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Manuel E. Leiva

Criminal defense Attorney at Fairfax, VA

5.0   11 reviews

also known as Manuel Leiva, Manuel Enrique Leiva

  • Licensed for 25 years
    State VA
    Acquired 1998
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Manuel

Learn Manuel’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    Represent individuals charged with Assault & Battery Drug Offenses Financial Crimes Sex Offenses Crimes of Violence DWI/DUI Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy Driving While Intoxicate

    26 years

  2. Personal injury
    Motor Vehicle Accidents Intentional Torts Catastrophic Injuries

    25 years

  3. DUI and DWI

    26 years

Mr. Leiva has the trial experience you need when facing criminal charges. He has both bench and jury trial experience, with matters ranging from misdeameanors to serious felonies such as murder. Many people make the mistake and hire a lawyer based on the years a lawyer has been practicing. If you're charged with a criminal offense, the number of years a lawyer has been practicing is not important, what's important is how many cases the lawyer has taken to trial. The reason is simple, if your lawyer can't reach a favorable resolution with the prosecutor, you have no other option but to go to trial. So, if your lawyer has little to no trial experience, you're at a severe disadvantage. 



The Leiva Law Firm, PLC
3955 Chain Bridge Road
2nd Floor
Fairfax, VA, 22030

Criminal Defense lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | February 25, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Focused and Effective
I hired Manuel for an urgent matter. From our first conversation to the court date, Manuel provided focused and effective advice. Whenever I had questions, he was responsive and respectful. His work ethic and diligent preparation for my case was evident in court, and I was happy with the results. Manuel has my highest recommendation.
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Posted by anonymous | November 22, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Got my dui totally fixed!!!
Mr. Leiva was wonderful when talking to him over the phone and hired him immediately. I was really stressed leading up to my court date, and was worried about the outcome. The day of court I met him since I was charged in Fairfax and me living in Norfolk. Well, let me tell you, I shook his hand, and we went over my intentions right then and there. I waited in the courtroom until he was done talking with the prosecutor. We sat down and he was able to drop my dui down to a reckless and drop my refusal charge altogether! Saved my career and life!
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Posted by anonymous | October 27, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great and dependable lawyer
A great lawyer. He settled the case in a way better than expected. Would definitely recommend.
Posted by Kathleen | October 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Manuel Leiva: intelligent, effective, thorough and caring. The best.
Mr. Leiva represented me when I was charged with criminal trespass by my ex-husband. From the first meeting, Mr. Leiva was focused, asked really good, targeted questions, and was sympathetic to my situation. He gave a realistic assessment of the possible rulings a judge would make, then outlined for me the steps he would take to structure my case for court. In court, he was eloquent and brilliant in his cross-examination. He had such clear thoughts and legal arguments that he basically just tied up my ex-husband up in loops. If I hadn't been so scared, it would have been fun to watch. When it was my turn to take the stand, Mr. Leiva stood up, said "Move to Strike". The judge said "Agreed". I didn't even have to testify because Mr. Leiva was so effective in court. Not to mention, he was careful about watching the financial charges, and his rates are fair and reasonable. I feel very very lucky to have found him and would hire him again immediately if I had too. He is a truly talented, excellent and empathic attorney.
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Posted by anonymous | July 31, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My Savior and Manuel is a No-Nonsense Get it done Lawyer!!!
I initially hired another lawyer, but turn out to be he did not do the things that Lawyer was suppose to do. He just made promises and told me everything will be ok, so don't worry. Oh behold during the court, everything was turned over and I never heard anything from the lawyer. He just disappeared. That is the time when my family took drastic measures fired the previous lawyer, and hired Manuel Leiva! He was professional, he had the experience under his belt, he did not give us the BS stories that others would. He cared about us, and he was very diligent about doing his investigation and preparing for the case. He was also readily available when we call him. As a result, the Judge over turned the case that was hopeless. I really thought it was over, but Manuel kept the faith and worked hard on our behalf. He was truly a God sent and we Love him for all the hard work he did for us. He is a miracle worker! Until now, I still keep in touch with him for any questions and I always refer him to all of my friends and family. If you need a serious lawyer who cares about you, hire Manuel. I highly recommend Manuel Leiva!!!
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Posted by anonymous | July 23, 2013
A Superlative Lawyer
Mr. Leiva handled my teenage daugher's DWI and did a truly excellent job. I could not be more favorably impressed with Mr. Leiva's professionalism, knowledge, connections and skills in representing us and helping us through a difficult time. He expertly assessed my daughter's case, gave us a thorough analysis of our options and recommended a plea bargain approach to the prosecutor that was accepted: my daughter received probation, a one year loss of license and if she complied with all of the court's conditions (drug counseling, no further legal troubles of any kind), her conviction would be expunged. Mr. Leiva counseled my daughter in terms of how the case before the judge would play out, how she should conduct herself and answer the judge's and prosecutor's questions, and how she should comply with the probation office. It has been a year now and my daughter's record was successfully expunged, and her probation even was ended 6 months early. Based on our experience, I recommend Mr. Leiva without hesitation -- he is calm, reasonable and savvy. He understands the Fairfax County court system, judges and prosecutors, and provides sound, practical advice. I think his experience as a public defender, and his training and work under some of the best lawyers in Fairfax County makes him uniquely qualified and highly respected in his handling of dui/dwi and criminal matters. He is my "go-to" lawyer for these kinds of matters for my family, friends and clients.
