David Cohen


At Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, David Cohen planned to be a corporate lawyer. Then he participated in a criminal defense clinic and everything changed. Helping real people with their lives on the line was infinitely more compelling to David than working on corporate contracts. “As soon as I recognized that, I knew this was what I was destined to do. People facing criminal charges need help. They can’t fight the government on their own. They need a skilled, aggressive advocate to protect them.”

David began his career in 1995 at the Law Offices of Mark A. Berg in Auburn. When Mark Berg retired in 2016 David and his wife, Alison, took over the practice, building the Cohen Defense Group into the largest private criminal defense team in Placer County. David supervises a team of lawyers, some with decades of experience, and some fresh out of California’s top law schools. David’s goal of marshalling the best legal talents in California to create a five-star criminal defense team has come to fruition in the Cohen Defense Group, and he couldn’t be prouder.

David has handled thousands of cases from misdemeanors to murders, but much of his focus has been on fighting DUI charges, both in court and at DMV hearings. David is a member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California DUI Lawyers, and the National College for DUI Defense. Through these organizations, he gets ongoing training that keeps him on the cutting edge of developments in litigating the science of DUI cases. David makes it a priority to pass that training on to our defense team, making the Cohen Defense Group the go-to firm for DUI defense.

Certified by the California State Bar as a Specialist in Criminal Defense, David is a brilliant advocate for his clients. He recognizes that his client has everything to lose:  their job, their driving privilege, their citizenship, or their freedom. In every case he handles, David looks at the big picture and develops a legal strategy that will put the client in the best possible position going forward. According to colleague Barry Zimmerman, “David is a creative thinker. He surprises me with his innovative strategies to solve complex problems. He is attentive, client-oriented and scrutinizes every detail.”  In a nod to Placer County’s history, David sees himself as a gold miner, always seeking that one nugget in a case that can give his client an advantage. 

Having worked in the Placer County criminal justice system since 1995, David knows the local judges, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement. He understands their motivations and that gives him a strong edge when negotiating plea bargains and preparing for trial. 

David is dedicated to giving back to the Placer County community. He served on the board of the Placer County Bar Association for years, including running the organization as President in 2004.  David was a mentoring attorney and judge for the Peer Court program and regularly volunteers to teach a class called “Legal Aspects of DUI.” The Cohen Defense Group, under David’s leadership, supports the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation, Soroptomist International of the American River, Community Recovery Resources, Legal Services of Northern California, and other local non-profit organizations.

David was born and raised in San Jose, California. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1995. Education: Northwestern University, Evanston IL (B.S. in Speech, 1991); University of California, Hastings College of Law, San Francisco (J.D., 1994). Member: State Bar of California, Placer County Bar Association (member, 1996 to present; Board of Directors, 2001-2005; 2004 President), California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California DUI Lawyers, National College for DUI Defense.

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