Best Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Last Updated: 06/09/2023

Find highly skilled criminal defense lawyers in Chicago to defend your rights when dealing with criminal charges.

The 18 Best Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Browse

Find the Top Local Chicago Criminal Defense Law Firms Near Me

Search For Nearby Chicago Criminal Defense Law Firms

List of the Top 18 Chicago Criminal Defense Attorneys

DDT Law Group, LLC
1625 Mannheim Rd, Stone Park, IL 60165, United States

DDT Law Group, LLC - a Chicagoland law firm - specializes in DUI, traffic tickets, and suspended licenses. Contact the firm today for a defense tailored to your case. Based in Illinois, the firm serves clients throughout the state. Choose DDT Law Group for a worry-free defense.

Blog Last Updated On:

Darryl A. Goldberg
33 N Dearborn St Ste 1830, Chicago, IL 60602, United States

Darryl A. Goldberg, a top Chicago criminal defense lawyer, specializes in federal drug, white-collar, and civil rights litigation cases. With extensive experience in federal and state courts, he defends clients' rights with aggressive representation. Only negotiates a plea when it's the best option and with the client's consent. Contact Goldberg today for a free consultation and defend your rights.

Law Office of Steven Fine
53 W Jackson Blvd #1215, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

The Law Office of Steve Fine offers top-notch criminal defense services in Chicago. With over 20 years of experience, the firm provides 24/7 protection for clients facing criminal charges. Attorney Fine personally handles each case and strives for the best possible outcome. Practice areas include civil rights, drug crimes, theft crimes, and more. Past results include acquittals, case dismissals, and not-guilty verdicts.

22 W Washington St Ste 1500, Chicago, IL 60602, United States

Led by a former prosecutor, the Law Offices of Howard J. Wise defends people accused of crimes in Chicago. The firm builds strong defense strategies using Mr. Wise's insider knowledge of criminal law. They work to reduce or dismiss charges so clients avoid jail and clear their records. Mr. Wise crafts customized defenses, often taking cases to trial for the best outcome. They have experience defending everything from traffic tickets to murder.

Erickson & Oppenheimer, Ltd.
223 W Jackson Blvd Ste 200, Chicago, IL 60606, United States

Based in Chicago, Erickson & Oppenheimer, Ltd. provides strong civil rights and criminal defense representation. It has won verdicts of not guilty in high-profile criminal cases and large settlements for clients whose civil rights were violated. Erickson & Oppenheimer is nationally recognized, with founding attorneys in the Illinois Super Lawyers list.

Kostopoulos Criminal Defense Lawyers
18W140 Butterfield Rd #1504, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, USA

Kostopoulos Law Group is a criminal defense law firm in Chicago and Dupage County, Illinois. Gus Kostopoulos is a former prosecutor with 20 years of experience. Helps clients facing criminal charges of all levels, from misdemeanors to high felonies. Provides a risk-free consultation and strives for the best outcome.

Blog Last Updated On:

The Law Offices of Carlos H. Davalos
2923 N Milwaukee Ave Ste 911, Chicago, IL 60618, United States

The Law Offices of Carlos H. Davalos is a nationally recognized criminal and DUI defense law firm in Chicago. It has been recognized by multiple national lawyer rating organizations and is considered a top law office for criminal and DUI representation. Handle cases including drug crimes, battery, domestic violence, DUI, and retail theft.

Luisi Legal Group
1231 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, United States

Luisi Legal Group is a team of experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyers. Our lawyers have won over 2,000 criminal cases in Cook County and are prepared to provide you with a skilled defense. We can help you fight traffic tickets and violations, respond to an order of protection, and defend against restraining order claims. Contact us for a free consultation if you've been charged with DUI or another serious crime.

Law Offices of Matt Fakhoury, LLC - Chicago Office

Matt Fakhoury, LLC offers expert legal defense for those accused of domestic battery in Chicago. With over 15 years of experience, the firm understands Illinois domestic violence law. The team provides a free case review, fights to protect clients' rights, and builds a strong defense. Services include defense against domestic and aggravated domestic battery and orders of protection. Call (847) 920-4540 for a free consultation.

Blog Last Updated On:

The Law Offices of Steven R. Roach
8501 West Higgins Road suite 420, Chicago, IL 60631, USA

The Law Offices of Steven R. Roach is a Chicago-based law firm that provides legal services to clients who have been charged with a crime, injured in an accident, or injured at work. With over 15 years of experience, a former prosecutor and current criminal defense lawyer Steven R. Roach has handled over 1,000 criminal matters and is dedicated to winning your case. The Law Offices of Steven R. Roach offers a free consultation when you call 312-421-8820.

