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Colin Christopher Murphy

Drug Crime Attorney at West Des Moines, IA

5.0   37 reviews
Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • State Years
    Iowa - IA 25 years
    Pennsylvania - PA 26 years
  • Licensed for 25 years
    State IA
    Acquired 1998
    Status
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 26 years
    State PA
    Acquired 1997
    Status
    Retired No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Colin

Learn Colin’s areas of practice.

2
Practice areas
  1. Drug Crime
    80%
    Defending drug possession, delivery, cultivation and manufacturing charges with special emphasis on traffic stops, K9 sniffs and search warrants in state and federal court. Specializing in the return of seized property and fighting asset forfeiture.

    23 years

  2. DUI and DWI
    20%
    Defending the accused drinking or drug-impaired driver from license revocation hearings to trial and appeal with special emphasis on traffic stops; field sobriety testing; PBTs; implied consent; forensic breath, blood and urine testing and refusals.

    23 years

DID YOUR LAST ENCOUNTER WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT RESULT IN JOINT PAIN? BETTER CALL COLIN.

I focus primarily on defending those accused of possessing, delivering, cultivating or manufacturing marijuana and other narcotics.  I also specialize in helping individuals recover property that has been unlawfully seized through civil forfeiture, which allows Iowa law enforcement agencies to profit from large amounts of cash, firearms, vehicles and other property taken from innocent persons.  A significant part of my practice includes representing those charged with alcohol and drug-impaired offenses, ranging from public intoxication to OWI to vehicular homicide.  

As a trial attorney, I've tried dozens of misdemeanor and felony cases to a jury and obtained dismissals of more than 160 other drug and OWI charges, including driver's licenses revocations, through successful pre-trial motions.

I take a keen interest in developing and litigating issues in traffic stops and other search and seizure contexts to expand the rights of the accused. Most recently, my efforts to overturn a search warrant based on information gathered during warrantless nighttime trash rips led to a landmark Iowa Supreme Court decision in State v. Wright, 961 N.W.2d 396 (Iowa 2021).  The decision was the first to recognize the rejuvenated trespass doctrine in Iowa.  By finding an expectation of privacy in garbage, the Court overturned a police tactic responsible for untold numbers of convictions during the past four decades.  The decision is based on Iowa Constitutional grounds under article 1, section 8. I have since worked diligently to expand the scope of the trespass doctrine to K9 searches, the deployment of recording devices by confidential informants under the one-party consent rule in Iowa and other areas that have typically been analyzed under an expectation of privacy approach.

In response to Wright, the Iowa General Assembly codified a new law in 2022, Iowa Code section , which sought to reinstate the now-unconstitutional police practice of surreptitiously searching curbside garbage without a warrant.  In what I believe to be the first ruling addressing the new law, the Iowa District Court for Boone County struck down the statute as unconstitutional in State v. Whaley, No. FECR115299, on September 28, 2022.  Rather than appeal the ruling, however, the State dismissed the charges instead.  This means the illegal police practice continues unabated until we can protect our gains under Wright before the Iowa Supreme Court.

As trial counsel in State v. Pals, 805 N.W.2d 767 (Iowa 2011), I challenged the voluntariness of a detained driver's consent to search his vehicle under the Iowa Constitution.  The Pals decision is now one of the seminal cases on the issue of warrantless consent searches. 

My knack for understanding and simply explaining complex scientific concepts such as infrared spectrophotometry in breath testing, headspace gas chromatography with flame ionization detection in blood and urine testing, statistical analysis and measurement uncertainty is well known throughout the defense bar.  The same can be said for my work in exposing drug K9 "alerts" that were either false positives or otherwise cued by the handler.  I am one of a few attorneys in the state who have successfully challenged a vehicle search based on these highly questionable "alerts."

I am twice published in the area of OWI defense. In 2014, I co-authored the first edition one of the few practice-specific treatises in the state, Iowa OWI Defense: The Law and Practice, published by Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company. I also wrote a chapter focusing on the use of indepedent forensic investigations, including crash data and blood alcohol analysis, in Defending DUI Vehicular Homicide Cases, 2013 ed. by Aspatore Books.
 
As an appellate lawyer, I have briefed and argued issues of constitutional and statutory importance before the Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court of Appeals. In addition to Wright, I successfully argued Mitchell County v. Zimmerman, 810 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2012), in which a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court struck down a local road-protection ordinance as unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.  More recently, I secured a second unanimous decision in 2023 by the Iowa Supreme Court in State v. Arrieta, 998 N.W.2d 617 (Iowa 2023), which reversed the Iowa Court of Appeals decision and held our client was unreasonably detained at a weigh station to await a drug K9.

I have been named a Great Plains Super Lawyer in the area of Criminal Defense for six years running (2018-2023).

