Our Practice - Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC

Practice Areas - All State and Federal Crimes

  • Assault
  • Child Pornography
  • College Proceedings
  • Conspiracy
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Offenses
  • Embezzlement
  • Ethics/Professional Responsibility
  • Expungment/Sealing
  • Fake/False Identification
  • Forensic DNA and Forensic Science
  • Fraud
  • Gun Offenses
  • Homicide
  • Inspector General Investigations
  • Juvenile Adjudications
  • Money Laundering
  • National Security
  • Protective Orders
  • Robbery
  • Sex Offenses
  • Traffic
  • White Collar Crime
  • Witness Representation

Firm's Core Values

Ed intentionally handles a select number of cases at any one time to allow him to provide close, individual attention to each client's needs. Ed's representation begins by understanding all the facts and your goals. He will keep you fully informed about your case and case strategy. He will answer your questions and be available to you. Every client gets his commitment and dedication.

In criminal cases, the government has significant taxpayer-funded resources – prosecutors, police officers, laboratories, and budgets – at its disposal when it chooses to bring charges against an individual. To win the best possible result, there are no shortcuts. The defense must fight the government fact by fact, which requires thorough and relentless preparation. 

Ed believes the best outcome for a client can be reached only after extensive pre-trial preparation and the experience and confidence to succeed in the trial courtroom. Even the best settlements are reached when the government knows the defense is capable of going to trial and will go to trial to vindicate the client. Ed has tried, with success, scores of criminal cases -- from the most simple to capital murder. 

Whether by trial or pretrial settlement, Ed fiercely and zealously works to achieve the best outcome for each client. 

Pre-Charge Investigation and Grand Jury Representation

Criminal investigations, especially in federal court and D.C. Superior Court, begin long before an arrest is made. During the investigative phase of a case or before the return of any formal charge, a great opportunity is presented for your attorney to help you try to avoid a criminal charge. An attorney might be able to convince the prosecutor to decline to proceed, or to proceed with less serious charges. 

Ungvarsky Law strives to provide you with the best outcome before charges are filed. Services include representing witnesses at the pre-charge investigation and grand jury stages of a case and seeking the return of any seized assets.

You don't want to give up your rights. Ed will evaluate the allegations against you and communicate directly with the prosecutor to seek to avoid or lessen any charges. Call 571/207-9710 today to secure your pre-charge or grand jury representation.

Forensic DNA Evidence and Forensic Science

Ed Ungvarsky in Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC provides full direct representation and/or consulting services on cases involving DNA evidence and forensic science from brainstorming to direct trial representation. Services include case consultation, evaluation and assessment of DNA and other forensic evidence results, brainstorming case theories, assisting in finding and retaining expert witnesses, facilitating communication with expert witnesses, preparation for admissibility hearings and trial including cross-examination, and direct representation in hearings and trials.

Ed is one of the premier attorneys in the country concerning the use of expert witnesses, forensic DNA evidence, and other forms of forensic evidence. He focused exclusively on DNA and forensic science when he led the Forensic Practice Group in DC, and has published frequently about DNA and forensic evidence, including DNA for the Defense Bar (National Institute of Justice 2012) and Remarks on the Use and Misuse of Forensic Science to Lead to False Convictions (New England Law Rev. 2007).

Ed serves as a peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Justice and has traveled to Thailand to train foreign professionals about DNA evidence at the request of the U.S. Department of State. For the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he served as Chair of the NACDL Task Force on the Future of Forensic Science and has been a member of the Forensic Science Committee since 2004. 

Ed is in demand across the country and internationally to consult with and advise lawyers, investigators, and forensic scientists on topics such as "trying a DNA case," "model DNA cross-examination," and "working with and/or cross-examining expert witnesses." The U.S. Department of Justice has called Ed "expert in a defense lawyer’s use of DNA evidence."

White Collar Charges

Ed represents individuals and businesses in federal criminal investigations and trials, and in other government enforcement matters such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proceedings ,and local and federal inspector general investigations. Ed is experienced in addressing and responding to subpoenas. Ed can also conduct corporate investigations.

As a result of prior work, Ed is readily available to represent persons charged in national security cases in which clearance is required. 

