Criminal Defense Attorneys in Kansas City, Lawrence, Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita

Perhaps the most critical decision you make when charged with a crime is who to hire as your criminal defense attorney. You need a lawyer you can trust to thoroughly investigate the charges and evaluate all defenses. With experience in Kansas trial and appellate courts, Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s criminal defense attorneys bring a far-reaching perspective to all their criminal cases.

We know the value of combining in-court advocacy with written motion practice. Our skilled attorneys make your case in the courtroom and on paper. Whether we are working for an acquittal, dismissal of charges, suppression of evidence, or reversal of a lower court’s decision, our litigation approach coordinates efforts inside and outside of the courtroom.

We are also committed to our roles as legal advisors. While we work tirelessly to identify every available defense, we also candidly help our clients evaluate whether a diversion or plea agreement may provide the best resolution under the circumstances.

When our clients end up at a sentencing, we don’t just go through the motions. Our criminal defense lawyers put on evidence, obtain evaluations, and fight for the court to understand the person behind the conviction. A good defense attorney with a solid sentencing presentation can be the difference between prison and probation.

Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s criminal defense attorneys in Kansas City, Lawrence, Overland Park, Topeka, and Wichita represent individuals charged with crimes in federal, state, and municipal courts. We defend a wide array of charges, including violent crimes, sex crimes, computer crimes, drug crimes, firearms charges, fraud, theft, and juvenile matters. Our attorneys regularly handle high-profile cases covered by the press, but no case is too small. We bring the same aggressive approach to every courtroom. We like to win, no matter the venue.

We are well regarded by judges and other attorneys, as reflected in peer review ratings in the Martindale Hubbell® Bar Register of Pre Eminent Lawyers, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms, Chambers USA’s The World’s Leading Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers®.

Kansas & Missouri Criminal Defense Process

Representation during an investigation
The moment you recognize that you are the target of a criminal investigation, you need an attorney. If you recognize this before law enforcement contacts you for an interview, prior consultation with a criminal defense attorney will provide insight into whether agreeing to meet for questioning is in your best interest. Invoking your right to counsel prevents police from using your words against you. The FBI, for example, has a policy that prohibits recording interviews. The only report of what you say to the FBI will be a report made by an agent whose goal may be to convict you of a federal crime.

Representation during an investigation is critical. Guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you manage your situation and minimize the impact of the investigation. Defense counsel can try to dissuade prosecutors from filing charges. We can ask to be notified when charges are filed to avoid police executing an arrest warrant at your home or work. We can arrange for bail and walk you through the process.

Court proceedings before trial
There are several opportunities to win a criminal case before a trial. Charges can be dismissed. Evidence can be suppressed if it was obtained in violation of your constitutional or statutory rights. There may have been errors in the way the evidence was processed or stored that make it inappropriate for admission or of little value in proving a case against you. Prosecution experts can and should be challenged. Motions should be filed that attack the way the prosecution intends to present its case to a jury. A good criminal defense attorney will challenge the prosecution’s case long before trial, and ours will do just that.

Plea offers
Virtually every criminal defendant faces a decision of whether to go to trial or accept a plea offer. This can be a difficult and gut-wrenching decision. You need an attorney who will give you candid advice about your chances of getting charges dismissed for defect, excluding key evidence, or winning at trial.

You also need an attorney who understands the collateral consequences associated with various convictions, who can advise you regarding the costs and benefits of your options. Plea negotiations should consider much more than the length or nature of the sentence; they must address registration, eligibility for certain programs in incarceration, eligibility for expungement, and numerous other issues specific to the facts of your case and your individual circumstances.

No matter what case you take to trial, you want a well-respected trial attorney who has won major criminal jury trials. There are plenty of attorneys who have taken a large number of cases to jury trial. That does not tell you much. How many have they won? Did they mount a serious defense?

Perhaps the only way to evaluate a trial attorney’s courtroom skill is to look at what judges and other attorneys think of their ability. Various entities exist that provide such peer review ratings. Please feel free to research our ratings.

If your case concludes with a plea agreement or guilty verdict, you must proceed to sentencing. The vast majority of sentencing hearings are less than 30 minutes and entail attorneys and judges simply going through the motions. The only time that you will find our attorneys participating in such a hearing is when we have arranged an agreement in advance of sentencing that gets the best possible result.

