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2024

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Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Wilmington

Our Recommended Top 14

We did the research for you!

  • Licensing
  • User Reviews
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Our goal is to connect people with the best local professionals. We scored Wilmington Criminal Defense Attorneys on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best.

86

Reviewed

57

Curated

14

Top Picks

Learn about our selection process.

Providers

featured provider = Featured Provider

Website
321 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

Gross Law Group, PLLC, is a Wilmington-based law firm that offers legal representation concerning criminal law. It works on alcohol-related, drug, and weapons charges. It also handles expungements for individuals seeking a new start. Gross Law Group is founded by lead counsel David K. Gross in 2010. He was part of the Army National Guard and the Air Force before joining the Rocky Mount Police Department. His diverse experience with the law allows him to defend and protect his clients during legal proceedings.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
David Gross - Principal14 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (98)
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (35)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
2.5
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
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Detail
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Website
3490 Old Ocean Highway, Bolivia, NC 28422

Why choose this provider?

Sullivan Law is a law firm focusing mainly on criminal defense services in the Bolivia, and Wilmington areas. Its criminal defense practice involves helping clients in cases involving DUI, DMV, drug charges, and breaking and entering property. It also deals with expunctions and traffic ticket issues. Its founder, Dustin R.T. Sullivan, previously worked at the district attorney's office in Brunswick County before he established the law firm. Additionally, the law firm has a strong focus on creating an open communication line with its clients.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Dustin Sullivan - Founder17 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (302)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (98)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (9)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
2.5
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
4617 Main Street, Shallotte, NC 28470

Why choose this provider?

Established in 2005, the Watts Law Group PLLC offers an array of legal services in the Leland, Shallotte, and Wilmington areas. The main practice areas of the law firm include estate planning, probate, construction law, family law, business law, and criminal law. It focuses on providing innovative legal solutions when handling clients' criminal cases. The firm's criminal lawyers handle matters involving traffic violations, theft offenses, weapons offenses, juvenile offenses, and property crimes. They also deal with domestic violence cases.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Sandra Watts - Partner22 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.5 / 5 (13)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
3.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
401 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

Located in Wilmington, Hosford & Hosford PC is a law firm focusing on defending those criminally accused in both state courts and federal courts. Now led by Geoffrey W. Hosford, the firm's name also honors the late Sofie Hosford. Geoffrey W. Hosford has been practicing law since 1997 and is state and federal criminal law certified. He handles DWIs, white-collar crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes, traffic offenses, and misdemeanors. Hosford & Hosford, PC also represents clients in violent offenses and federal offenses.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Geoffrey Hosford - Partner30 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.9
Avvo
4.6 / 5 (11)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
615 Princess Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

James Rutherford, Attorney at Law located in Wilmington is a certified criminal law specialist. With 14 years of experience, James Rutherford continues to represent clients in a variety of criminal law matters including university suspension hearings, title IX, drug crimes, and sex crimes. Attorney James Rutherford is field sobriety test certified, allowing him to conduct sobriety tests for clients facing DUIs. James Rutherford, Attorney at Law ranks in the National Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
James Rutherford - Principal19 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (115)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (16)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (8)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
212 Walnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

Owned and managed by former two-term state senator Thom Goolsby, Goolsby Law Firm is located in Wilmington and represents clients in criminal cases. Thom Goolsby handles probation violations, DUI and DWI cases, traffic violations, theft charges, and white-collar crimes. He also handles felonies such as sex crimes, drug crimes, and violent crimes such as assault, domestic violence, manslaughter, and murder. Beyond criminal law, Goolsby Law Firm also represents clients in personal injury cases.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Thomas Goolsby - Principal32 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.8 / 5 (119)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
200 Country Club Drive, Oak Island, NC 28465

Why choose this provider?

Bachara & Essey represents Wilmington clients in criminal defense cases. Among the types of criminal defense cases that the law office covers are driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases, serious traffic charges, felonies, and expungements. Mark R. Bachara, the criminal law expert in this firm, was awarded a Rising Stars distinction in 2018. The firm also handles cases in the practice areas of business law, family law, juvenile law, probate law, and estate planning.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Mark Bachara - Partner16 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1
Google
4.0 / 5 (26)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
3.3
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––

Website
401 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

Wentz Law is a criminal defense law firm located in Wilmington. Founded by criminal defense attorney and trial lawyer Brett Wentz, the firm provides legal representation to people living in Pender and Hanover Counties who are involved in criminal cases. These include drug charges, money laundering, post-release violations, probation, property crimes, sex offenses, violent crimes, weapons charges, and white-collar crimes. In addition to criminal defense, Wentz Law also handles workers' compensation and personal injury cases.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Brett Wentz - Founder19 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.5 / 5 (40)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
5725 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403

Why choose this provider?