Ed believes that the starting point of every representation is the willingness and ability to go to trial to vindicate his client's rights, while being mindful of efforts to minimize publicity and other adverse consequences through pretrial negotiation and settlement.

Ethics and Professional Malpractice

Lawyers turn to Ed for advice concerning professional malpractice and ethics matters. Ed has taught and advised about professional responsibility in DC, Virginia, and nationwide for more than a decade. Most recently, Ed taught ethics at the 2018 Advanced Criminal Law Seminar hosted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  

Ed Ungvarsky in Alexandria, VA & Washington, DC

Ed's Biography

Ed handles all kinds of criminal cases in state courts in Virginia and in the District of Columbia and in federal courts nationwide, particularly in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland federal district courts. Ed has practiced as a criminal defense attorney for almost 25 years since graduating Yale Law School in 1993. Ed graduated with his B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1990.


During law school, Ed worked for two large DC law firms, Jenner & Block and Akin, Gump. Upon graduating from Yale Law School, Ed clerked in Montgomery, Alabama for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Judge Johnson "the man who gave true meaning to the word justice." Ed considers his federal appellate clerkship with one of the most illustrious judges in U.S. history an unparalleled learning experience.

When his clerkship ended, Ed continued to focus on criminal appeals and state and federal post-conviction habeas appeals at public service law offices in Tempe, Arizona and New York City. In Arizona, Ed's appellate work led to the vacating of the death sentence of a client and the removal of that client from Death Row, and he worked on novel clemency filings. At the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York, Ed briefed and personally argued criminal appeals and post-conviction claims before the Appellate Division, First Department, the New York Court of Appeals, the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

In 1997, Ed moved to Washington, DC and the Northern Virginia region to work as a criminal defense trial attorney. Ed was responsible for thousands of clients at the DC Public Defender Service for 12 years, as a trial attorney, supervising trial attorney, special counsel for forensic DNA, and chief of the trial division. As the lead trial attorney in the office, Ed  provided overall management of the 60-attorney unit to ensure that every client received superior representation and also enjoyed his own active trial caseload of complex criminal cases. Ed  has personally tried approximately 50 cases in DC Superior Court and has closely supervised hundreds more. 

In 2009, Ed was asked to take over the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, located in Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia, to lead an office representing persons facing the possibility of the death penalty in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia at the trial-level and direct appeal stages. Before the trial courts, Ed and his team successfully kept 15 clients from receiving death sentences. On appeal, Ed's office vacated the death sentence of a client who had been represented by different counsel at his trial; Ed also assisted an executive clemency appeal and addressed clients' legal needs post-conviction. Ed's work was capped by the 2018 life verdict at trial for a client who had killed his wife and a police officer in the same incident in a county whose prosecutor had never before failed to obtain a jury's death sentence in a half-century in office.

Ed brings his successful style of thoughtful, creative, compassionate, and client-centered representation to white collar and criminal defense clients in federal court, DC Superior Court, and trial courts across Virginia, particularly in the cities and counties in Northern Virginia. 

Ed is licensed to practice law in DC, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, as well as the federal courts in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. 

Professional Honors, Awards, Teaching, and Memberships

Honors and Awards

  • Bill Geimer Award Recipient for dedicated capital defense, presented by Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, Washington & Lee School of Law (2017-18)
  • Spirit of the Law Award, Forensic and Legal Psychology Program, Marymount University (2015)
  • Kutak-Dodds Prize, National Legal Aid & Defender Association (2014)
  • President's Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2010)
  • President's Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2006)
  • Mary McCarthy Fellowship in Public Interest Law, Yale Law School (1992)

Clinical and Classroom Teaching

  • Instructor, Trial Advocacy Workshop, Harvard Law School (2009 - current)
  • Supervising Attorney, Criminal Division, DC Law Students in Court (Spring 2019)
  • Adjunct Professor, Mitigation and the Death Penalty, Forensic & Legal Psychology Graduate Program, Marymount University (Fall 2013 - Fall 2017)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Arizona State University College of Law (1994-95)


  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL)
  • District of Columbia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (DCCDL)
  • Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (VACDL)
  • National Association for Public Defense


