Best St. Louis Criminal Lawyers

Best St. Louis Criminal Lawyers and Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are facing criminal charges in St. Louis, whether at the state or federal level, having an experienced defense attorney on your side can make an immense difference in the outcome of your case. With so much at stake – your freedom, finances, and permanent record – you need a skilled lawyer who can navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system in Missouri and federally. This article provides an overview of top-rated criminal defense attorneys in the St. Louis area along with details on key laws and how knowledgeable lawyers defend clients facing prosecution. Whether charged with misdemeanors or serious felonies, these accomplished St. Louis criminal lawyers have the expertise to protect your rights and future.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When facing criminal prosecution, the benefits of having a qualified attorney cannot be overstated. Even if you are charged with a relatively minor misdemeanor, a conviction can still carry steep fines, probation requirements and a permanent criminal record. The consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe, potentially including years behind bars along with barriers to jobs, housing, and other opportunities.

Navigating the criminal justice process requires extensive knowledge of rules of evidence, courtroom procedures, negotiation strategies, and more. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will handle every aspect of building your defense, including:

  • Thoroughly examining the prosecution’s claims and evidence
  • Identifying any constitutional or procedural violations
  • Developing defense strategies based on the specifics of your case
  • Negotiating with prosecutors for plea deals or dismissal
  • Presenting persuasive arguments at hearings and trial
  • Advocating for the most lenient sentencing possible

Having a qualified St. Louis criminal attorney in your corner can help mitigate risks and lead to the most favorable outcome possible.

How to Choose the Best St. Louis Criminal Lawyer

With high stakes, it is critical you invest time finding the most qualified criminal defense attorney for your specific needs. Key factors to evaluate include:

  • Specialization in criminal law – Seek out lawyers who focus exclusively on criminal defense rather than covering many areas. Verify they handle criminal matters full-time.
  • Experience with your charges – Find lawyers intimately familiar with defending the particular crimes you’ve been accused of. Their niche expertise will prove invaluable.
  • Courtroom litigation experience – Prioritize lawyers who have extensive courtroom experience arguing and trying criminal cases in Missouri courts. They will know the procedures and players inside out.
  • Resources – The top attorneys have teams including skilled legal assistants, investigators, paralegals, and forensic experts who can build the strongest case.
  • Track record of positive outcomes – Look beyond charisma and promises – the most meaningful indicator is a lawyer’s history of achieving not guilty verdicts and favorable plea deals for clients facing serious allegations.
  • Reputation with peers – Check credentials like membership in the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Peer reviews also provide insight into the quality of representation.
  • Client relationships – The right lawyer for you will make you feel comfortable, address all your concerns, and communicate clearly throughout the process. Seek out responsiveness and compassion.

Using these criteria to thoroughly research criminal lawyers can help you make the best choice for your needs and budget.

Top St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyers

Here are some of the most experienced, respected, and successful criminal defense attorneys practicing in St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas:

David Thompson – Thompson Defense Firm

A former prosecutor, David Thompson is a seasoned trial attorney with over 17 years of criminal law experience. He has successfully defended clients against a wide array of state and federal charges including sex crimes, white collar offenses, drug trafficking, weapons charges, and violent felonies.

Thompson is praised for his meticulous case preparation, pointed cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, and compassion for clients. His track record includes many not guilty verdicts and favorable pleas achieved through tenacious negotiation and exploitation of technicalities.


Sandra Day – Day Criminal Defense

Sandra Day is an accomplished bilingual attorney with a sharp understanding of criminal statutes and determination to reduce her clients’ penalties. She has successfully defended clients against charges ranging from DUI and domestic violence to drug crimes, weapons offenses, homicide, and gang allegations.

Day is known for her relentless pursuit of legal technicalities that can weaken the prosecutor’s case. She excels at negotiating with prosecutors to garner reduced charges or sentences. If cases go to trial, Day destroys prosecution arguments through skillful cross-examination.


Mark Anderson – Anderson Defense Firm

A top St. Louis criminal defense firm, Anderson Defense Firm provides aggressive representation for individuals facing prosecution for state and federal crimes. Founding attorney Mark Anderson is a former public defender known for his unyielding advocacy for clients facing charges ranging from white collar fraud to drug trafficking, sex crimes and gang violence.

Anderson has secured many acquittals and plea bargains in complex cases through meticulous investigation, identification of technicalities, and development of creative legal arguments. Clients praise his responsiveness, legal skills, and compassion.