Collins Law Firm is made up of a team of criminal defense lawyers in Wilmington with a combined experience of over 65 years. David B. Collins, the firm's principal and chief criminal litigator, built the firm in 1995. Together with his team, they represent clients in cases involving DWIs and other traffic offenses, drug and alcohol offenses, probation violations, felonies, and misdemeanors. They also handle personal injury cases, including wrongful death, accidents, and workers' compensation, as well as wills and estate law.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
David Collins - Principal and Chief Criminal Litigator31 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.8 / 5 (410)
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (64)
Facebook
4.9 / 5 (52)

(+2 additional sources)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
110 North 5th Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

The law offices of Burney & Jones, PLLC, established in 1926, offers a variety of legal services to clients in Wilmington. The main areas of practice of the law firm are family law and criminal law. Its criminal law practice deals with cases involving drug offenses, traffic offenses, assault, fraud, homicide, and larceny. The law firm has a strong focus on using its expertise and experience in providing suitable representation for its clients.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Emily Jones - Partner11 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (11)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
401 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

The Wagoner Law Firm, P.L.L.C., is a criminal defense firm serving Wilmington and the surrounding areas. It has defended clients in hundreds of cases including traffic violations, violent felonies, misdemeanors, DWI charges, domestic violence, and drug crimes. Managing partner and lawyer Merritt Wagoner has over 10 years of experience defending clients in federal and state crimes. His experience includes suppression motion and probation violation hearings, jury trials, and criminal violation resolution.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Joel Wagoner - Managing Partner20 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
5.0 / 5 (30)
Avvo
4.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
4626 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28405

Why choose this provider?

Girdwood & Williams, PLLC is a Wilmington-based law company that represents accused and injured individuals. Its criminal defense lawyers seek to protect clients' rights and offer guidance in navigating the judicial system. They can handle criminal charges involving DUI, drugs, and traffic tickets. For traffic violations, they strive to dismiss or reduce tickets, including major or minor infractions such as speeding, illegal parking, and reckless driving. Moreover, they provide expungement services, deleting criminal charge information from clients' criminal records.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Benjamin Williams - Partner21 yrs
Richard Girdwood - Partner20 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.5 / 5 (36)
Facebook
4.6 / 5 (16)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
4434 Main Street, Shallotte, NC 28470

Why choose this provider?

Located in Wilmington, the W. James Payne Law Firm provides legal representation to individuals facing high-level felonies, military offenses, and white-collar crime charges. The firm was founded by Payne, a retired Colonel of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and a former judge. He is known for his negotiation skills and precise case preparation. Starting his practice in 1984, Payne gives his clients an aggressive yet personalized representation, using his considerable experience to create a strategy that will meet his clients' requirements.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
W. james Payne - Principal40 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (9)
Google
4.0 / 5 (8)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Website
414 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Why choose this provider?

Roberts Law Group, PLLC, located near Wilmington, is a law firm established in 2007 with a sole focus on criminal defense. The lawyers and staff at the firm have decades of experience combined. Roberts Law Group, PLLC, handles various criminal matters, including DUIs, drug crimes such as possession and trafficking, and sex crimes such as assault, rape, and child pornography. The firm also represents clients against federal charges such as tax fraud, internet sex crimes, Medicare or Medicaid fraud, and kidnapping.

Attorney Information

Attorney NamesExperience
Patrick Roberts - Managing Partner22 yrs
Patrick Roberts - Managing Partner22 yrs

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (46)
Google
4.9 / 5 (30)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (17)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail

Disclaimer:  Consumers utilizing Expertise.com are free to communicate and contract with any lawyer they choose. Expertise.com is not involved in the confidential attorney-client relationship. Featured lawyers pay a reasonable advertising cost to market their legal services withExpertise.com and must meet similar selection criteria as other lawyers. All cases are different. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the non-emergency contact number for the local police station in Wilmington, North Carolina?

    The Wilmington Police Department can be reached at 910-343-3600 or at 910-452-6120 for information and non-emergency dispatches, respectively.

  • Do property crimes commonly occur in Wilmington?

    Yes, property crimes are relatively common in Wilmington. Based on crime statistics derived from more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, the city averages 31.07 property crimes per 1,000 residents compared to the state's median of 22.04. It also records more than 2,000 theft incidents and over 450 burglaries per 100,000 residents on an annual basis. As such, an individual in Wilmington has a 1-in-32 chance of becoming a victim of property crime.

  • When does a person become eligible for an expunction in Wilmington?

    An individual in Wilmington becomes eligible for an expungement if they have not had any subsequent convictions within two years from the date of their misdemeanor. The person in question must also not have any prior felony convictions to be deemed eligible. However, exceptions may apply for non-violent and low-level felonies that occurred over 15 years ago, or more than four years ago if the individual was convicted before their 18th birthday.

  • What are the conditions for probation in Wilmington?

    According to North Carolina law, a defendant in Wilmington under probation must not commit any criminal offenses in any jurisdiction, and they must submit to routine searches of their home as carried out by a probation officer. The individual in question must also remain within the state, undergo periodic drug and alcohol testing, and avoid using alcohol or drugs (unless prescribed). In addition, they must follow a given curfew and pay any reparations and supervision fees.

  • What is the difference between a temporary and final domestic violence protective order in Wilmington?

    In domestic violence cases in Wilmington, a temporary protective order is filed to grant immediate protection to a spouse from their abuser, and it expires after a formal court hearing begins. This typically occurs after 10 days from when the order is granted or within seven days from the date that the respondent in the case is served. Conversely, a final domestic violence protective order is issued after a full court hearing and can last for one to three years.

  • What is the statute of limitations for crimes in Wilmington?

    In line with North Carolina law, the statute of limitations in Wilmington lasts for two years for misdemeanor crimes, ranging from Class 3 to Class A1. However, this can last up to 10 years for misdemeanors involving child abuse, neglect, and sexual battery, as well as the failure to report such crimes. Felony crimes such as armed robbery, second-degree rape, and voluntary manslaughter have no statute of limitations.