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David Alan Nelson

Criminal defense Attorney at Bellingham, WA

5.0   8 reviews
  • Licensed for 37 years
    State WA
    Acquired 1986
    Active No misconduct found

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

About David

Learn David’s areas of practice.

Practice area
  1. Criminal defense
    All Felony and Misdemeanor cases. Federal felony and misdemeanor cases. Restoration of Gun Rights Vacation of Criminal Record Canadian Certificate of Rehabilitation

    38 years

      David Nelson has been practicing criminal law for 28 years in Whatcom County. He  handles DUI cases, Domestic Violence cases (all types of misdemeanor matters), Sex Offenses, all Felony charges and Murder cases.


     In September 2013 Dave and his defense team successfully resolved a murder case by having the charges totally dismissed.


      Dave has taught legal education courses to fellow attorneys in the area of criminal law and domestic violence.  


      Dave is a former Whatcom County Bar President.  He has served on local charity boards as a board memeber and President.

Contact David

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David Alan Nelson
301 Prospect St
Bellingham, WA, 98225-4001


5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
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Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2015
Highly recommended for criminal case defense
In February of 2013, my son was charged with murder and assault in Whatcom County Superior Court. We found Dave Nelson on line and became interested in him because had a great reputation with many years of criminal defense expertise. We called him and he responded right away. Within hours of my son’s arrest, we were meeting about the case and we hired Dave. My son had self-defense and legal justification as his defense to both charges, but the prosecution insisted otherwise. But Dave Nelson was able to keep the case moving very rapidly and filed a series of strategic motions to flesh out his defense. The government’s case began to fall apart under the pressure that Dave Nelson was bringing to the case. Within eight months (which is a small amount of time for a murder case), all of the work he did resulted in the prosecutor capitulating and finally dismissing the charges. After that, my son was set free and he now has his life back. Dave Nelson’s excellent work saved my son from life imprisonment. If you or your family member is ever in any trouble in the criminal justice system, I strongly recommend that you hire Attorney Dave Nelson as your criminal defense lawyer.
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Posted by Ashley | April 9, 2014
Dave was very professional and knowledgeable. He was sincere and there there me through out my case. I'm very pleased with the outcome. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Posted by Christopher | April 7, 2014
Outstanding representation!
Mr. Nelson represented me through a domestic case issue. He was very effective in simplifying the process and getting to the core of the legal issue. This helped to get past the hurdles of the "emotional" aspect and focus on the important and actionable information. I would absolutely recommend him to my colleagues.
Posted by anonymous | November 25, 2013
Strategic, hard working and caring Attorney's at law
Mr. Nelson, Thank you for everything you have done for our family!! We could not get any luckier to have you represent our case. Your knowledge of the system and caring for the client is above and beyond call of duty. Thank you again for everything!
Posted by Christopher | March 11, 2013
Highly Competent and Congenial
David Nelson has proven himself to be far more than worth his remuneration. I was simultaneously deeply impressed and also placed at ease by his vast knowledge and experience with my predicament. He articulated plain and simple steps for me to follow, resulting in a significantly smoother process than I would have experienced elsewhere. The end result of my case was vastly more successful than I initially expected, and I was literally stunned with his ability to work so proficiently through a ridiculously complicated legal system. We have just completed our case and I have already heartily recommended him and will continue to do so.
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Posted by Tom | March 27, 2010
Small business client
Mr. Nelson is our business attorney. He has a strong competence in the law, presents legal options in understandable terms and advises with a tangible loyalty to our business. He is personable, accessible, responsive and thorough. We know that Mr. Nelson is a life-long resident of the area and has many business contacts inside and outside of the law who always speak highly of him. We feel fortunate to have found a true business partner and friend.
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Posted by anonymous | March 25, 2010
Dave was there for me and my husband in a time when we needed him most. He was able to work with us just before we moved out of state within a very short amount of time. It was a high pressure time for us. He told us exactly what we needed to do, and he really knows his stuff. Anyone who is looking for a great lawyer at a reasonable rate, he is your guy. Thanks Dave!
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Posted by Ken | March 23, 2010
my experience with Dave
For the first, and hopefully last, time in my life, I was in need of legal representation and consider myself very lucky to have found Dave. From the onset, he has made sure to make me aware of my options and ramifications of the decisions that were made. He has made himself available to me with no questions asked and has always been patient with my litany of questions and phone calls. The legal system can be intimidating and daunting and having a lawyer who is not only knowledgeable, but patient, has made this whole process much less painless than I anticipated. I recommend Dave whole-heartedly.
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  • Free Consultation 45 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Law Office of David A. Nelson, P.S.
  • 2006 - Present
  • Pro Tem Judge
  • Bellingham Municipal Court
  • 2005 - Present
  • Managing Partner
  • Nelson, Brinson, Thigpen & Fryer, P.S
  • 2001 - 2006
  • Managning Partner
  • Nelson, Brinson & Elich, P.S.
  • 1993 - 2000
  • Partner
  • Nelson & Brinson, P.S.
  • 1991 - 1992
  • Senior Deputy Public Defender
  • Whatcom County Public Defender's Office
  • 1986 - 1991
View all work experience


  • National Criminal Defense College
  • 1988
  • University of Puget Sound School of Law
  • Juris Doctor
  • 1986
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • B.A. History / Political Science
  • 1983


