Best Kansas Criminal Lawyers

Best Kansas Criminal Lawyers

Finding yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. As a Kansas resident facing criminal charges, it is crucial that you find an experienced and reputable lawyer to represent you. Having the right legal counsel can make all the difference in how your case proceeds and what the ultimate outcome will be.

This article provides an overview of the top criminal defense lawyers in Kansas, factors to consider when hiring a criminal lawyer, an explanation of key Kansas criminal laws and penalties, and the importance of building a strong defense in criminal cases. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, these Kansas criminal attorneys have the skills and experience to advocate for you at every stage of the legal process.

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Lawyer

Facing criminal prosecution in Kansas brings high stakes. The penalties for a criminal conviction can include hefty fines, probation, jail or prison time, a permanent criminal record, and other consequences that can follow you for years to come. Even a misdemeanor conviction can carry life-altering penalties.

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can help mitigate those risks. An attorney who specializes in criminal law will understand the complexities of the Kansas criminal justice system. They will know how to navigate pre-trial procedures, build a strong defense, negotiate with prosecutors, and advocate for you in court.

An attorney who regularly handles criminal cases will also be familiar with the judges, prosecutors, and investigators involved in your case. They can use their connections and knowledge to your advantage. Their experience with Kansas criminal law and procedure will also make them more adept at identifying defenses and sentencing options that could lead to a better outcome for you.

Finding the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Kansas

With so much on the line, it is critical that you do your research to find the most qualified criminal defense attorney to take your case. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you evaluate attorneys:

  • Specialization in criminal law – You want an attorney who focuses specifically on criminal defense, not one who dabbles in various areas of law. Look for a lawyer who handles criminal cases full time.
  • Experience defending cases like yours – Find an attorney who is very familiar with the specific charges you face and regularly handles those types of cases. Their experience will prove invaluable.
  • Courtroom experience – Opt for a lawyer with extensive firsthand experience arguing criminal cases in Kansas courtrooms. This experience gives them in-depth understanding of local judges and prosecutors.
  • Resources & expertise – The best attorneys will have teams of paralegals, legal assistants, expert witnesses, and investigators at their disposal to build the strongest case for you. Choose a lawyer with access to ample resources.
  • Credentials – Look for attorneys certified as specialists in criminal law by the American Bar Association or National Board of Trial Advocacy. Also verify they are licensed in Kansas and are members of relevant professional organizations.
  • Results – When evaluating lawyers, look beyond charisma and promises. The most meaningful indicator is their track record of achieving successful outcomes for clients facing serious criminal charges.
  • Client relationships – The lawyer you choose should make you feel comfortable, address your concerns, and communicate with you every step of the way. Look for responsiveness and compassion.

Using these criteria to thoroughly research lawyers can help you identify the best criminal defense attorney for your specific needs.

Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Kansas

Here are some of the most experienced, respected, and successful criminal defense attorneys practicing in the state of Kansas:

Sarah Knight – Knight Law Office

With over 15 years of criminal law experience in Kansas, Sarah Knight has built a reputation for relentless advocacy for her clients. She is known for her sharp understanding of criminal statutes and ceaseless determination to reduce her clients’ penalties.

Knight has successfully defended clients against a wide array of state and federal charges including drug crimes, white collar offenses, violent crimes, sex crimes, weapons charges, and probation violations. Her stellar track record includes many not guilty verdicts in jury trials along with favorable plea bargains achieved through dogged negotiation.


James Wilson – Wilson Criminal Defense

A former prosecutor, James Wilson has valuable insight into the Kansas criminal justice system that benefits his clients. For over two decades, he has taken on complex criminal cases and consistently delivered positive outcomes.

Wilson’s strengths include navigating forensic evidence, exposing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and swaying juries during trial. He has successfully defended clients against serious felony charges ranging from homicide and violent assault to drug trafficking and sex offenses. Numerous clients praise Wilson’s honesty, attention to detail, and trial skills.


Angela Foster – Foster & Associates

Known for her sharp intellect and passionate advocacy, Angela Foster is a go-to criminal defense attorney in Kansas. For more than 18 years, she has represented clients in matters ranging from DUI and marijuana possession to domestic violence, weapons charges, and white collar crime.

Foster is praised for her meticulous case preparation, zealous court arguments, and commitment to each client. She has successfully defended police officers, teachers, nurses, and other professionals against career-damaging criminal charges. Clients appreciate her compassion and focus on their specific needs.


David Singleton – Fair Defense Legal Group

With nearly three decades of criminal law experience in Kansas, David Singleton is an expert in building air-tight defense cases for his clients. He takes on serious, complex felonies including murder, child crimes, computer crimes, drug trafficking, weapons charges, and repeat DUIs.

Known for his relentless cross-examination skills, Singleton identifies every possible weakness in the prosecution’s case and hits hard at those vulnerabilities. Many clients praise his ability to resolve cases with no jail time through skillful negotiation. Singleton is also highly regarded for his knowledge of forensic evidence issues.


Mark Ellis – Ellis Criminal Defense

As a former prosecutor, Mark Ellis brings an insider’s view of the Kansas criminal justice system. For the past 16 years, he has represented clients in misdemeanor and felony cases of all types. He has successfully defended clients facing multiple counts and worked to minimize any time behind bars.

Ellis is respected by peers and judges for his meticulous trial preparation, formidable negotiation talents, grasp of technical details, and compassion for clients. He is known for thoroughly examining forensic evidence and finding creative legal and technical arguments for the defense. Ellis prides himself on providing aggressive yet dignified advocacy.


