Best Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These Charlotte Criminal Lawyers?

We help connect consumers with top-rated criminal defense attorneys in Charlotte. To determine which are the best of the best, we scored each criminal defense attorney or law firm across a half-dozen metrics covering three categories. Each firm or attorney’s results were analyzed to bring you a handpicked list of the very best criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte.

  • Attorneys reviewed: 22
  • Top picks: 5

If you or a loved one have been arrested, do not delay seeking the assistance of an attorney. The sooner an attorney can get involved in your case, the better your chances of having a strong defense.

The attorney you hire may start right away, studying the authorities’ against you, doing legal research, and preparing legal motions. That’s why the sooner they begin, the better, as they work to chip away at the prosecution’s case against you.

Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Charlotte handle everything from DUIs to simple misdemeanors to white-collar crimes to violent felonies. Get the best legal defense in Charlotte by choosing from this list of best criminal defense attorneys.

Read the profiles below and choose the attorney or law firm that best aligns with your needs.

Best Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers

Here are the best criminal defense law firms and attorneys in Charlotte:

  1. Browning & Long
  2. Brad Icard
  3. Kevin L. Barnett
  4. RTS Law Group
  5. Powers Law Firm

Best Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

If you or a loved one are looking for an outstanding criminal defense attorney in Charlotte, these lawyers are the best of the best.

Browning & Long

725 E. Trade Street, Suite 120

Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: (980) 224-4482

Both partners at Browning & Long are former assistant district attorneys with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, so in every criminal proceeding they take on, they bring a keen insight into what it takes to successfully build a winning case.

Partner C. Todd Browning has a Clients’ Choice rating on Avvo, while partner Howard W. Long II has a 9.6 rating on the platform. The firm’s primary work is in defending those accused of DWI, but they’ve also handled cases related to other traffic violations as well as more serious crimes like weapons possession and drug charges.

Visit law firm website: https://www.browninglonglaw.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/browninglonglaw/


Brad Icard

524 West 10th Street

Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: (704) 377-9229

Charlotte native Brad Icard is a former assistant district attorney who brings his 20-plus years of legal experience to every case he takes on. Since opening his own practice in 1995, he’s represented more than 30,000 people in criminal courts across the state.

Icard represents those accused of a range of criminal violations, including violent and property crimes, traffic violations like DWIs or tickets, and more. He has a Clients’ Choice rating on Avvo and represents clients throughout the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County area.

Visit law firm website: https://icardlawfirm.com/


Kevin L. Barnett

130 North McDowell Street Suite C

Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: (704) 899-5574

Attorney Kevin L. Barnett focuses his entire legal practice on criminal defense, including a primary focus on DWIs and traffic violations. In fact, DWIs and related issues take up about half of his entire practice.

Barnett is a North Carolina native who has been practicing law for more than two decades. He has assisted clients facing repeat DWI violations or who have problematic field sobriety tests, as well as those accused of other criminal offenses like drug charges, property crimes, and others.

Visit law firm website: https://www.barnettfalls.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BarnettLawNC/


RTS Law Group

715 East Blvd.

Charlotte, NC 28203

Phone: (704) 552-4444

RTS Law Group’s three attorneys have garnered top ratings on Avvo as well as being honored by SuperLawyers, and they have more than 40 years of combined legal experience. One of the firm’s primary specialty areas is in DWI law, including helping clients get their license restored.

Other criminal defense focus areas include assault, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, theft, fraud, drug charges, weapons charges, and more.

Visit law firm website: https://rtslawgroup.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RTSLawGroup


Powers Law Firm

2412 Arty Ave

Charlotte, NC 28208

Phone: (877) 462-3841

The three attorneys at Powers Law Firm focus primarily on criminal defense, though they also take on a limited number of family law cases. They have more than 40 years of legal experience, including inside and outside the courtroom.

Recent honors include partner Chris Beddow being named one of the Top 40 Under 40 attorneys by The National Trial Lawyers, while partner Bill Powers is a former president of North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Their primary criminal defense strength is in DWI cases, though the firm also takes on cases for clients accused of assault, sex crimes, and property crimes.

Visit law firm website: https://www.carolinaattorneys.com/

Visit law firm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaAttorneys/


What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in Charlotte?

Like other cities and states, property crime is far more common in Charlotte than other types of crimes. In 2019, the most recent year for complete data from the state of North Carolina, about 44,000 total crimes were reported in the city of Charlotte and 84 percent of them were property crimes like burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.

That equates to a population-adjusted property crime rate in Charlotte proper of 4,290 incidents per 100,000 people, which is considerably higher than the overall national property crime rate of about 2,100 per 100,000 people.

Crimes in Charlotte, by number and per 100,000 people

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 6,967 813
Murder 102 12
Rape 320 37
Robbery 1,971 230
Aggravated assault 4,574 533
All property crimes 36,787 4,290
Burglary 5,432 634
Larceny-theft 28,467 3,320
Motor vehicle theft 2,888 337
Arson 143 17

Among the 10 biggest cities in North Carolina, Charlotte tends to have higher crime rates than most. It ranks first in the overall property crime rate as well as in larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. The city is also second in the robbery rate and third in the overall violent crime rate. However, its population-adjusted murder rate is fifth; High Point has the highest murder rate among the 10 biggest cities in North Carolina, according to federal data.

Unlike many other major American cities, crime overall is down in 2021 when compared to 2020, though the decline in the city was slight. Crime overall fell in Charlotte by 6 percent, thanks largely to a 9 percent decline in property crime.

However, violent crime has experienced a slight uptick when comparing 2021 with the previous year, an increase that’s due mostly to a 42 percent rise in the number of sexual assaults reported. Aggravated assault is also on the rise, climbing 13 percent, while murder has dropped slightly and robbery has fallen by 22 percent, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

It’s important to note that police- and FBI-reported data does not cover closed cases or incidents for which a person was convicted.