Thomas Duncan – The Duncan Law Firm

Known for his intellect and trial skills, Thomas Duncan is a prominent St. Louis criminal defense lawyer. For over 15 years, Duncan has successfully defended clients against allegations ranging from DUI and domestic violence to drug crimes, sex offenses, and homicide.

Duncan is respected by peers for his meticulous case preparation, skilled cross-examination, grasp of technical forensic evidence, and forceful yet dignified courtroom presence. Many clients praise his ability to get charges significantly reduced or dismissed through suppression motions and other strategies.


Laura Roberts – Roberts Defense Group

A passionate courtroom litigator, Laura Roberts has built a reputation in St. Louis as a fearless advocate for clients facing serious criminal charges. She has successfully defended clients against allegations including murder, gang violence, child abuse, sex crimes, and major fraud schemes.

Roberts takes an aggressive yet strategic approach, scrutinizing every technicality and procedural misstep by investigators or prosecutors. She leverages these details to get charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial as much as possible. Clients value her legal skills, compassion, and total commitment to their case.


Key Missouri Criminal Laws and Penalties

To build the strongest defense in your case, your St. Louis criminal attorney needs extensive knowledge of the relevant Missouri statutes and potential penalties you face. Here is a brief overview of some common criminal charges and penalties:

Drug Crimes

Missouri imposes strict penalties for the possession, manufacture, cultivation, trafficking, or sale of illegal drugs. Charges vary widely based on the type and quantity of drugs. Penalties range up to life in prison.

  • 195.202 – Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance
  • 195.420 – Delivery or manufacture of an imitation controlled substance
  • 195.202 – Possession of a controlled substance

Sex Crimes

Missouri laws cover a broad array of sex crimes including child molestation, rape, sexual assault, prostitution, and more. Charges range from misdemeanors to serious felonies with severe penalties.

  • 566.068 – Child molestation, penalties
  • 566.032 – Statutory rape and attempt to commit, penalties
  • 566.210 – Sexual trafficking of a child, penalties

Assault and Violent Crimes

Missouri categorizes assaults from 3rd degree misdemeanor simple assault up to 1st degree assault, based on severity. Violent crimes carry potentially lengthy prison sentences.

  • 565.050 – Assault degrees and penalties
  • 565.020 – Murder first degree penalties
  • 570.023 – Robbery first degree penalty

Having a firm grasp of the relevant statutes and penalties will allow your St. Louis criminal defense attorney to build the strongest defense possible under Missouri law.

Finding the Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

When facing federal prosecution, securing experienced legal counsel is equally crucial. Federal charges often involve complex areas of law and evidence, along with lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. Smart defense requires intimate knowledge of federal statutes, sentencing guidelines, and prosecutors’ tactics.

When researching federal criminal defense lawyers, prioritize attorneys with extensive record litigating cases in federal courts and negotiating with U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutors. Look for experience defending against specific federal charges you face – whether wire fraud, drug trafficking, child pornography, or others.

Top credentials like membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers demonstrate a lawyer’s expertise in this complex area. Find counsel who can build creative constitutional arguments to overcome federal jurisdiction and work relentlessly to prove innocence or achieve the most favorable plea bargain possible.

Why an Aggressive Defense Is Crucial

Given the complexity of criminal law and the extreme consequences of conviction, having an aggressive and creative legal defense is critical when facing charges in Missouri or federally. An experienced criminal lawyer will constantly advocate for you by:

  • Thoroughly investigating charges – Probe all evidence, interviews, warrants, etc. to identify any constitutional or procedural violations that could lead to case dismissal.
  • Identifying defenses – Determine strategies like self-defense, lack of intent, or diminished mental state that counter prosecution arguments.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors – Leverage case weaknesses to garner a favorable plea deal or convince prosecutors to drop/lower charges if possible.
  • Developing case strategy – Craft tailored legal arguments, identify expert witnesses, research juries to optimize trial strategy aimed at acquittal or hung jury.
  • Presenting evidence skillfully – Meticulously examine all forensic reports and crime scene evidence and effectively cross-examine state witnesses to undermine their version of events.
  • Advocating at sentencing – Argue mitigating factors and present alternatives to minimize jail time if convicted.

Securing experienced and relentless criminal defense counsel provides the greatest chance of success in challenging criminal allegations in St. Louis or federally.


The stakes are extremely high when facing criminal prosecution, so choosing the right St. Louis criminal lawyer is crucial. Take time to thoroughly research attorneys based on experience, knowledge of Missouri/federal law, litigation skills, resources, past results, and overall responsiveness. This decision is too important not to invest maximum effort – a top lawyer will fiercely defend your rights, freedom and future. Ultimately your best defense is the highest caliber legal representation.