La Crosse criminal defense lawyer Chris Zachar
  • University of Wisconsin Law School   J.D., with honors, Order of the Coif

  • Gustavus Adolphus College             B.A., with high honors

Admissions & Memberships
  • Admitted to practice in all courts and tribunals in the State of Wisconsin (State Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts & the Division of Hearings and Appeals)

  • Admitted to practice in Federal Court (Western District of Wisconsin)

  • Member, Wisconsin State Bar Association (Bar #1054010)

  • Member, Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Member, La Crosse Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Member, La Crosse Bar Association

  • Certified to represent clients in Class A felony cases by the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office

About Attorney Chris Zachar

When he was in college an angry cop pulled Chris over and gave him a traffic ticket he didn’t deserve.  Chris knew that the officer was wrong, but nobody seemed to care.  The prosecutor wanted him to take a plea and the officer was confident he would be believed.  Representing himself, Chris rejected offers to settle and took his case to trial. He convinced the judge that the officer was wrong and the ticket was dismissed.  A few years later Chris graduated in the top ten percent of his class at the University of Wisconsin Law School and chose to work for the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office.  He wanted to master the art of trial defense and make a real difference in people’s lives.  In close to ten years as an Assistant State Public Defender, Chris stood with thousands of people on their worst days. 


From his earliest days at the Public Defender’s Office, Chris litigated hundreds of pretrial motions and developed a reputation as an expert in criminal constitutional law.  Clients arrested with large quantities of drugs, for driving under the influence, and even in possession of weapons like sawed-off shotguns saw their charges dismissed after Chris challenged traffic stops, dog sniffs, pat-downs, and search warrants.  Even though many of his clients spoke to police, Chris has convinced judges to throw out damning statements in major cases including homicide, bank robbery, sexual assault, domestic violence, and felony drug cases. 


Chris is an experienced trial lawyer and regularly tries cases to judges and juries. Following the high-profile acquittal in State of Wisconsin v. Mitrel Anderson, Chris became one of the few attorneys in the state to be awarded the prestigious Advocates Prize for successful trial defense of a client charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide.  Shortly thereafter, he won not guilty verdicts in the technically complex and hotly contested First Degree Sexual Assault trial of State of Wisconsin v. Christopher John. In 2018, Chris obtained a not guilty verdict in a First Degree Reckless Homicide ("Len Bias Homicide") stemming from a lethal drug delivery.  In 2019 Chris obtained a not guilty verdict in the First Degree Intentional Homicide prosecution of Erik Sackett. Chris regularly represents clients in serious offenses including homicide, sexual assault, and felony drug cases.  While Chris has been successful in numerous high-profile cases, he is just as proud of the many not guilty verdicts, pretrial dismissals, and favorable resolutions that were never publicized, including many cases in which his clients otherwise faced decades behind bars.  Chris has taught other lawyers how to litigate scientific and medical evidence at statewide legal conferences, and is certified by the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office to represent clients in Class A felonies.  


When he’s not in a suit, Chris can be found hiking the Hixon bluffs, SCUBA diving Lake Wazee, and trying to create the perfect burger.  He has backpacked throughout the world and loves exploring new places, listening to classic rock, and watching college football (Go Badgers!).  Chris and his wife live in La Crosse with their amazing rescue dog and a pair of underachieving cats.