Best Detroit MI Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These Detroit Criminal Lawyers?

We help connect consumers with top-rated criminal defense attorneys in Detroit. 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 Detroit.

  • Attorneys reviewed: 20
  • 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 Detroit handle everything from DUIs to simple misdemeanors to white-collar crimes to violent felonies. Get the best legal defense in Detroit 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 Detroit Criminal Defense Lawyers

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

  1. Ellen K. Michaels
  2. Julian J. Poota
  3. Lewis & Dickstein
  4. David Draper
  5. Detroit Legal Group

Best Detroit Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

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

Ellen K. Michaels

500 Griswold St #2340

Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (248) 202-3345

Attorney Ellen K. Michaels has spent her entire professional career in criminal defense, first as a public defender and now as a private practice criminal defense attorney. With nearly 30 years of experience, she is a trial-tested criminal defense expert.

Michaels maintains a 10.0 rating on Avvo and has been honored by the National Trial Lawyers. Her primary practice areas include advocating for those accused of drug crimes, sex crimes, domestic violence, federal crimes, gun charges, white-collar offenses, fraud, and more, and she helps advise those under investigation but who have yet to be charged with crimes.

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Julian J. Poota

24725 W. 12 Mile Rd, Suite 110

Southfield, MI 48034

Phone: (248) 356-8900

Michigan native Julian J. Poota has nearly 20 years of criminal defense experience. He maintains a 10.0 rating on Justia and received an Avvo clients’ choice award. He’s also been honored by the National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and dBusiness magazine.

Poota defends individuals accused of crimes like weapons charges, fraud, DUI, traffic violations, drug crimes, sex crimes, probation violation, and assault. He takes on cases for those throughout the Detroit metro area and around the entire state of Michigan, handling both state and federal cases.

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Lewis & Dickstein

2000 Town Center, Ste. 2350

Southfield, MI 48075

Phone: (248) 263-6800

The six attorneys of Lewis & Dickstein have decades of legal experience, and in that time, they’ve rolled up an impressive list of personal and group accolades. The firm was named one of Detroit’s best in 2019 by dBusiness, the city’s leading business publication, and it maintains a 10.0 rating on Avvo in addition to earning honors from Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers.

Attorneys at the firm handle a range of criminal cases, including violent crimes, theft, burglary, DUI, drug crimes, and stalking. Additionally, they can assist individuals in having their previous criminal records expunged so they can more fully participate in society without the burden of their past.

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David Draper

18524 Mack Ave

Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

Phone: (313) 885-6800

David Draper is a highly sought-after legal expert in Detroit and beyond, serving as a CNN and TruTV contributor as well as hosting a weekly talk show in Detroit. Draper has more than 30 years of criminal defense expertise that he brings to bear in every case he takes.

Draper represents individuals accused of a range of criminal offenses, including traffic violations and DUIs as well as more serious crimes up to and including violent felonies. In addition to his office in Grosse Pointe Farms, Draper serves clients throughout the Detroit area, including Dearborn, Lincoln Park, Royal Oak, Warren, and more.

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Detroit Legal Group

407 E Fort St Ste 103

Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 306-8466

Detroit Legal Group consists of four attorneys and many support staff who help their clients tackle criminal legal challenges. The group combines to boast decades of legal experience, which means they’ve just about seen it all. Partner Coleman Potts was named one of Michigan’s Rising Stars in 2021, and the firm’s attorneys maintain an elite position in the Detroit legal world.

Their primary criminal defense areas include traffic infractions and civil citations, as well as more serious crimes like misdemeanors and felonies. The firm is able to represent individuals charged by both state and federal authorities.

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What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in Detroit?

Property crimes like larceny, burglary, and auto theft are far more common in Detroit than violent incidents like murder or rape. In fact in 2019, the most recent year for federal data on crime across the country, the city experienced about 29,000 property crimes compared to just over 13,000 violent crimes. This shows that in Detroit, as in the rest of the country, property crimes account for the vast majority of all crimes.

Those figures equate to an overall population-adjusted property crime rate in Detroit of about 4,300 per 100,000 residents and a violent crime rate of about 2,000 per 100,000 people, both of which are much higher than the overall rates for the U.S. In 2019, property crimes occurred at a rate of about 2,100 per 100,000, while violent incidents happened at a rate of about 367 per 100,000. 

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

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 13,040 1,965
Murder 275 41
Rape 952 143
Robbery 2,346 354
Aggravated assault 9,467 1,427
All property crimes 28,550 4,303
Burglary 6,820 1,028
Larceny-theft 14,844 2,237
Motor vehicle theft 6,886 1,038
Arson 789 119

Detroit tends to have higher crime rates than other major U.S. cities as well as communities elsewhere in the state of Michigan. In fact, Detroit ranks first when it comes to rates of every type of crime among the 10 biggest cities in the state, with no other city even coming close to matching Detroit’s rates. When it comes to the largest cities in the country, Detroit ranks in the top 15 for murder (11th), aggravated assault (12th), violent crime (14th), and rape (15th).

Like many other major U.S. cities, Detroit saw incidents of many types of crime rise over the course of 2020, and in some cases. The city’s homicide rate rose by 19 percent between 2019 and 2020, with police officials blaming the increase on pandemic-related societal strain. 

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