 

Awards

Top Contributor 2024,2023,2022,2021,2020,2019,2018,2014,2013,2012
Top Contributor
2024 2023 2022 + 7 ...
Client's Choice 2023,2021,2020,2012
Client's Choice
2023 2021 2020 + 1 ...

Photos and videos

Location

Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC
440 Fairway Drive, Suite 210
West Des Moines, IA, 50266

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  37 customer reviews
5 Star
 
97%
4 Star
 
3%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
0%
1 Star
 
0%
Client's Choice 2023
Client's Choice
Client's Choice is an Avvo award granted to attorneys with a significant number of client reviews over 4 stars in a given year.
Posted by anonymous | October 15, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Colin Murphy: champion of the 4th amendment
In a society where privacy is in a perpetual state of decay, Colin has gone above and beyond what most lawyers have dreamt of accomplishing. He has changed the state's law in a way that benefits anyone that recognizes and appreciates the protections the 4th amendment gives us. His proven superior understanding and passion for defending the erosion of expectation of privacy sets him far ahead of all others. If you find yourself in a situation where your right to unreasonable search and seizure has been violated, look no further. You won't find anyone better than Colin Murphy.
Read less
Posted by Kyle | August 30, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Easy to work with
Amazing people great to work with very friendly only law firm I’ll ever hire
Posted by anonymous | November 9, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Lawyer review
Colin was able to get rid of my owi which was great because it was my second one.

Cost

Rates
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Associate
  • Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC
  • 2018 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Colin Murphy, P.C.
  • 2009 - 2014
  • Attorney
  • Private Practice
  • 1998 - 2009
  • Legal Intern
  • Federal Public Defender - Southern District of Iowa
  • 1995 - 1996
View all work experience

Education

  • University of Michigan
  • Sports Performance Analytics - Certificate
  • 2022
  • Drake Law School
  • J.D. with Honors
  • 1996
  • Grinnell College
  • B.A. - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1991

Sample of Legal Cases

  • State v. S.A., Worth County District Court No. SRCR011821
  • Drug Charges Dismissed
  • State v. A.R., Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County No. SRCR032106
  • Drug Charges Dismissed
  • State v. J.Y., Iowa District Court for Wayne County No. OWCR003539
  • Felony OWI Amended to Public Intoxication
View all legal cases

Associations

  • Iowa NORML
  • Executive Director
  • 2021 - Present
  • International Cannabis Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2018 - 2022
  • Iowa State Court Adminsitration
  • District 2A Judicial Nominating Commission
  • 2014 - 2014
  • NORML Legal Committee
  • Member
  • 2011 - 2023
  • Iowa Association for Justice
  • Board of Governors
  • 2009 - 2012
  • National College of DUI Defense
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2014
  • Iowa Association for Justice
  • Legislative Committee
  • 2008 - 2012
  • Iowa Association for Justice, Criminal Law Core Group
  • Member
  • 2006 - 2012
  • Iowa State Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
  • Executive Committee
  • 2005 - 2008
  • Blackstone American Inn of Court
  • Member
  • 1996 - 1996
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2023
  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2022
  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2021
  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2020
  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2019
  • Super Lawyers - Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2018
  • Pharmacology of ETOH, Marijuana & Benzodiazepines - Certificate
  • The McShane Firm, LLC
  • 2011
  • NHTSA SFST Practitioner Certificate of Completion (24 Hours)
  • Platt & Associates
  • 2009
  • Certificate of Competency - BAC DataMaster
  • National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc.
  • 2008
  • Forensic Blood & Urine Testing Certificate (28 Hours)
  • William C. Head / Headlines Marketing
  • 2008
  • 12th Annual DUI Seminar
  • NCDD/NACDL
  • 2008
  • Honors Graduate
  • Drake Law School
  • 1996
  • Executive Board - Research Editor
  • Drake Law Review
  • 1995
  • Staff Member
  • Drake Law Review
  • 1994
View all awards

