Raleigh-based criminal defense attorney Chris Detwiler worked for all three branches of government before opening his own practice in 2012. “I now draw on my multifaceted public service background when defending my clients in court,” said Detwiler.
Detwiler was born in Columbus, Ohio, but grew up in Chapel Hill and Greenville, North Carolina. After graduating from college at UNC-Chapel Hill, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked on Capitol Hill for a Congressman and for a Senator. He returned to UNC-Chapel Hill for law school and interned for a United States District Court Judge and for the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Having graduated from law school with experience in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, Detwiler started his own solo practice focused on traffic and criminal defense.
SHOWING A DESIRE TO DEFEND PEOPLE
“Before becoming an attorney, I showed strong interest in public service and government work,” explained Detwiler. “I believe it is in my nature to defend people. Especially when I was younger, I think I had a problem not minding my own business, he joked. I would see someone getting picked on in school or a customer treating an employee poorly at the grocery store, and I would feel the need to get involved and say something. I now have an outlet for that natural desire to defend people who cannot easily defend themselves.”
Detwiler represents clients with cases ranging from minor traffic tickets to serious felonies. The most common criminal cases he handles are possession of marijuana, larceny, assault, and driving while impaired (DWI) because they are the most frequently charged. “DWI cases are my favorite kinds of cases because the odds of there being a hearing or a trial in a DWI case are higher than in almost any other type of case. They give me the chance to cross-examine witnesses, argue in court, and interact with DAs and judges, to achieve the best outcome for my clients,” said Detwiler.
“There is no better feeling in this line of work than hearing a judge say your motion is granted or your client is not guilty.”
Detwiler did not make the journey from public service to criminal defense alone.
He is married to Wake County District Court Judge Sam Hamadani. The two of them met in college and worked in D.C. together. They both practiced criminal defense. Detwiler launched a private practice. His wife was a public defender before being appointed as a judge.
“Although they took different paths, they have always supported each other in their careers,” Detwiler said. “Sam was always hardworking, patient, and respectful, but as a judge, she had to take these qualities to another level. During the last couple years, she has inspired me to further develop these traits in myself, both as an attorney and as a person.”
Detwiler and Judge Hamadani enjoy cooking, hiking, and travelling together. Detwiler also spends his free time playing soccer, skiing, and golfing.