  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • WCBA News Letter Editorial Board
  • 2000 - Present
  • Federal Bar, Washington State
  • Member
  • 1988 - Present
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1986 - Present
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1986 - Present
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • President
  • 2001 - 2002
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • Vice-President
  • 2000 - 2001
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Champions of Justice, Pro Bono Direct Representaiton Award
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • 2008
  • Champions of Justice, Pro Bono Direct Representaiton Award
  • Whatcom County Bar Association
  • 2005

Speaking Engagements

  • CASA In-House Training
  • Court Room Testimony and Tactics
  • 2010
  • Considering Content in Domestic Violence Cases, Forum for Defense and Prosecution
  • Domestic Violence Defense and Prosecution
  • 2009
  • Second Annual DWI Legal Education Seminar
  • DUI Defense
  • 1995
  • Whatcom Bar Assoc. Driving While Intoxicated CLE
  • DUI Defense
  • 1994
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (13)
Given (13)
Endorse David
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 30
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have worked extensively around David for years and observed his work on "both sides of the aisle" in criminal matters. As the Ferndale Prosecutor, David was firm, fair, smart, and honest. As a defense attorney in our community, David is all of those things as well, plus I have seen him be very intense, very passionate, and very hard-working. David is likable and caring; I can tell that he really cares about his clients."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I strongly endorse David Nelson. As an immigration attorney, I often have clients for whom the outcome of a criminal prosecution will have consequences far beyond those of the normal criminal defendant, both for themselves and for their families. In a number of cases, I have referred such clients to Dave. Without fail he has devoted more than enough time to meet with the client and with me as the immigration counsel, in order to thoroughly understand the situation and then move forward to achieve, in my experience, extraordinary outcomes. Dave is particularly effective because his long experience and integrity make him capable of working well with prosecuting attorneys in order to achieve cooperative resolutions."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse David. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I strongly endorse this lawyer. I have known Dave Nelson for many years, and I have worked with him in his role as a prosecutor, and also as a colleague in the criminal defense bar. Dave is a very experienced litigator with tremendous legal acumen. What impresses me the most about Dave is his integrity and professionalism. He does an outstanding job for his clients. If I ever need an advocate, my first call would be to Dave Nelson."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Dave Nelson is leading figure in the Whatcom County legal community. I have gone to trial against him in his role as a prosecuting attorney, I have appeared in front of him in his role as pro tem judge, and I have acted as a supporting defense attorney under his leadership in a murder case. Dave has an amazing ability to regularly "change hats" and operate in a wide variety of different legal capacities. I am constantly impressed at how he handles his work with such great skill and dedication. Truly, I have learned a great deal from working with Mr. Nelson. I can say without reservation that anyone who hires Dave Nelson is in excellent hands."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 07
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have known Mr. Nelson in a number of ways: as a mentor who invited me to 2nd Chair a trial that he was the defense council for, as opposing counsel in his capacity as Ferndale prosecutor, as opposing counsel in my capacity as a prosecutor, and practicing in front of him when he serves as a judge. Over the years, I have learned that Mr. Nelson's lengthy experience on both defense and prosecution side of criminal law gives him a grasp of the process and practice that most attorneys will never achieve in a single lifetime."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 04
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Mr. Nelson is an honorable man and I trust his judgement."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly recommend and endorse Attorney David Nelson. I consistently refer my family law clients to his law firm for criminal matters, which is the highest compliment I can give another attorney. Not only is Mr. Nelson a highly ethical attorney, he works diligently to provide his clients with excellent service to achieve the best outcome possible. He has also worked as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) on cases in which I represent a party, and I have found his work as a GAL to be equally impressive. Mr. Nelson was previously the President of the Whatcom County Bar Association, he serves on the board of directors for Lydia Place, and he often acts as a Pro Tem Judge in various municipal courts in Whatcom County. Because of his vase experience, I consider Mr. Nelson to be a knowledgeable resource, and I seek his valuable input on a regular basis."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. I have known Dave for over decade as an attorney devoted to the best outcome of his client. He works relentlessly to make sure his client receives every possible advantage in any negotiation. Dave has a proven trial track record in both State court as well as Federal court criminal defense. Dave has a great reputation in the legal community as a person who is zealous and fair. Dave has the respect of the larger legal community as one of our past county bar association presidents."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 20
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Dave and I shared a mutual client on a very sensitive case in which Dave handled the criminal representation. I was extremely impressed with Dave's professionalism and his compassionate handling of a very difficult matter. He is very knowledgeable and his wealth of experience shows in his ability to get the job done efficiently and successfully. Our client was extremely happy with the result. I was impressed with Dave's work and I know the client was very impressed as well. I highly recommend Dave and will refer clients to him without hesitation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Dave for a number of years and have always found him to be prepared, forthright and knowledgeable. I would have no hesitation recommending him to a friend or family member. He is a credit to the profession."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have had the pleasure of knowing David Nelson for six years now. He has been a constant mentor to me and a leader in our local bar. He has served as President of the Whatcom County Bar Association and volunteers his time in the community. Dave is highly honest, fair, kind, and compassionate. He is good humored and easy for both clients and colleagues to work with. I really, really respect Dave and give him my highest recommendation. "
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse David Nelson as a criminal defense attorney. David works diligently for his clients. He knows criminal law not just from the criminal defense aspect but also as a prosecutor and judge pro tem."
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Bellingham Criminal defense Lawyer David Alan Nelson
David Alan Nelson
Criminal defense Attorney
Bellingham, WA
Licensed for 37 years
Free Consultation