If a sentencing agreement cannot be reached, your attorney should file the appropriate motions for a departure, variance, or border box sentence. A contested sentencing hearing should include evidence. The judge should be provided with a sentencing memorandum, letters of support, expert reports, and information about your progress — through a treatment program or otherwise. Witness testimony may be appropriate. A good attorney considers a sentencing hearing as important as a jury trial.

You may be entitled to appeal your conviction or sentence for review by a higher court. If you do appeal, you need an attorney who understands the process and the differences between district and appellate court practice. The bulk of the appellate process occurs on paper. Some attorneys may perform superbly in the courtroom but be unable to convey the same powerful message in written briefs. Our criminal defense team is experienced in both written and oral advocacy. Our attorneys have litigated and won appeals in the Kansas Court of Appeals, the Kansas Supreme Court, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Many convictions can be expunged three to five years after your sentence has been completed. The effect of an expungement is to seal the records related to your criminal case so that they are not available to the public. An order of expungement also permits you to say, under most circumstances, that you have not been convicted of the expunged crime.

Expungement also applies to arrests and diversions. Even if you have not been convicted of a crime, your arrest record and filings associated with a deferred prosecution are public information and available through online background search databases. Especially during job searches, many people would prefer that this information not be so easily accessible. An order of expungement can seal these records, too.

Our attorneys are well-versed in expungement law, including the intricacies related to registration offenses. We are always pleased to assist former clients and new clients in clearing their records.

Our Criminal Defense Team

Christopher M. Joseph

Topeka, Lawrence, Kansas City & Overland Park
Mr. Joseph represents individuals and businesses in complex civil litigation and during the investigation and prosecution of criminal charges. Mr. Joseph is a member of the Kansas, Topeka, and Douglas County Bar Associations and has earned Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory’s highest “AV” rating for lawyers.
Ms. Scherff has extensive experience litigating felony jury trials in both federal and state courts. She is one of only a handful of Kansas lawyers qualified by Kansas to handle death penalty cases, and is one of only two lawyers in Kansas’ history of death penalty cases to get a capital case dismissed.
Mr. Hoeme represents persons charged with any crime in the municipal, state, or federal courts of Kansas. Mr. Hoeme’s practice is concentrated on representing persons charged with serious traffic offenses, driving under the influence, drug crimes and other crimes against persons.
Ms. Parker’s practice is concentrated in criminal defense and civil litigation. Ms. Parker is admitted to practice before the Kansas Supreme Court, all other Kansas courts, and the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. Ms. Parker is a member of the Kansas, Topeka, and Douglas County Bar Associations.
Ms. Erickson’s diverse practice includes all levels of adult felonies and misdemeanors, including drug manufacturing, sale, and possession; sex offenses; violent crimes; domestic violence; property crimes; all levels of juvenile crime; DUIs and other traffic offenses.
Mr. Meek’s practice is focused on the defense of individuals accused of crimes, with an emphasis on DUI and traffic crimes. Mr. Meek is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Douglas County Bar Association, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Family law dominates Ms. Lawless’s practice, including divorce, property settlement agreements, premarital agreements, paternity actions, and maintenance, with a focus on child custody matters, parenting time, and child support. Ms. Lawless also has extensive experience as criminal defense attorney consisting of complex federal and state cases.
Mr. McPherson’s family law practice includes divorce, child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal maintenance, premarital agreements, separation agreements, child in need of care, and juvenile offenders. His criminal law practice consists of defense of persons charged with crimes in state and municipal courts.
Mr. McHugh is a litigator with decades of experience defending individuals and businesses in civil and criminal litigation in Kansas and Missouri courts. In addition to his courtroom practice, Mr. McHugh counsels entities and individuals on law relating to cannabis, marijuana, and hemp projects; represents entities seeking medical marijuana licensure; and assists in all manner of related regulatory issues.
Mr. Edwards represents individuals charged with criminal offenses both misdemeanors and felonies in Sedgwick county municipal and state courts.
Mr. Curry’s practice focuses on criminal defense in state and federal courts across the state of Kansas. He is admitted to practice before the Kansas Supreme Court, all Kansas state courts, and the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.