Joseph King

Joseph King
Joseph King

Joe’s criminal defense portfolio includes defending some of the area’s most significant significant murder cases (including Commonwealth v. Charles Severance and Commonwealth v. Craig Patterson) as well as defending federal white collar crimes, federal and state drug offenses, and DUI defense.  His work in criminal defense has been recognized by top regional publications The Washingtonian (Best Lawyers – December 2015, 2013 and 2011 issues)  and Northern Virginia Magazine (Best Lawyers – December 2016 and 2014 issues) as well as Virginia Super Lawyers.

Prior to establishing his private legal practice in 2008, Joe worked as an attorney at the Alexandria Office of the Public Defender (2004-2008), which has a number of alumni recognized among the Washington DC metro area’s top trial lawyers. During his time as a public defender, Joe diligently worked on behalf of his indigent clients and attended the respected 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 earned a Masters Degree in History from George Mason University in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Mary Washington College in 1992.

Joe is a fluent Spanish speaker.


  • Washingtonian Magazine’s best criminal defense lawyers – December 2015, December 2013, and December 2011 issues.
  • Northern Virginia Magazine’s best criminal defense lawyers – December 2016, December 2014 issues.
  • National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Virginia – 2009-2016.
joe king courtroom
Joe King delivering opening statement in capital murder trial of Commonwealth v. Charles Severance in October 2015

Trial Experience

Joe is a veteran trial attorney that has served as counsel or co-counsel in over two hundred trials.  He has defended allegations of capital and first degree murder, federal drug conspiracy charges, armed 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

Joe regularly teaches continuing legal education courses on behalf of the Alexandria Bar Association where he 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 x2) .  In 2015, he also presented on the topic of DUI defense before the Arlington Bar Association.  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), Little v. Commonwealth, 59 Va. App. 725 (2012), and United States v. William Andrew Clarke, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir. 2016).

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).