Joseph King

Joseph King
Joseph King

Joe has been recognized as one of the Washington areas’ top criminal defense attorneys by Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazines. He handles matters ranging from high-profile murder cases (including Commonwealth v. Charles Severance and Commonwealth v. Craig Patterson) to misdemeanors at both the trial court and appellate levels.  Prior to entering private practice in 2008, Joe worked at the Alexandria Office of Public Defender (2004-2008) where he tried numerous cases and had the opportunity to attend the Trial Practice Institute at the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia.

Joe received his juris docturate cum laude from The University of Michigan Law School in 2003. He also earned a Masters Degree in History from George Mason University in 1996 and a B.S. in Physics from Mary Washington College in 1992.


  • Washingtonian Magazine’s best criminal defense lawyers – December 2015, December 2013, and December 2011 issues.
  • Northern Virginia Magazine’s top criminal defense lawyers – December 2014 issue.
  • Virginia Super Lawyers – Rising Star 2013-2014.
  • National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Virginia – 2009-2015.

Trial Experience

Joe has served as counsel or co-counsel in over two hundred trials, including cases involving allegations of capital and first degree murder, robbery, felony child neglect, felony assault, felony sex charges and other felonies as well as numerous misdemeanor matters such as DUI, assault, larceny, marijuana possession, identity fraud, and other criminal allegations.

DUI and Traffic Defense

Joe has represented hundreds of clients charged with criminal traffic matters such as DUI/DWI as well as other traffic offenses, including allegations of DUI related manslaughter, felony DUI, felony eluding, felony hit & run, reckless driving resulting in death, reckless driving, and other traffic matters. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense.

Teaching DUI, Traffic and Criminal Defense

A regular speaker at continuing legal education courses, Joe has presented on topics related to DUI and traffic defense (2011-2014), criminal defense (2012-2013) as well as appellate and post-conviction advocacy (2016) on behalf of the Alexandria Bar Association.  He presented on the topic of DUI defense before the Arlington Bar Association in 2015. He has developed a defense outline for Virginia DUI and traffic law that addresses traditional and innovative defenses, recent case law, use of experts, and constitutional challenges in this constantly developing area of the law.

Appellate Experience

An experienced appellate lawyer, Joe has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Virginia Supreme Court, and the Virginia Court of Appeals.  In preparing appellate briefs, he believes it is important to thoroughly review the trial court record, conduct detailed research on relevant authority, and write organized and clear briefs in order to be persuasive.  He is the author of Developing an Appeals Strategy for Criminal Convictions and Assessing Effective Assistance of Counsel, in Navigating Post-Conviction Appeals, pp. 61-99 (Aspatore Books, 2015).

His notable cases include Cypress/Briscoe v. Commonwealth, 280 Va. 305 (2010), Briscoe v. Virginia, 559 U.S. __ (2010), and Little v. Commonwealth, 59 Va. App. 725 (2012).

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Joseph King, Developing an Appeals Strategy for Criminal Convictions and Assessing Effective Assistance of Counsel, in Navigating Post-Conviction Appeals, pp. 61-99 (Aspatore Books, 2015).

Joseph King, Chris Leibig & Kristen Clardy, Melendez-Diaz and Briscoe: Return of Constitutional Guarantees Worth the Cost to the System, New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Spring 2010).

Joseph King, Melendez-Diaz v. MA and Briscoe v. VA, Alexandria Bar Association Oyez, Vol. 28, No. 3 (June 2010).