How Do You Pick a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Portland, Oregon? - Arnold Law in Eugene, Oregon – Powerful Advocacy. Proven Results.

How Do You Pick a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Portland, Oregon?

Of all the legal practice areas, finding a competent attorney who specializes in federal criminal defense is one of the most difficult. When you are interviewing a potential Portland criminal defense attorney for a federal case, you need to be prepared to ask the right questions. The answers should be easy to find on the phone, in person, or on the law firm’s website.

Oregon Federal Criminal Defense is Unique

Federal court in Portland and elsewhere in Oregon (Eugene and Medford) is unique and difficult. These cases involve complex issues and facts, a law and procedure very foreign from what an Oregon criminal defense attorney sees in state court, and completely different players (judges, special agents, U.S. attorneys, etc.).


The first time a Portland criminal defense attorney handles a federal case, they had better associate with experienced federal counsel. The pitfalls are dangerous for clients.

This leads to the first question: Does your law firm have criminal defense experience in federal court? Can you give me some case examples?

Any lawyer with experience in federal court should be able to discuss several examples involving multiple types of federal charges. For instance, attorneys at Arnold Law have handled federal cases such as white collar crime, social security fraud, mortgage fraud, firearms, methamphetamine delivery, cocaine exporting, MMDA importing, federal tax fraud, etc.

Jury Trial Experience in Federal Court

While jury trial experience in state court is very valuable and easy to come by, Oregon federal court jury trials are rare. The caseload is also small in the District of Oregon to begin with.  Also, the U.S. Attorneys get to cherry pick their cases, so they only take ones they feel are sure bets. If they are not, they send them to the state court prosecutor. This leaves the small caseload with the rare falsely accused person and trials with high risk and often little return.

Given that environment, ask any potential Portland criminal defense attorney: Have members of your firm tried any cases to federal juries, either civilly or criminally?

General Jury Trial Experience in Oregon

The other side of the coin is the value of state court jury trial experience.  Those that work exclusively in federal court may have rustier trial skills than their state court counterparts (but keep in mind the rules of evidence and voir dire are different). This means that jury trial experience for lead counsel on your case can be described in terms of war stories.

Ask the potential federal criminal lawyer: How many jury trials have you tried? How many jury trials have you had in the last year or two?  Tools must be kept sharp and there’s no better wet stone than the courtroom.

This is where many with exclusive federal experience fail to deliver to clients.

[Pioneer Federal Courthouse Where 9th Cir. Ct. of Appeals Meets]

[Pioneer Federal Courthouse Where 9th Cir. Ct. of Appeals Meets]

Law Firm Resources/Infrastructure

Complex litigation requires complex law firm infrastructure.  You need a legal team to handle the voluminous discovery, complicated federal motion practice, and negotiations.

So, you must ask the potential federal court criminal lawyers: Who will be working on the case? Do you have a team?  If it’s a sole practitioner, do they have support staff? Do they have time for your case? How many lawyers does a case like this require?

Assisting Federal Criminal Defense Clients in Portland, Oregon

The attorneys at Arnold Law are smack dab in the middle of the District of Oregon. There are three federal courthouses: one in Portland, one in Medford, and Eugene in the middle.  Call 541-338-9111 for more information or fill out the form to the left or right.


Interpreters Available
  • Representative Cases

    Sodomy I (Jessica’s Law) – 3 Measure 11 counts dismissed after innocence proved

    This was a Jessica’s Law case where, if convicted, Client was facing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 to 75 years in prison. Client passed a polygraph in the case and his attorneys Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey conducted an investigation illustrating his actual innocence.

    Michael Arnold, stated, “Our client is thankful for his release and dismissal of these terrible false accusations against him. He was a wrongfully accused innocent man who had three months of his life stolen from him due to lies and an incomplete investigation. Arnold Law’s investigation showed a lack of motive and lack of opportunity to commit the acts alleged against him.The Government’s incomplete investigation turned what should have been an uncomfortable family matter involving a very troubled child into an unjustly incarcerated man and placed unthinkable stress on his family...”

    Sex Abuse Case dismissed

    Client charged with sexually abusing his employee. After an investigation showed that some of the complaining witnesses recanted their statements and motives for false accusations discovered, case dismissed before trial.

    Custody case motivates false Measure 11 accusations against father

    Client jailed with $1.68 million bail setting after being falsely accused of smothering his wife with a pillow and sexually assaulting two adoptive daughters, among other claims. The case eventually resolved with an Alford Plea to one count of coercion for allegedly forcing a remote control out of wife’s hands, which is expungeable at the end of probation, no additional jail time, and a dismissal of all remaining charges. After the dismissal, client was able to resume parenting time with his biological daughter and continue to be an active father.

    Attempted Sex Abuse I – Dismissed

    Client accused of having unwanted sexual contact with a woman while she slept in a hotel room. After thorough defense investigation of witnesses to incident were presented to the DA, all charges were dismissed before trial.


    Sexual Harassment Defense – Hospital Administrator Stalking

    Mike Arnold defended the administrator of a hospital who pursued a relationship with a young woman who was apparently giving him mixed signals. Before contacting our firm he was convicted of a criminal stalking charge and lost a stalking order trial. She then sued him for $500,000 claiming sexual harassment, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In a Marion County jury trial after a brutal cross-examination of the plaintiff and picking apart their psychologist expert, we won a defense verdict.


    Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings – False Stalking Order to Gain Custody

    Received a $50,000 judgment through bankruptcy adversarial proceeding due to mother lying to get a stalking order.

    Stalking Order – Lying about Rape to Gain Custody

    We won a dismissal after trial. Court made findings of fact that stalking order was brought for an improper purpose.


    Measure 11 Dismissal

    “I am not a resident of Oregon and was put in the awkward position of finding a competent attorney for my son who had just been charged with a very serious felony while attending a university here. My wife and I interviewed a number of the top attorneys throughout the state and also asked for advice from several attorney friends and a judge from our home state. None of the numerous attorneys we interviewed came close to the quality, knowledge and compassion of the Arnold Law Firm. They took care of my son and advised him in jail even before we had agreed to hire them. That really showed me the quality of this firm. I can not say enough good things about their firm. Everyone in the office is professional and personable.

    “My son was represented by Mike Arnold and Emilia Gardner. They are nothing short of incredible and almost like family. They left no stone unturned and worked relentlessly on his case. My son is now a free man and able to move forward with his life. Thank you all for everything you have done. You are the best!”