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Attorney Chris Zachar

Attorney Chris Zachar is among Wisconsin's most accomplished criminal defense lawyers.  Chris specializes in defending people charged in serious and complex criminal prosecutions including homicide, sexual assault, and felony drug offenses.  He is a five-time recipient of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's (WACDL) Martin Hanson Advocate's Prize for clients acquitted of homicide at jury trial and one of a single-digit group of attorneys in Wisconsin to secure a jury acquittal for a client charged with homicide by drug delivery.  Chris is an experienced trial attorney who regularly tries cases before judges and juries, stemming the full spectrum of criminal offenses from simple misdemeanors to Class A felonies, securing many acquittals in serious trials.  He serves on the Board of Directors for WACDL, an organization of more than 500 criminal defense attorneys, and has presented at numerous professional conferences with a focus on litigating scientific and medical evidence, practical application of the rules of evidence, and pardon applications.  Chris has successfully litigated hundreds of pretrial and suppression motions in trial courts across the state, regularly litigates appeals in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and has argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  He is admitted to practice in federal court and represents clients charged in federal court as a member of the Western District of Wisconsin CJA panel.  

Chris graduated in the top ten percent of his class at the University of Wisconsin Law School and spent the first ten years of his career as a trial attorney in the Black River Falls and La Crosse trial offices of the Wisconsin State Public Defender.  In 2017 he founded Zachar Law Office, dedicated exclusively to protecting people who have been charged with crimes in Western Wisconsin.  In 2023 Chris was honored to accept the Dan Berkos Award from the Wisconsin State Public Defender, an honor given once annually to an attorney in Wisconsin for their lifetime commitment to advocating for criminal defendants and bettering the criminal justice system in the process. Chris and his cases have been featured on Court TV, the Washington Post, USA Today, A&E Network, Law & Crime, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and throughout the La Crosse area media market.   When he isn't in court Chris loves to hike the Hixon forest, SCUBA dive in Lake Wazee, and cheer on the Wisconsin Badgers! 


  • University of Wisconsin Law School, Juris Doctor, with honors, Order of the Coif

  • Gustavus Adolphus College, B.A. (History and Political Science), with high honors

Awards and Recognitions

  • Martin Hanson Advocates Prize for acquittal in homicide trial (5-time recipient)

  • WACDL Sensitive Crimes Award (for acquittal of complex sexual assault offense at trial)

  • Dan Berkos Memorial Award presented by the Wisconsin State Public Defender Board for lifetime service to criminal defense

Admissions and Professional Associations

  • Admitted to practice before all courts and tribunals in the State of Wisconsin

  • Admitted to Federal District Court - Western District of Wisconsin

  • Board Member, Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Member, La Crosse Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 

  • Member, La Crosse Bar Association

  • Circuit Court Commissioner, La Crosse County

  • Member of the CJA indigent defense panel for the Federal Western District of Wisconsin

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

Contact Attorney Zachar

By appointment only.

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