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Posted by Matthew | February 19, 2013
Superb Attorney
When I first spoke on the phone with Manuel I could tell that he had my best interests at heart and he genuinely wanted to help. You can immediately tell how knowledgable he is in the field of law. I hired him on the spot. When I finally met him, I knew I had made the right choice. His character is second to none. He tells you exactly what small things YOU can do to help yourself while he takes care of EVERYTHING else. Manuel is calm and consultative. His level-headed approach, charisma and confidence are what makes Manuel a winner in the judicial system, in the court-room and in plea bargains. I was facing a level one misdemeanor which could have meant huge fines and jail time. Manuel was able to plea bargain with the prosecutor to get my 30-day sentence reduce to ZERO DAYS! My fine was also INCREDIBLY SMALL compared to what it COULD have been had I not hired Manuel. I really can't say enough about Manuel. His wisdom is beyond his years and he uses his powers for good. Do yourself a favor...hire Manuel Leiva! (Or at least give him a call today)
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Posted by anonymous | February 11, 2013
Facing multiple felony charges & "The Trial" I'll never forget
Manuel Leiva is a talented attorney, with substantial trial experience. His performance throughout my trial was simply amazing. He's also well respected throughout the entire court system. I'm very happy with his work and I'm glad I decided to fight the charges with a 2 day trial. I highly recommend him to others.
Posted by anonymous | January 10, 2013
Best Lawyer EVER!!!!!!
I talked to at least 15 lawyers and Mr Leiva was that number15. I wish I had met him sooner so I wouldnt have had to talk to all the other lawyers that wasted my precious time. The moment I met him, told him about my case, from the answers I got, I automatically knew he was the lawyer I would hire. Mr Leiva is the best lawyer anyone can ever ask for. He truly cares about his client and did everything possible for my case. He was extremely understanding, professional, caring. How many lawyers do you think will allow their clients to call them at 3in the morning? NONE. He was always well prepared, extremely professional and I couldnt have asked for a better lawyer..If you need a lawyer, trust me he is the one. AT the end, I am extremely happy with his services and at an affordable rate as well..
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Posted by Jessica | August 24, 2011
Excellent counsel -- exceeded all expectations
After a particularly emotional day in January, I made the terrible mistake of driving intoxicated and was charged with an aggravated DUI (BAC > .20 and accident involved). Knowing that I was facing the probability of serious jail time, I turned to the Internet in a desperate search for the most qualified Fairfax attorney. The first lawyer I hired, an expensive attorney who claimed to be among the best in the area, tried to negotiate with the prosecution to no avail and told me in the end that my case was hopeless. Scared and disappointed, I decided to seek a second opinion and, at the recommendation of a friend, retained Manuel Leiva as my new lawyer. I am certain that hiring Manuel was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made. Manuel met with me in person and, from the very beginning of our attorney-client relationship, was honest, sincere, and patient enough to answer my impulsive bombardments of often irrational questions. With my trial date just weeks away, he studied my case thoroughly, prepared my defenses, and kept me consistently informed, even giving me his cell phone number in case I needed to contact him outside of the office. He assured me that if the prosecution remained unwilling to make me an offer, he was more than ready to go to trial. When the day of my trial arrived, the prosecution had four witnesses to testify against me, and I was terrified of my fate. My defenses now seemed far and few between, especially since I had already confessed my guilt to the police officer on the night of my arrest. Nonetheless, Manuel asserted that he was prepared for trial and would do his best to fight my charges. Still, the circumstances were hardly in my favor and I felt unequivocally defeated. As I sat nervously on that cold courtroom bench, trying to resign myself to a lengthy jail term, Manuel cornered the prosecutor in a final attempt to negotiate a plea bargain. I have no idea what was said behind closed doors, but no more than 20 minutes later, he returned with miraculous news: despite the prosecution's steadfast unwillingness to budge until this point, Manuel had finally convinced them to reduce my BAC (and not prosecute the accident charge). I left the courtroom with a minimal punishment and my dignity unbroken. My world was not shattered as I thought it would be, and I'm now free to write this review only days after my final court date. As extraordinary as my outcome was, I would recommend Manuel Leiva without reservation even if he had not been able to persuade the prosecution in my favor. The effort he dedicated to my case was sincere and impressive, and I was comforted to know that he, unlike my previous attorney, was ready to fight to reduce my charges no matter how hopeless my circumstances seemed to me. As someone with no criminal history before my DUI, my conscience still aches for the horrible mistake I made on that January night, but as I continue to confront and heal from the poor decisions that I made, I'm confident that I made one amazingly prudent decision in hiring Manuel Leiva as my attorney.
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Posted by anonymous | July 8, 2011
Would recommend to everyone i know (and have!)
I have worked in the the Fairfax County court system for over 15 years. I received a minor traffic offense but still wanted to take it to court to try and see if i could do something to lessen the points on my DMV record and maybe get the charge reduced to a lessor offense. I knew right away that I should contact Mr. Leiva for my representation. The rapport he had with the courts (judges, clerks and other programs) is great. We walked into court and he knew all the key players and it was an easy experience. Would absolutely recommend him.
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • The Leiva Law Firm, PLC
  • 2011 - Present
  • Partner
  • Leiva & Marks, PLC
  • 2006 - 2011
  • Associate
  • Leffler & Hyland, PC
  • 1999 - 2003
  • Assistant Attorney
  • Office of the Public Defender
  • 1998 - 1999
View all work experience