Publications

  • Colin Murphy, P.C.
  • How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in Iowa
  • 2013
  • Colin Murphy, P.C.
  • Asleep at the Wheel - 25 Ways to Lose Winnable DUI Cases
  • 2013
  • Defending DUI Vehicular Homicide Cases
  • Creating Reasonable Doubt Through Independent Forensic Investigation
  • 2013
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • NORML Iowa State University Chapter Meeting
  • Iowa Marijuana Law Update
  • 2021
  • Floyd County Spring Criminal Law Seminar
  • Applying the Jones/Jardines "Trespass First" Doctrine
  • 2021
  • Criminal Law Seminar
  • The Legal Status of Hemp Extract (9/16/2021)
  • 2021
  • March CLE
  • The Legal Status of Hemp Extract in Iowa
  • 2020
  • Iowa Association for Justice - Annual Workers' Compensation Seminar
  • The Intoxication Defense: Law & Science
  • 2014
  • Iowa Association for Justice - Annual Criminal Law Seminar
  • OWI Roundtable
  • 2013
  • Iowa Association for Justice - Annual Criminal Law Seminar
  • Unreasonable Sniff and Seizure
  • 2013
  • Iowa Association for Justice - Annual Criminal Law Seminar
  • Curbing the "Infallible" Drug Dog
  • 2012
  • Iowa State Public Defender - Criminal Law Seminar
  • Curbing the "Infallible" Drug Dog
  • 2011
  • Iowa Association for Justice - Annual Criminal Law Seminar
  • Curbing the "Infallible" Drug Dog
  • 2010
  • Iowa State Bar Association - Criminal Law Section
  • Forensic Blood Testing in OWI Cases
  • 2009
  • Iowa Association of Justice - Annual Criminal Law Seminar
  • Forensic Blood Testing in OWI Cases
  • 2009
  • Iowa Association for Justice Annual Convention
  • Understanding SFSTs for Civil Trial Lawyers
  • 2009
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Recurring Suppression Issues in Drug Cases
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (21)
Given (21)
Endorse Colin
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Colin is a superb lawyer who has an excellent track record of success for his clients. Colin is a skilled lawyer who thoroughly understands the myriad of complex issues that can arise in OWI, Marijuana and Asset Forfeiture cases. This knowledge and skill pays dividends for Conlin's clients. I would never hesitate to send someone I knew to Colin for help."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Colin Murphy is an excellent attorney. He has demonstrated a mastery of criminal issues. I find him to be particularly skilled in the areas of defense to include operating while intoxicated (OWI/DUI) as well as drug cases. Ive been fortunate to listen to him present on the issue of search and seizure which including drug dog searches. I highly recommend him if you find yourself in criminal trouble."
Unknown Attorney | May 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse and highly recommend Mr. Murphy. I learn a lot from his answers on Avvo."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Mr. Murphy is an effective and brilliant advocate for his clients."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 21
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Murphy's answers to online inquiries are always very well thought-out and professional. He seems knowledgeable and comes up with novel and clever approaches to fact patterns."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. He is a solid member of the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Colin Murphy is an excellent criminal defense attorney. Our office routinely refers clients to him."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Feb 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Collin is among the best in the field. He is highly respected for his knowledge about drunk driving defenses, and one whom other defense attorneys call for advice."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Sep 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"When faced with a new or complicated situation, I look to Colin for advice. He is always on the cutting edge of drunk driving defense strategies. You can't go wrong with Colin Murphy."
Unknown Attorney | Jun 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have been reading Mr. Murphy's answers on Avvo for a few months now, and I am impressed with his encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law in Iowa, as well as his willingness to share on this forum."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I know from first hand observation that Colin Murphy is an exceptional attorney. He is a masterful trial lawyer and highly effective. It is evident that his clients trust him and for good reason. He wins cases. He also wins cases because of his advocacy outside of the courtroom. He is expert in OWI law and will review the facts of your case carefully to identify defenses that other attorneys may miss. I endorse Colin Murphy without reservation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 30
Relationship: Friend
"DUI defense is a highly-specialized, technical field. Colin Murphy puts in the time and effort it takes to be trained and skilled in this area. I would not and do not hesitate to recommend Colin to anyone who needs help in his area."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Mar 20
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Unlike many "dump truck" lawyers who just plead their clients guilty without considering ALL the consequences, if Colin has a client with an Illinois driver's license who receives an Iowa, he checks with an Illinois driver's license lawyer so he can give his client the full range of options. That's what you call a real professional. That's Colin."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Jan 31
Relationship: Other
"Mr. Murphy has devoted his practice to representing citizens accused of intoxication crimes. I fully endorse this lawyers work."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Colin and I are both members of a group of Iowa attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of Iowans. If you, a friend, or loved one need help with an OWI, other criminal matter or litigation in general then Colin will work hard for you. He is both knowledgeable and a strong advocate for his clients. I have no hesitation in recommending him."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Jan 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Attorney Murphy has the requisite training, knowledge and experience to successfully represent those accused of a crime. He is someone to trust. He has earned a great reputation for being a zealous and professionally aggressive advocate for the citizen among us who has been accused of a crime. He is a first rate lawyer who obtains first rate results."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Jul 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Murphy is a lawyer who has taken a great deal of time to gain understanding in the science behind field sobriety tests and alcohol/drug testing. He is meticulous in his assessment and preparation of his client's cases in order to ensure that none of his clients' rights have been violated and to obtain the best possible result on each case."
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West Des Moines Drug Crime Lawyer Colin Christopher Murphy
Colin Christopher Murphy
Drug Crime Attorney
West Des Moines, IA
Licensed for 26 years
Virtual consultation available