.S. Highway 50 was closed to vehicle traffic at about 10:30 p.m. to allow celebrants to flow into the roadway as they celebrated the coming of the New Year. The highway was reopened at approximately 12:30 a.m. after the crowd peacefully moved off the street and back into the casinos or other locales.

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10 people were arrested for DUI in the downtown casino core area of Stateline, Nevada during the evening. Charges included: Battery, Domestic Battery, Battery on a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct, Trespassing, Minor Consuming Alcohol and Civil Protective Custody.

1 person was arrested outside the casino core area for DUI.

The Minden-Gardnerville area of Douglas County reported a similarly quiet evening;

2 people arrested for DUI

1 person arrested for Theft.

Category: Criminal
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