Best Milwaukee WI Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These Milwaukee Criminal Lawyers?

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

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

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

  1. Grieve Law
  2. Meyer Van Severen
  3. Stephen M. Govin
  4. Kim & LaVoy
  5. Christopher J. Cherella

Best Milwaukee Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

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

Grieve Law

1661 N. Water St., Ste 406

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: (262) 786-7100

Grieve Law is one of the largest law firms in the state of Wisconsin, with 13 attorneys on staff, each of whom focuses on criminal defense. Managing attorney and founder Tom Grieve is a former state prosecutor, while the firm boasts several other attorneys who were former prosecutors. That helps them understand intimately how the state builds cases against those accused of crimes.

The firm’s primary practice area is in defending those accused of driving while intoxicated, specializing not only in successfully getting sentenced reduced but in getting charges thrown out in cases where rules were not strictly followed by arresting officers. Other criminal defense areas the firm practices include drug charges, weapons cases, domestic violence, and more.

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Meyer Van Severen

316 N. Milwaukee Street, Suite 200

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: (414) 270-0202

The six attorneys at Meyer Van Severen focus solely on the practice of criminal defense. The firm has been repeatedly honored by SuperLawyers for their dedication to protecting the rights of those accused of criminal offenses.

Their portfolio of cases they take on is vast, including DWI, probation violations, traffic crimes, theft, burglary, domestic violence, assault, drug cases, and restraining orders. The firm operates two offices, including its main location in Milwaukee, as well as an office in Port Washington.

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Stephen M. Govin

1110 North Old World 3rd Street, Suite 201

Milwaukee, WI 53203

Phone: (414) 395-5620

Attorney Stephen M. Govin takes a boutique approach to his criminal defense practice, taking on a limited number of clients so that each one can receive his full personal attention. The Wisconsin native serves clients throughout the Milwaukee area and across the entire state of Wisconsin,.

Govin’s primary practice areas include drug charges, operating while intoxicated, sex crimes, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, probation violations, and weapons charges, and he takes on many cases of college students accused of crimes. Govin has been honored by SuperLawyers and The National Trial Lawyers.

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Kim & LaVoy

2360 N. 124th Street, Suite 200

Wauwatosa, WI 53226

Phone: (414) 257-2100

Founding partner Julius Kim is a former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney and along with partner Jonathan A. LaVoy, leads a stable of six attorneys in representing individuals accused of a range of criminal offenses.

The firm serves all of southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Waukesha, West Bend, and Racine. Primary practice areas include drunk driving, drug offenses, fraud, theft, parole violations, drug offenses, battery, disorderly conduct, and restraining order violations.

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Christopher J. Cherella

Chase Tower 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1925

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: (414) 882-8382

Attorney Christopher J. Cherella boasts more than 20 years of legal experience. The early part of his career was spent in the City of Milwaukee as a prosecutor, where he gained unique insight into how prosecutors build cases. That experience still serves him today as he works to dismantle the cases prosecutors assemble.

Cherella has tried hundreds of criminal cases, and his primary practice areas include domestic violence, federal offenses, internet crimes, drug cases, theft, traffic violations, OWI, probation violations, and more. He represents clients across the state and has received an Avvo clients’ choice award.

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What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in Milwaukee?

About 23,000 crimes were reported in Milwaukee in 2019, the most recent year for federal data on crime across the country. About two in three of all crimes in the city are property crimes like larceny-theft, arson, or motor vehicle theft, which is the case elsewhere in the U.S. as well. Property crime is typically far more common than violent crime like murder, aggravated assault, or rape.

Those figures equate to a population-adjusted property crime rate in Milwaukee of about 2,500 per 100,000 residents and a violent crime rate about 1,300 per 100,000. Both of those rates are much higher than the national rates, though that’s not unusual for a major city. The overall U.S. rates are about 2,100 (property crime) and 367 (violent crime).

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

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 7,874 1,332
Murder 97 16
Rape 427 72
Robbery 1,911 323
Aggravated assault 5,439 920
All property crimes 15,097 2,555
Burglary 3,594 608
Larceny-theft 8,053 1,363
Motor vehicle theft 3,450 584
Arson 198 34

Compared to other large Wisconsin cities, Milwaukee tends to have above-average crime rates. Of the 10 biggest communities in the state, Milwaukee’s crime rates are all in the top half, and it ranks first for violent and property crimes overall, murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and arson. In addition to having high crime rates in Wisconsin, Milwaukee has higher rates than many other major American cities. Among the 60 biggest cities, Milwaukee ranks 10th for violent crimes overall, 11th for robberies, and 12th for aggravated assaults.

Like many other major U.S. cities, Milwaukee has experienced a rise in many types of crimes since the beginning of 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the city’s homicide rate doubled and the city is on pace for another high murder rate in 2021.

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