Criminal Trial Lawyer

A Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law, Damon Chetson represents people and entities - corporations, small companies, and non-profits - facing the most severe investigations and accusations in state and federal court.

While based in Raleigh, Mr. Chetson represents people and groups throughout North Carolina, and in all three federal districts in the state, and various state and federal appellate courts.

Damon Chetson

In 2016, Mr. Chetson was named a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law by the North Carolina Board of Specialization.  He is one of fewer than two dozen Board Certified Specialists in criminal law the Raleigh-Durham area, and one of fewer than 150 Board Certified Specialists in criminal law in the State of North Carolina.

Mr. Chetson has also been rated by his peers as a Rising Star SuperLawyer in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

A graduate of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Chetson completed his law degree at the University of North Carolina in 2009. He has lectured on ethics and practice of law. He is the author of the North Carolina Bar Association’s General Practitioner’s Guide to Criminal Law – Search & Seizure Chapter (2016).

In 2019, Mr. Chetson - along with co-counsel - beat back the State of North Carolina's attempt to sentence a mentally ill man to death in the gruesome shotgun killings of his business partner, the partner's wife, and the partner's mother.  Mr. Chetson worked closely with experts - computer forensic and psychiatric specialists - and co-counsel to help secure a life sentence in this triple homicide that received local and national coverage.

From 2015 to 2017, he represented one of 13 law enforcement officers indicted on allegations of corruption and drug trafficking.

After protracted negotiations with the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, Mr. Chetson and fellow lawyers were able to negotiate outcomes that dramatically reduced the punishment for their clients.

In 2018, he secured a not guilty before a federal jury to the charge of stealing a firearm.

That same year he won a reversal of a conviction by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in State v. Miller after the appellate court held that the trial court failed to instruct the jury properly. The Court of Appeals reaffirmed the applicability of the necessity defense in certain crimes.

In 2018, Mr. Chetson won a dramatically reduced sentence and avoided career-offender status for a client convicted of trafficking in large quantities of fentanyl-laced heroin.  The client had previously been convicted of a 30-year sentence in federal court in Virginia.

Mr. Chetson also secured a below-guidelines federal sentence for a Medicaid "biller" involving allegations of millions of dollars of loss in Medicaid fraud in a complex scheme involving overbilling, duplicate billing and misuse of the NCTracks billing system.

In 2017, Mr. Chetson defended a client at trial accused of a conspiracy to kidnap a prosecutor and defense lawyer.  The jury was out for nearly two days, and declined to find that one kidnapping attempt was an object of the conspiracy.

Also in 2017, Mr. Chetson represented a client convicted of kidnapping and discharging a shotgun in an occupied home. State prosecutors had sought a 60-month sentence. After a more than two-hour-long sentencing presentation, including witness testimony, Mr. Chetson secured a 24-month sentence.

Mr. Chetson defended a suburban Raleigh accountant who defended herself when a man broke into her office suite and ran at her as she sat working late one afternoon.  The case received significant local news coverage.

In 2016, he secured a 120-day sentence for a client in federal court accused of operating a dogfighting ring. The client had previously been convicted of drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Virginia prior to Mr. Chetson's representation.  The Government had requested a 7-year prison sentence.

In 2016, Mr. Chetson secured a roughly two-year sentence in federal court for possession of a stolen firearm and drug offenses. The Government had sought a sentence twice the length.

In 2016, Mr. Chetson secured a two-year sentence for a client previously convicted and sentenced by the same judge, the Hon. Terrence Boyle, for a similar mail fraud charge.

In 2015, Mr. Chetson secured a misdemeanor plea after a client was falsely charged with shaken baby syndrome.  The client was sentenced to "credit for time served" and released from court.

In 2013, Mr. Chetson secured a not guilty to all charges in a case involving false claims of Shaken Baby Syndrome after a 5-day trial involving expert-witness testimony.

In 2011, Mr. Chetson secured a below-guidelines safety-valve result for his client who had helped to traffic hundreds of pounds of marijuana as part of a cartel-directed drug conspiracy.

In addition, Mr. Chetson has defended individuals accused of Medicaid and tax fraud, major drug and gang conspiracies, RICO violations, money laundering, and tax fraud, computer-related crimes and child pornography, and violent crimes, including rapes, robberies, homicides, and assaults.

He is well-respected as a fierce litigator whose commitment to clients is his first priority.

Mr. Chetson, who earned his certificate as a private single-engine pilot in 2013, has successfully tried everything from misdemeanor DWIs to homicides before juries in state and federal court. Where trial is not the best option, he has achieved outstanding results whether by plea, by deferred prosecution arrangements, or by non-prosecution in hundreds of cases ranging from murder investigations to serious white crime embezzlement and frauds, to tax cases, to massive public corruption and drug conspiracies.

Mr. Chetson has a special interest in technologically complex and medically complicated cases and cases involving false allegations and false confessions, having defended individuals wrongfully accused of so-called "shaken baby syndrome" offenses and false allegations of sex crimes. Mr. Chetson is familiar with the underpinnings of most technology, including WiFi, encryption, TCP/IP such that he is particularly adept at defending Internet-related crimes - "cybercrimes," Computer Fraud and Abuse Act cases, and child pornography crimes.

Dena Reese-Booze

Dena Reese-Booze serves as the Firm's part-time paralegal, providing legal support to the firm, assisting clients, interacting with court personnel and Clerks of Court, performing legal research, and maintaining the Firm's client files and confidential paperwork.  Ms. Booze has worked with the firm since March 2016.  Prior to her work with the Firm, Ms. Booze served as an assistant clerk of court for the State of New Jersey.  She resides in the Raleigh suburbs with her family and husband.

If you've been charged with a crime, contact us at (919) 352-9411 for a free consultation.