Welcome. Fairfax, Northern Virginia criminal lawyer/DWI attorney Jon Katz’s website is full of essential information and ideas for avoiding arrests in the first place, and for navigating the labyrinthian legal system once suspected or arrested.
The key for criminal/DWI defendants is not to go to court alone. Booby traps — often invisible to the naked eye — can abound in the courthouse, and must be neutralized and transcended in advance. Your criminal defense lawyer’s job is to effectively battle for your winning defense regardless of the landmines and bows and arrows flying around. Jon Katz practices criminal defense and DWI defense almost exclusively, and primarily in Northern Virginia, appearing in such courts as Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Alexandria City, and the Alexandria federal court.
Jon Katz- Defending people’s liberty since 1991. Jon Katz has been a trial lawyer since 1991, when he joined the Maryland Public Defender’s Office (1991-96) after an early stint handling civil litigation and regulatory work with a great corporate law firm team (1989-91). Jon graduated from a highly-ranked law school and college- George Washington University Law School (J.D. 1989) and Tufts University (B.A., cum laude, 1985). After highly-competitive selection processes, he attended the premier two-week Trial Practice Institute of the National Criminal Defense College (1994) and the four-week Trial Lawyers College (1995) at the ranch of premier trial lawyer Gerry Spence, who taught at the college nearly every weekday.
After two years with a local trial law firm (1996-98), Jon became his own boss with his former law partner Jay Marks (1998-2008), serving as the firm’s criminal defense law partner. Jon then formed his current law firm in 2008. During the year between college and law school, Jon worked as a financial examiner at Wall Street’s Irving Trust Co., including reviewing for compliance with money laundering laws, against fraud and theft, and for sound financial practices.
Jon’s main work is criminal and DWI trial litigation through jury and bench trials, and he also has significant appellate experience. His published victories are Maryland v. Taylor, et al., 371 Md. 617, 810 A.2d 964 (2002), where Jon — defending three strip club managers — and the co-appellant won a key criminal case dismissal under state double jeopardy principles, and Dring v. Sullivan, 423 F. Supp. 2d 540 (D.Md. 2006), where Jon convinced a federal trial court to eject a defamation suit brought by one martial arts referee against our client martial arts referee, because the lawsuit was filed in the wrong federal court.
With Northern Virginia as his base, Jon defends without geographical nor mental borders. Whether to take the unorthodox or orthodox battle path is not the question. All that matters is finding and staying on the path to victory, and to stay fearless on that path.
By Jon Katz
Being on the side of the angels, I thrive in the battle for my clients. Winning is euphoric and battling for victory is a thrill in itself. My zeal for fighting for the accused goes as far back as the age of ten, when a teacher stopped me in the hallway, and interrogated: “Why were you playing last Wednesday at the apartments across the street?” I asked why she was accusing him. “Because someone reported a brown-haired boy in a blue coat doing that.” I replied: “You have just described half the boys in the school.” I then walked away from this teacher possibly stunned by my firm mouth of reason. I am committed to speaking up and persuading for all accused, whether or not they did any of the acts they are accused of.
This is your battle for justice. I am ready to fight alongside you.
My clients are also my constituents, too often unfairly painted as alleged wrongdoers and ne’er-do-wells by police, prosecutors, judges and the general public.
One day a client expressed surprise that I would entertain taking his “small criminal case.” To me, no case is too big or too small, because, in the end, an often substantial piece of my client’s life is connected to that case, and I take seriously the responsibility my client places in me to fight for justice alongside my client. There is no such thing as just another DWI case, just another drug case, just another weapons case, or just another any kind of case. Each case is critical for each client, and each case comes alive through the human drama surrounding the case and with our fighting on the right side of justice. I do my best to convey my client’s story, my client’s humanity, and how this indeed, is not just another case on the docket, to judges and juries in a compelling and persuasive way in our fight for justice for each client, one at a time.
I listen deeply to what you are saying and not saying; and to your concerns, fears and hopes. I use that as ammunition to fight on your behalf and to help give you harmony and to reduce the pressure on your shoulders as we proceed forward. I endeavor to bill honestly and to give full value to my clients. I will always be honest and fair with you, not only because the lawyers’ ethics rules mandate it, but also because that is the only way I know how to live.
We are easy to reach, easy to talk to, and easy to work with.