Law Office of Michael J. Young
9842 W, Roosevelt Rd, Westchester, IL 60154, United States

The Law Office of Michael J. Young has been helping people in the Chicago area with their legal needs since 1994. Michael, who has more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer, is highly respected by his peers; he has been named a Top Attorney in North America and one of the Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers. Michael is also a DUI specialist, recognized by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense.

Blog Last Updated On:

FisherLevine Law Group, LLP
321 N Clark St 5th floor, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

FisherLevine Law Group provides passionate criminal defense services in Chicago. For decades, they have represented clients facing serious charges. The firm offers exceptional help during investigations, trials, sentencing, and appeals.

Moretti Law, P.C.
875 N Michigan Ave #3100, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

The attorneys at Moretti Law P.C. have over 15 years of experience defending clients against charges such as burglary and battery. Mr. Moretti is a Northwest Suburban Bar Association member and the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys. Contact Mr. Moretti today for a free consultation!

Bedi & Singer, LLP
53 W Jackson Blvd #1505, Chicago, IL 60604, United States

Bedi & Singer, LLP is a criminal defense law firm in Chicago. The attorneys defend clients charged with state and federal crimes. That includes murder, assault, robbery, drug charges, fraud, and more. They handle cases at trial or negotiate dismissals. The firm has over 25 years of experience.

Blog Last Updated On:

Jonathan Feldman, Attorney at Law
70 E Lake St #1220, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

Jonathan Feldman is a Chicago criminal defense lawyer. Provides legal representation for clients facing criminal charges, including misdemeanors and felonies. Bilingual in English and Spanish. Contact Feldman's Chicago or Willowbrook office for a free consultation.

Law Office of Matthew Prengaman
70 E Lake St #1220, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

Chicago criminal defense lawyer Matthew Prengaman knows how to get the best possible outcome for your case. He handles drug charges, civil rights violations, and traffic issues. Attorney Prengaman will work one-on-one with you to understand your case and guide you through the process. He is licensed in federal and state courts and is willing to go above and beyond for his clients. Contact The Law Office of Matthew Prengaman today for focused representation on your criminal defense case.

The Law Office Of Sladjana Vuckovic
55 W Wacker Dr Fl 9, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

Sladjana Vuckovic is an affordable criminal defense and traffic violation lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. Guides clients through the court system and fights to protect their rights. Fluent in English and Serbo-Croatian and serves the former Yugoslavian communities throughout Cook County. Call 773-877-3268 for a free consultation.

Law Office of Clyde Guilamo, LLC
605 N Broadway #1, Aurora, IL 60505, USA

The Law Office of Clyde Guilamo in Chicago, Illinois, specializes in criminal defense. Attorney Clyde Guilamo has over a decade of experience and has handled hundreds of cases. He assists with domestic violence, drug crimes, gun crimes, sex crimes, theft crimes, and violent crimes. Attorney Guilamo protects clients' rights through negotiation or trial.

Blog Last Updated On:

Understanding Criminal Defense: An Overview

When facing criminal charges, it is crucial to understand your rights and options. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is key to building an effective defense. This guide provides an overview of criminal defense and what to expect when navigating the criminal justice system.

What is Criminal Defense?

Criminal defense refers to the advocacy and legal representation for those charged with a crime. A criminal defense lawyer helps understand the charges, builds a strong defense, and negotiates reduced penalties or dismissals. They act as an intermediary between the accused and the prosecutor representing the state.

Defense lawyers handle cases in both state and federal courts . They defend clients against misdemeanors, felonies, and other criminal offenses. Their goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for the accused.

Key Players in a Criminal Case

In addition to the defense attorney and prosecutor, several other key figures play a role in criminal cases:

  • Judge: Presides over trial proceedings and hearings. Determines admissibility of evidence, gives instructions to the jury, and hands down the final sentence upon conviction.
  • Law enforcement: Investigates crimes, gathers evidence, arrests, and testifies during court proceedings.
  • Defendant: The person or party facing criminal charges and accused of committing a crime.
  • Witnesses: Individuals who provide testimony for a case's prosecution or defense side.
  • Jury: Panel of impartial peers who determine guilt or innocence based on evidence and arguments presented in court.

Stages of a Criminal Case

Criminal cases typically move through the following stages:

Arrest and Charging

Police arrest if they have probable cause. The prosecutor then files formal charges. At the initial appearance, bail terms and conditions are often set.

Plea Bargaining

Many cases end through plea bargains between the defense and prosecutor before trial. Defendants plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges or lighter sentencing.

Motions and Hearings

Defense attorneys may file motions challenging evidence or procedures leading up to trial. Evidentiary hearings take place to settle these motions.


The case goes to a bench or jury trial if no plea deal is reached. Both sides present evidence and make arguments before a verdict is reached.


The judge determines penalties and sentencing terms at a separate hearing if convicted. Fines, probation, incarceration, or combinations may apply depending on the case.

