Mary Spellman

Top rated Criminal Defense attorney in West Des Moines, Iowa

Spellman Law, P.C.
Mary Spellman
Spellman Law, P.C.

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, DUI-DWI, White Collar Crimes; view more

Licensed in Iowa since: 2009

Education: Drake University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2021 - 2023
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Spellman Law, P.C.

4000 Westown Pkwy
Suite 120
West Des Moines, IA 50266 Visit website


A sagacious attorney with a fervent passion to see her clients relieved of their pressing criminal law matters, Mary Spellman has over a decade of experience and understands what strategies need to be implemented for any given situation. At Spellman Law, P.C., in West Des Moines, Iowa, she handles an array of criminal law matters that involve violent crimes, white collar crimes, drug crimes, DUI/DWI and more.

For Ms. Spellman, fighting tooth and nail for her clients and always providing eminent advocacy is her being consistent. She is keenly determined and is aware of every minute detail of her clients’ cases, and the level of knowledge she possesses provides great relief for her clients and gives them the confidence that she will handle their cases with professionalism, elegance and poise. For her exuberant client service, she is rated “Excellent” on Avvo and hosts many positive testimonials as well.

Ms. Spellman is a 2006 B.A. degree graduate in international studies, and very soon after her graduation, she enrolled at the Drake University Law School and received her Juris Doctor in 2009, along with her license to practice in Iowa. In addition, she is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

When not aggressively advocating for her clients, Ms. Spellman stays actively involved in a variety of prominent legal organizations, including the:

  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Iowa Association for Justice (board member of the Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer Core Group)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
  • Edwin Moore American Inn of Court

Furthermore, she holds certifications in Constitutional Law & Human Rights, and International & Comparative Law & Human Rights, as well as a Public Service Certificate.

Practice areas

Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI, Criminal Defense: White Collar

Focus areas

Assault & Battery, DUI/DWI, Drug & Alcohol Violations, Felony, White Collar Crime

  • 50% Criminal Defense
  • 40% Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI
  • 10% Criminal Defense: White Collar

First Admitted: 2009, Iowa

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Member, Iowa State Bar Association, The Iowa State Bar Association is an organization that facilitates professional growth and collegiality among Iowa attorneys. Its mission is to “help Iowa attorneys succeed.” Benefits of membership include: continuing legal education, practice aids, legal research, interaction with the judiciary and legislature and access to publications regarding news and developments impacting the profession
  • American Bar Association
  • Polk County Bar Association
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Iowa
  • Iowa, 2009
  • Barrister, C. Edwin Moore Inn of Court, Des Moines, Iowa The American Inns of Court inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring
  • Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (IACDL), including presenter/speaker for Continuing Legal Education (CLE), 2020
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • NORML Legal Committee (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Educational Background:
  • The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, Bachelors of Arts - Political Science; International Studies, 2006
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Public Service Certificate, 2009
  • Certified in administering standardized field sobriety tests, 2014
  • International & Comparative Law & Human Rights Certificate, 2009
  • Constitutional Law & Civil Rights Certificate, 2009
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Empirical analyses of domestic legal traditions in the social science literature demonstrate that common law states have better economic freedoms, stronger investor protection, more developed capital markets, and better property rights protection than states with civil law, Islamic law, or mixed legal traditions. This article expands upon the literature by examining the relationship between domestic legal traditions and human rights practices. The primary hypothesis is that common law states have better human rights practices on average than civil law, Islamic law, or mixed law states because the procedural features of common law such as the adversarial trial system, the reliance on oral argumentation, and stare decisis result in greater judicial independence and protection of individual rights in these legal systems. We also examine how the quality of a state’s legal system influences repression focusing on colonial legacy, judicial independence, and the rule of law. A global cross-national analysis of state-years from 1976 to 2006 shows that states with common law traditions engage in better human rights practices than states with other legal systems. This result holds when controlling for the quality of the legal system and standard explanations for states’ human rights practices (economic growth, regime type, population size, military regime, and war involvement), Co-Author, Domestic legal traditions and states’ human rights practices, Journal of Peace Research, Law, Legal, Human Rights, 2013
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" - Spellman Law, P.C.  ranked as Tier 1 in Criminal Defense: General Practice, 2021
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • State v. Salcedo, 935 N.W. 572 (Iowa 2019) - unanimous Iowa Supreme Court Decision reversing judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion to suppress all evidence including more than 80 pounds of marijuana, stemming from a stop of his vehicle, holding that the district court erred in finding that the deputy developed reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity before unreasonably prolonging the stop. This was granted on interlocutory appeal, following the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress. Oral arguments were granted in this case. Case subsequently dismissed following the reversal, 2019
  • 3/31/21: State v. Koster, OWCR012941, Carroll County: Operating While Intoxicated, First Offense (punishable by 1 year) dismissed, following a successfully argued Motion to Reconsider earlier denial of Motion to Suppress evidence (Motion to Expand/Reconsider granted and case subsequently dismissed). Defendant had a commercial driver's license in addition to normal driver license, both of which will be reinstated, 2021
  • 3/31/21: State v. Adams, Case Number SRCR012989, Carroll County, Iowa: Two Class D Felony charges (punishable each by an indeterminate sentence of five years) dismissed, 2021
  • 2/4/2021: State v. Hackbarth, Case Number SRCR343781, Polk County, Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Injury charge (punishable by one year) dismissed, 2021
  • State v. Kruger: Three separate counties (Plymouth, O'Brien, Osceola): defendant had Class D Possession of Methamphetamines charges in each of the three counties, each punishable by five years; defendant had lengthy criminal record including recent probation revocation; secured global plea deal between all three counties,, which the Court adopted, for an agreement for probation (no prison) with drug court rehabilitation, and charges in Osceola charges were dismissed, 2021
  • State v. Kores, Case Number SMAC391519, Polk County: theft 5th degree charged dismissed; court subsequently granted motion for early expungement in advance of 180 waiting period, 2021
  • State v. Ravens, Case Number SMAC392358, Polk County: theft 5th degree charged dismissed; court subsequently granted motion for early expungement in advance of 180 waiting period, 2021
  • 2/16/21: State v. Moffitt, Case Number  OWCR043253, Dallas County: Operating While Intoxicated amended to Public Intoxication with fine, and Interference with Official Acts charge dismissed; secured Court Order suppressing "refusal" of chemical test, which allowed me to petition the Iowa Department of Transportation to re-instate defendant's driving privileges and remove the revocation from his driving record, 2021
  • State v. Satterthwaite, Case Number SRCR012497, Chickasaw County: Possession of Marijuana dismissed; client pleaded to simple misdemeanor paraphernalia charge with a fine (no jail, no probation) following prosecutor's acknowledgement of unlawful extended detention and questioning without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, 2021
  • State v. Norris, Case Number OWCR021903, Guthrie County: OWI 1st amended to Public Intoxication following Court's granting of defendant's Motion to Suppress, which suppressed breath test result. OWI was charge was lifetime OWI 3rd. Client to be fined (no probation, no jail), 2021

Office location for Mary Spellman

4000 Westown Pkwy
Suite 120
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Phone: 515-222-4330


1 Year Super Lawyers
3 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2021 - 2023

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