From the time Jon Katz entered public school in 1968, he was captivated by the daily Pledge of Allegiance’s promise of Liberty and Justice for All, and then the Declaration of Independence’s insistence on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and ending tyranny. However, from that time until today, we still have far to go to close the gap between the ideals of the pledge of allegiance and Declaration of Independence on the one hand, and the realities of the criminal justice system in Virginia and beyond and the nation’s civil liberties situation on the other.
Jon thrives defending his clients in criminal court not because it is some sort of rarefied place to do intellectual jousting, but because despite the mess and ugliness that often faces criminal defendants in court, the courtroom is the decisive battlefield for obtaining justice.
Jon’s main motivating factors for doing the work he does is fully serving clients against the legally-backed might of police and prosecutors, protecting civil liberties, and reveling in the thrill of battling for victory. As a result, Jon’s legal practice focuses on criminal defense and DWI defense, where DWI arrests ensnare even those who otherwise support governments’ so-called get-tough-on-crime campaigns. Because civil liberties are not only protected through criminal defense, on occasion Jon also defends students caught in disciplinary actions, and advocates for First Amendment rights through libel defense, adult entertainment defense, and defense of political activists and demonstrators.
Fairfax, Northern Virginia criminal/DWI lawyer Jon Katz fully defends you regardless of your politics, profession, or personal background. He fights for you no matter how big or small your case may seem at first blush. All that matters to Jon is that you are an individual needing a lawyer to fight for your rights and for the best possible outcome in your case.
All of the above is Jon’s call to battle for his clients. Backing that up is his over two decades of experience successfully defending clients at trial and in negotiations backed by readiness to go to trial, and by Jon’s close teamwork with his experienced staff.
Jon and his staff are ready to serve you.
LAWYERING WITHOUT BORDERS:
Jon believes in lawyering without borders, by being admitted to the surrounding essential bars and by litigating with an eye to transcending obstacles as best he can. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, and the state and federal trial and appellate courts in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Jon passed both his bar exams (Virginia and Maryland) on the first sitting, including when the Virginia bar exam had a 45% pass rate (Feb. 1997).
LEARNING FROM GREAT UNIVERSITIES AND TRIAL COLLEGES:
Jon graduated from the highly-competitive George Washington University Law School (J.D. 1989) and Tufts University (B.A., cum laude, 1985). Through highly-competitive selection processes, Jon attended the Trial Practice Institute of the National Criminal Defense College (1994) and the full-month Trial Lawyer’s College (1995).
SHARING HIS LEARNING WITH HIS PEERS AND THE PUBLIC:
Believing strongly in sharing the gifts of knowledge and insight that Jon has received from his colleagues and teachers, Jon gives back with his criminal defense blog, assembling numerous trial workshops over the years at his office to brainstorm the path to victory, accepting numerous news media interviews to explain legal news of the day, and simply sharing back and forth with colleagues at the courthouse and over the phone and email.
LEARNING AND HELPING THROUGH KEY ORGANIZATIONS:
Great legal defense requires constant learning and retooling, including through sharing and brainstorming with colleagues, and serving worthy organizations. In that regard, Jon is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, Legal Committee of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, First Amendment Lawyers Association, American Civil Liberties Union. Jon is a past Vice President of the Philippine American Bar Association of the capital area (1998-2001), Board Member of Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (2002-05), and Board Member of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (1992-95).
PROCEEDING WITH RICH WORK EXPERIENCE:
Jon opened his current law firm in 2008. Before then, he was the criminal defense law partner at the law firm of Marks & Katz, LLC (1998-2008), a trial lawyer at Chaikin & Sherman (1996-98), a trial lawyer at the Maryland Public Defender’s Office, and an associate attorney at D.C.’s Weiner, McCaffrey law firm. During law school, Jon worked as a law clerk at the Weiner, McCaffrey law firm (1988-90), and a first-year summer law clerk at the then-named Federal Home Loan Bank Board (1988). Before law school, Jon worked for a year as a financial auditor at the Irving Trust Company (1985-86), an insurance assistant at an agency of Chubb Insurance (1984), and as an intern at Shearson/American Express (1983) and the Center for Space Policy (1983).
Spreading the word of justice. Jon believes in spreading the word of justice on his blog and through the news media. He is experienced effectively dealing with the media to his clients’ best advantage, having defended in such high profile cases as the Westboro Baptist Church’s trial (that proceeded to a Supreme Court victory on First Amendment grounds); radical peace activists in the Plowshares depleted uranium case (teaming up with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark to defend famous peace activist Philip Berrigan and co-defendants).
Jon speaks fluent French (since 1975) and proficient Spanish (since 1983).