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Akron DUI Lawyer

Over 30 years
exclusively in criminal


If you are facing criminal charges that could impact the rest of your life, having the best possible representation, hiring a top criminal defense lawyer, provides the greatest prospect for a favorable verdict or plea bargain.

Ohio criminal defense attorney, James Burdon, has a well-earned reputation as one of the most-effective trial lawyers in Ohio. Whether you’re facing a DUI that could devastate your career or a Class A felony, hiring James Burdon as your criminal defense lawyer gives you access to 30+ years’ experience in Ohio’s courtrooms and top level negotiating skills. In addition, criminal attorney Burdon will thoroughly investigate your case to find the flaws in prosecution’s theories. He’ll go to great lengths to locate witnesses, arrange for expert testimony and prepare the best possible defense for you case.

“Akron’s premier criminal-defense lawyer… his defense is
about the best money can buy”

Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal

A history of success in criminal defense

For over 30 years, James Burdon has practiced exclusively in criminal litigation as a prosecutor
and thereafter as a criminal defense lawyer and partner in the law firm of Burdon & Merlitti.

  • Tried over one hundred thirty-five cases to juries.
  • Represented over thirty homicide defendants – including six jury acquittals, two not guilty by reason of insanity, three dismissals, one not charged, several resulting in lesser offenses.
  • Argued state criminal appeals before the 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th District Court of Appeals.
  • Defended criminal clients in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, including bank frauds, and other “white collar” offenses.
  • Represented a multitude of vehicular manslaughter cases.
  • Has represented clients in Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Guernsey, Lake, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trunball, Tuscawaras, Washington and Wayne counties.
  • Argued cases before the Supreme Court of Ohio.
  • Prosecuted federal appeals before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Voted as one of “The Best Lawyers in America”
for criminal defense since 1989.


  • Selected for inclusion in the national publication, The Best Lawyers In America, 1989 – present.
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, The University of Akron, School of Law, 1995.
  • Cincinnati Magazine, Ohio Super Lawyers, 2004 – present.
  • Akron Life and Leisure Magazine, selected as Lawyer of the Year, 2014.
  • Admitted as a Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 1994 – present.
  • Northern Ohio Live, Top Lawyers, 2003 – present.
  • Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine, 2004 – present.
  • Martindale-Hubbell, peer review. Highest possible rating in legal abilities and ethical standards.

Click Here for a FREE confidential
initial consultation on your case

or call (330) 253-7171


  • Federal Cases
  • White Collar Crime
  • Arson
  • Gambling
  • Drug Cases
  • Theft
  • Sex Offenses
  • Homicide
  • Weapons


  • Drunk Driving Offenses
  • FAQ Regarding DUI
  • Breathalizer, Blood and Urine tests
  • Sobriety Tests
  • DUI Penalties

Noteworthy Cases

State v. Patrick Conley, an Akron Police Officer acquitted of killing a prisoner in his custody.

State v. Frank Sperrow, acquitted of capital murder charge that he killed an Akron Police Officer.

State v. Judge James Barbuto, covered by National Television News Magazine 20-20.

State v. Robert Buell, 22 Ohio St.3d 124, approved the introduction of expert testimony on the reliability of eyewitness identifications.

State v. John Boston, 46 Ohio St.3d 108., limited the right of the state to present expert testimony regarding the truthfulness of an alleged child sexual abuse victim.

State v. Steven Boszik, broadcast by Court TV.

State v. Karen Grubb, believed to be the first successful defense of a murder defendant, in the State of Ohio, where the jury acquitted on “battered wife syndrome.”

State v. Paul Stanley, state dismissed capital murder indictment of parents charged with the arson of their home with purpose to kill their 13 month old son (2003).

State v. Davis Corsi, state dismissed indictment of daycare operator indicted for voyeurism of the children in his care.

State v. Fred Knippenberg, indicted for the murder of his wife, state reduced the charges to involuntary manslaughter, in the face of “battered spouse syndrome” defence, and placed the client on probation (2005).

State v. Richard Haught, a youth baseball coach charged in a death arising out of a post-game dispute, acquitted by a jury of the homicide (2006).

State v. Jacob Carlson, charged with murder in the shooting death of his brother-in-law, an Akron Police Detective. Dismissed (2006).

State v. Megan Brown, charged with murder and robbery in a shooting death arising from the forced entry into the victim’s home. The murder charge was dismissed (2007).

State v. Don Michel, indicted for 17 gambling counts including RICO and Money Laundering. All counts were dismissed followng a successful defense motion for “selective prosecution.” (2008).

USA v. Compton, et al. Defended multiple defendants in a federal mortgage fraud scheme involving millions of dollars, none of whom served one day of confinement. (2013)

State v. Mills. Defendant charged with rape of a child carrying a potential penalty of life. Found guilty of a non-sexual offense and placed on direct probation. (2013)

State v. Barbas. Defendant charged with a felony offense of failure to register as a sexual offender. Case dismissed. (2013)

State v. Chris Heben. “Navy Seal” acquitted of all charges relating to a shooting incident in the West Market Plaza. . (2015)

The best criminal defense.

If you or a family member is facing criminal charges, secure the best possible legal counsel that you can.
From drunk driving to homicide, Jim Burdon, Akron, Ohio criminal defense lawyer, has the experience,
track record and reputation as one of Ohio’s best defense attorneys.

Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal

You know it’s going to be a bad day,

as the old joke goes, when a crew from 60 Minutes shows up at your door. Who ya gonna call? If you’re smart, Jim Burdon…

Burdon, 55, is widely regarded as Akron’s premier criminal-defense lawyer. He lands more front-page cases in one year than most attorneys do in a lifetime. And it’s been that way for more than 20 years. Perhaps the best measure of a person’s professional status is the opinion of his peers. What do Burdon’s peers think? Let’s put it this way:

When a sitting judge needed a good criminal lawyer in 1980, James Barbuto turned to Burdon.

When a prominent local lawyer needed a good criminal lawyer in 1993, he turned to Burdon.

When a Portage County prosecutor needed a good criminal lawyer this year, David Norris turned to Burdon.

This guy is the king,” stated the attorney, who had faced felony charges in the widely publicized Revere Road Synagogue bingo case. “His respect is legion. … “When he speaks, everybody listens. The guy is so impressive in the courtroom that it’s unbelievable. His choice of words and the way he makes his presentation is … just incredible. I’ve been practicing law 25 years and I was impressed.

The attorney, who continues to insist he did absolutely nothing wrong, pleaded guilty to three technicalities involving record-keeping.

Norris pleaded guilty to one charge of cocaine possession and agreed to quit his job in exchange for the dropping of multiple federal charges and the retention of his law license.

Barbuto, faced with a 26-count indictment, was convicted of only two charges and received shock probation after just 78 days in jail.

Cops, councilmen and child pornographers. White-collar criminals and cold-blooded murderers. People with fancy family names like Seiberling. Burdon has defended them all.