The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal prosecution can be an intimidating and high-stakes ordeal. Having knowledgeable legal representation is key to developing an effective defense strategy. Here are some top reasons it’s essential to hire a criminal defense attorney:

Deep Knowledge of Criminal Law

The criminal justice framework comprises complex state and federal laws and court rules. Most defendants don’t fully grasp the intricacies involved. A skilled defense lawyer leverages their expertise to protect clients’ rights through every phase.

Ability to Identify Weaknesses

A good attorney can review police reports, analyze evidence, and identify inconsistencies. Spotting legal holes allows charges to be reduced or dismissed pre-trial.

Effective Defense Planning and Execution

Seasoned lawyers craft defense theories, challenge questionable evidence, locate witnesses, and deliver compelling arguments. Their mastery of trial procedures leads to optimal outcomes.

Guidance on Legal Strategy

The lawyer strategically advises whether to plea bargain or take a case trial. If negotiating with prosecutors, they leverage their skills to secure the best deal possible. These high-stakes decisions often dictate the case’s final result.

Sentencing Mitigation

For clients convicted of crimes, skilled counsel makes a compelling case for reduced sentencing. This can involve highlighting mitigating circumstances, providing character references, or appealing judicial discretion.

In summary, a proficient criminal defense lawyer is an invaluable guide through the complex legal maze. Their expertise can make all the difference.

How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer

Selecting the right criminal defense attorney is no easy task. Clients face heavy fines, probation terms, and even years behind bars. Building an air-tight case with the best lawyer improves outcomes. Use these tips when evaluating attorneys:

Verify Qualifications and Licensing

Only hire practicing lawyers with a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from an accredited law school. Confirm they hold a valid state license to practice law. Court appointments and Marine Corps training indicate distinguished criminal attorneys.

Assess Relevant Expertise

Seeking counsel well-versed in state or federal criminal law is paramount. Those certified as specialists in criminal trial or defense law prove exemplary qualifications. High Super Lawyer and AV Preeminent attorney ratings also signify expertise.

Examine Track Record and Case History

The ideal attorney has a proven history of favorable verdicts in comparable criminal cases. Request specific case examples and personal references from past clients. High acquittal and dismissal rates reflect positively.

Gauge Trial Ability and Style

Understand how adept they are in the courtroom. Do they excel at cross-examining, delivering opening/closing arguments, persuading judges and juries? Also, assess their manner and how clients describe their approach.

Common Types of Criminal Cases and Defense Strategies

Criminal cases span a broad spectrum, from non-violent misdemeanors to major felonies. Common charges include:

Drug Charges

Drug cases range from possession to trafficking and distribution felonies. The defense often involves questioning the legitimacy of searches or drug testing accuracy. Attorneys also challenge witnesses’ credibility and leverage sentencing options.

DUI Cases

For driving under the influence, defenses dispute blood alcohol content readings and sobriety test protocols. Lawyers may argue clients weren’t driving the vehicle when arrested. Or challenge the technical calibrating processes of breathalyzers.

White Collar Crimes

Tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud fall under white-collar categories. Attorneys dispute paper trails or challenge witnesses’ accounts to undermine prosecution arguments.

Sex Crimes

Accused sex offenders often claim sexual acts were consensual. Lawyers highlight contradictory statements, credibility issues with witnesses/victims, and evidentiary timelines. Reduced sentencing remains the likely goal.

In all cases, lawyers exploit every available angle and argument when mounting a vigorous defense.

The Impact of Criminal Convictions and How to Fight Them

The implications of having a permanent criminal record extend far beyond fines and jail time served. Ongoing stigma and restrictions present marked barriers moving forward. Skilled lawyers aim to avoid undeserved convictions and mitigate penalties.

Long-Term Effects of Criminal Convictions

Beyond reputational damage, those with felony or misdemeanor convictions face:

  • Lost voting and gun ownership rights
  • Barriers accessing jobs, housing, loans
  • Restricted international travel
  • Family law and child custody limitations
  • Social stigma and community exclusion

How Criminal Defense Lawyers Fight Convictions

To help clients avoid unfair, inaccurate convictions, lawyers leverage:

  • Case dismissal motions highlighting procedural technicalities
  • Plea deals to negotiate dropped or reduced charges
  • Sentencing reductions through circumstance mitigation
  • Post-conviction relief and record expungement processes
  • Appeals arguments focused on legal/judicial errors

Through each phase, defense counsel fights to protect defendants’ records, rights, and freedoms for life beyond a case. Avoiding unjust outcomes remains the top priority.

Skilled criminal defense lawyers understand all case complexities and the consequences at stake. Their expertise can mean the difference between smooth societal reintegration or blocked opportunities.