Skip to main content

About me

W. James Payne is a fearless criminal trial lawyer.  Mr. Payne is also a retired Colonel of United States Marines, serving his country for over 30 years as a Reserve Officer and very active trial lawyer. 

Mr. Payne's practice is defending the criminally accused in the following venues:  State Court, Federal Court, and Courts-Martial (Military Justice).  Criminal charges include Felonies, Misdemeanors, DUI/DWI, murder, sex crimes, robbery, rape, larceny, computer crimes, military offenses, drug trafficking, drug conspiracy, white collar offenses.

Mr. Payne has such experience in defending the criminally accused that he is one of a very select group of attorneys in North Carolina that are qualified to defend capital (death penalty) murder cases.  Further, Mr. Payne is also qualified to represent defendants in United States District Court that are unable to afford the services of a private attorney.

In the Marine Corps, W. James Payne served as a judge advocate.  He defended Marines and officers from the rank of Private through General on a multitude of differing military justice offense.  Colonel Payne also served five years on the bench as a military judge and several years as the Staff Judge Advocate for the 4th Marine Logistics Group.

An avid Crossfitter, Mr. Payne prides himself on keeping in top physical shape to have the stamina to represent his clients with drive, energy, and enthusiasm.


Photos and videos

1745606 1319404313

1745606 1316896408

Practice areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 40%
    32 years
  2. Military Law: 30%
    31 years
  3. Federal Crime: 30%
    27 years



Hourly ($250-300/hour), Fixed (sometimes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

3 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Thomas C. Goolsby

    I have known Colonel Payne for 20+ years. He is an outstanding attorney with a stellar track record in Federal and State criminal court. Always prepared and ready to fight for his clients, James is an attorney at the top of his profession! I recommend him without hesitation.


    Thomas Goolsby Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Dustin R. T. Sullivan

    One of the finest attorneys in our area who is willing to fight for his client's rights.


    Dustin Sullivan DUI and DWI Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

W. James Payne, Attorney-At-Law

P. O. Box 2308
4434 Main St.
Shallotte, NC, 28459


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
OwnerW. James Payne, Attorney-At-Law2010 - Present
PartnerPowell & Payne, Attorneys-At-Law1990 - 2010
PartnerPowell, Gore, & Payne, Attorneys-At-Law1989 - 1990
AssociatePowell & Gore, Attorneys-At-Law1988 - 1989
AssociateMurchison, Taylor, Kendrick, Gibson, and Davenport1987 - 1988
Judge AdvocateUnited States Marine Corps1984 - 2009
Association namePosition nameDuration
United States District Court for the Middle District of North CarolinaMember1995 - Present
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North CarolinaMember1989 - Present
Rotary Club of the South Brunswick IslandsMember1989 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMemberN/A
North Carolina Advocates for JusticeMemberN/A
North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Criminal Law SectionMemberN/A
Brunswick County North Carolina Criminal Indigent Appointment CommitteeMemberN/A
Rotary Club of the South Brunswick IslandsPast-President1993 - 1995
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
State of North Carolina vs. Danny L. Thomas, capital murder chargeLife Without Parole
State of North Carolina v. CaudleFull Acquittal
State of North Carolina v. Larry RobinsonLife
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of LawN/AJD - Juris Doctor1984
Campbell UniversityGovernment-Pre LawBS - Bachelor of Science1981
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Capital Murder CollegeClosing Arguments in the Penalty Phase of a Capital Muder Case2011
Capital Murder CollegeLogistics in a Capital Murder Case2011
Capital Defense CollegeJury Selection in Capital Murder Cases2011