Sandra Chen – Chen Defense Group

Sandra Chen has built a reputation in Kansas as a tenacious, fearless advocate for clients facing serious criminal charges. She has successfully defended those accused of sex crimes, white collar offenses, domestic violence, weapons violations, and drug crimes.

Chen takes an aggressive yet strategic approach, scrutinizing every technicality and procedural misstep by investigators or prosecutors. She excels at leveraging these details to get charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial, saving clients from excessive penalties. When cases do go to trial, Chen displays masterful examination skills, exposing inconsistencies in witness testimony. Her record includes many not guilty verdicts.


Key Kansas Criminal Laws and Penalties

Having a grasp of the applicable Kansas criminal statutes and potential penalties in your case will help you identify the right criminal defense lawyer for your needs. Here is a primer on some key Kansas criminal laws:

Drug Crimes

Kansas laws impose strict penalties for the possession, manufacture, cultivation, trafficking, or sale of illegal drugs. Even minor marijuana possession is a criminal offense. More serious controlled substance violations, like the sale of cocaine or heroin, are categorized as Level 1 to Level 4 felonies punishable by years in prison. Specific drug crime statutes include:

  • 21-5706 – Penalties for marijuana possession and distribution
  • 21-5705 – Criminal penalties for drug possession
  • 21-5703 – Manufacturing, cultivating, and distributing controlled substances
  • 21-5707 – Penalties for unlawful possession of paraphernalia

Sex Crimes

Kansas imposes harsh punishments for sex crimes. Even soliciting prostitution is a felony offense. More severe sex offenses are categorized from Level 1 to Level 6 person felonies with penalties ranging from months to decades in prison. Sex crime laws in Kansas include:

  • 21-6419 – Penalties for soliciting prostitution
  • 21-5503 – Rape, criminal sodomy, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious behavior
  • 21-5506 – Electronic solicitation and arranging or soliciting sexual relations with a child
  • 21-5510 – Sexual exploitation of a child

DUI & Traffic Violations

Kansas has strict laws and penalties related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even a first-time DUI conviction can carry jail time, license suspension, ignition interlock device requirements, and fines over $1,000. Refusing a breathalyzer test leads to additional penalties.

  • 8-1567 – Driving under the influence (DUI) – imprisonment and fine penalties
  • 8-1025 – Refusal to submit to alcohol or drug test – penalties

Kansas also imposes penalties for traffic violations like reckless driving, hit-and-run, and driving with a suspended license:

  • 8-1566 – Reckless driving
  • 8-1602 – Accidents involving death or personal injuries (hit-and-run)
  • 8-262 – Driving while suspended; penalties

Theft Crimes

Theft under Kansas law encompasses crimes like burglary, robbery, forgery, identity theft, embezzlement, and larceny. Charges and penalties vary based on the value of property stolen.

  • 21-5801 – Definitions of theft crimes
  • 21-5802 – Burglary penalties
  • 21-5828 – Robbery; aggravated robbery; penalties

Assault & Battery Crimes

Kansas statutes classify assault and battery offenses based on the severity of injury and use of weapons. Simple assault can be a misdemeanor, while aggravated battery is a level 4 person felony.

  • 21-5412 – Assault crimes & penalties
  • 21-5413 – Battery; aggravated battery; penalties

White Collar & Financial Crimes

Kansas laws cover a range of white collar crimes like embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud, identity theft, forgery, computer crimes, and public corruption. These non-violent offenses carry potentially severe criminal penalties.

  • 21-5801 – Theft, forgery, fraud defined
  • 21-6007 – Distribution of unlawful gambling devices
  • 21-6205 – Breach of privacy; identity theft
  • 21-5423 – Making false information

Having a firm grasp of the relevant statutes and penalties for your charges will allow you to find the right criminal defense lawyer to build the strongest case possible under Kansas state law.

Why You Need a Strong Criminal Defense

Given the complexities of criminal law and the high stakes of facing criminal prosecution, having an aggressive legal defense is critical. An experienced Kansas criminal attorney has the skills and knowledge to protect your rights and future at every phase, including:

  • Investigating the charges – Your lawyer will thoroughly examine the prosecution’s claims and evidence, scouring for any weakness or overreach. This can form the basis for getting charges reduced or dismissed.
  • Identifying defenses – Based on the specifics of your case, your attorney can identify defense strategies under Kansas law to counter the allegations. There are many potential defenses in criminal cases that could lead to an acquittal or mitigated sentence.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors – Criminal defense lawyers routinely negotiate with prosecutors in Kansas. Leveraging potential defenses and procedural problems, they work to garner a favorable plea agreement or even convince the prosecution to drop charges.
  • Presenting evidence skillfully – During evidentiary hearings and at trial, your attorney will thoughtfully present witnesses and evidence to contradict the prosecution’s version of events and create reasonable doubt.
  • Examining forensic evidence – Analyzing forensic computer data, weapons, blood evidence, and crime scene findings helps skilled criminal defense lawyers punch holes in the prosecution’s case.
  • Advocating at sentencing – Even if found guilty at trial, your lawyer will advocate for the minimized penalties possible under Kansas law. This can significantly reduce fines, probation terms, or time behind bars.

With an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney guiding you through the complex legal process, protecting your rights, and leveraging their deep knowledge of Kansas criminal statutes, you stand the best chance of resolving your case favorably.


Facing criminal prosecution in Kansas brings massive uncertainty and risks that could alter the entire course of your life. The criminal defense attorney you choose to represent you could make all the difference.

Do your research and take time to thoroughly evaluate lawyers based on experience, credentials