  • American University, Washington College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1998
  • American University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1993


  • Virginia State Bar, Indigent Defense Task Force
  • Board Member
  • 2010 - Present
  • Virginia State Bar, Diversity Conference
  • Board of Governors
  • 2009 - Present
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia
  • Chair, Judicial Selection Committee
  • 2006 - Present
  • Virginia State Bar, Criminal Law Section
  • Board Member
  • 2014 - 2017
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia
  • President
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Fairfax Bar Association
  • Judicial Screening Committee
  • 2007 - 2008
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia
  • Vice President
  • 2006 - 2007
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish
  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyer
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2018
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2017
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2016
  • AV Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2012
View all awards

Speaking Engagements

  • Protective Order Training
  • Defending Against Protective Orders
  • 2008
  • Annual Public Defender Seminar
  • Defending Gang Cases
  • 2005

Attorney endorsements

Received (10)
Given (3)
Endorse Manuel
DUI and DWI Attorney | Aug 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer, and have observed his considerable skills in multiple DUI trials in Fairfax."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am proud to endorse Manuel Leiva. Manuel is an excellent attorney, advocate, and friend. He fights zealously for his clients on cases ranging from everyday offenses to capital murder prosecutions. His experience in both state and federal court is outstanding. I regularly consult Manuel on complex legal issues, and I am proud to count him as a friend and colleague."
Unknown Attorney | Apr 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Highly effective trial lawyer and litigator. I have observed him in the courtroom - he fights wholeheartedly for his clients. I absolutely recommend him."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Manuel is a fearless litigator. He regularly takes on very challenging criminal and civil cases and does it with confidence. He welcomes taking his cases to trial and gets great results. I highly endorse this lawyer."
Personal injury Attorney | May 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Leiva is a great trial lawyer. He is very knowledgable in many areas of practice. He is well-known and respected in many jurisdictions around Virginia."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Manuel is well known as a vigorous advocate for his clients. He is meticulous and well-prepared for trial and has a reputation for being an aggressive and effective attorney for serious criminal matters."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Manuel is a great attorney and a fixture in the court house. He is well respected personally and professionally. I strongly endorse him."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I've had the opportunity to witness Manuel in action. He's a focused, fearless advocate and well respected the northern virginia legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Meticulous preparation and attention to detail are among Manuel's many qualities that distinguish him in the practice of law. He is a caring and tactically astute practitioner of the art of criminal defense, with a professional skill set that well-serves his clients. Whether in the courtroom and or in efforts to improve the bar, it is always a pleasure to collaborate with such an able lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have personally worked on cases with Manuel. He is intelligent, a great trial attorney, and he fights hard for his clients."
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Divorce and separation
Criminal defense