  • Gene Rossi & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Terry McAuliffe’s Squandered Opportunity for Compassion, Wash. Post (July 23, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gov-mcauliffe-made-an-irreversible-mistake/2017/07/21/294b0814-6800-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.0c9a2a1afe43
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Bryan Stevenson for the Supreme Court, National Association for Public Defense, http://publicdefenders.us/?q=node%2F998 (Feb. 22, 2016)
  • Jack Ballantyne, Catherine Cothran, Jules Epstein, Christine Funk, Chris Plourd, Vanessa Potkin, Ronald Reinstein, & Edward Ungvarsky, National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, DNA for the Defense Bar (NIJ June 2012), https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/237975.pdf 
  • Bernadette Mary Donovan & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward – Or Has It Been a Path Misplaced?, Champion 16 (Feb. 2012), https://www.nacdl.org/champion.aspx?id=23807
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor, A Different Path to the High Court?, Wash. Post A20 (Apr. 25, 2010)
  • Nell Sedransk, Linda J. Young, Katrina Kelner, Robert Moffitt, Ani Thakar, Jordan Raddick, Edward Ungvarsky, Richard W. Carlson, Rolf Apweiler, Lawrence H. Cox, Deborah Nolan, Keith A. Soper, & Cliff Spiegelman, Make Research Data Public? – Not Always So Simple: A Dialogue for Statisticians and Science Editors, 25 Statistical Sci. 41 (2010), https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1280841732
  • Dan Krane, David Balding, V. Bahn, Bicka Barlow, J.E. Cohen, Betty Layne DesPortes, Peter D’Eustachio, Travis E. Doom, Simon Ford, Christine Funk, Jason Gilder, Greg Hampikian, Keith. Inman, Alan Jamieson, Patrick E. Kent, Roger Koppl, Irv Kornfield III, Sheldon Krimsky, Jennifer Mnookin, Lawrence Mueller, Erin Murphy, David R. Paoletti, D. Petrov, Michael Raymer, Andrea Roth, Norah Rudin, William Shields, Jay A. Siegel, Travis Speed, Cliff Spiegelman, Patrick Sullivan, Anjali R. Swienton, William C. Thompson, & Edward Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor, Time for DNA Disclosure, 326 Science 1631-32 (2009), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20019271
  • Andrea L. Roth & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Data Sharing in Forensic Science: Consequences for the Legal System, 2009 Proceedings of the Joint Statistical Meetings 469-74 (2009), https://works.bepress.com/andrea_roth/8/
  • Andrea L. Roth & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Book Review, Forensic Identification and Criminal Justice: Forensic Science, Justice, and Risk, by Carole McCartney, 8 Law, Probability, and Risk 55 (2009), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1317441
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Remarks on The Use and Misuse of Forensic Science to Lead to False Convictions, 41 New England L. Rev. 609 (2007), https://newenglrev.com/archive/volume-41/issue-3-2/v41b3ungvarsky/
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, What Does “1 in a Trillion” Mean?, 20 GeneWatch 10 (Jan./Feb. 2007), http://wispd.org/attachments/article/244/What%20does%20One%20in%20a%20Trillion%20Mean.pdf 
  • Frederika A. Kaestle, Ricky A. Kittles, Andrea L. Roth, & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Database Limitations on the Evidentiary Value of Forensic Mitochondrial DNA Evidence, 43 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 53 (2006), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1247662
  • Rebecca S. Tinio & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Expert Testimony, in Criminal Procedure Institute Practice Manual (The Deborah T. Creek Criminal Practice Institute 2005 ed.)
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Reasonable Doubt in the Age of CSI: Experts and Science in the Courtroom, 6 The San Antonio Defender 3 (July/Aug. 2005)
  • Richard S. Schmechel, William C. Thompson, & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Defending with (and Against) Forensic Evidence: A Call for Shared Resources, Champion 39 (Aug. 2005)
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor re: Death Penalty: The Catholic Position, N.Y. Post (Apr. 2, 1996)
  • Michael J. Raphael & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Excuses, Excuses: Neutral Explanations Under Batson v. Kentucky, 27 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 229 (1994), reprinted in James G. Carr, ed., Criminal Law Review 463 (1995), https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/umijlr27&div=9&id=&page=