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John Wallace Thurston

Criminal defense Attorney at Manhattan, KS

5.0   11 reviews
  • State Years
    Kansas - KS 23 years
    Texas - TX 23 years
  • Licensed for 23 years
    State KS
    Acquired 2001
    Active Lawyer disciplined by state licensing authority in 2016
  • Licensed for 23 years
    State TX
    Acquired 2000
    Not Eligible to Practice - Administrative

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    Drug Charges, Person Crimes, Alcohol-Related Crimes, Serious Felonies, Sex Crimes

    22 years, 1,200 cases

  2. DUI and DWI
    Misdemeanor and Felony DUI charges, administrative and license issues

    24 years, 2,400 cases

John's practice is limited to criminal defense.  He has handled a wide range of cases from kidnapping and rape to DUIs and other traffic offenses.  His wife Elizabeth is also an attorney.  They have three wonderful daughters and an energetic son.

In his off time, John enjoys traveling with his family (frequently to Disney World), scuba diving, and BBQing.  John's smoked ribs have been called the best on the planet by many.

Photos and videos


Addair Thurston, Chartered
900 Poyntz Avenue
Manhattan, KS, 66502-5457

Criminal Defense lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | August 25, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
John took my case, despite it being outside his current realm of practice. Unfortunately, COVID struck as he took me on, causing much anxiety and uncertainty. He went above and beyond during this time to take care of my situation as quickly as possible. John is brilliant, efficient, and makes his clients satisfaction his priority. I strongly recommend him to anyone needing the best of the best.
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Posted by Brian | March 27, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional and talented
I hired John Thurston after reading the reviews here. He is one of the best lawyers in town. I had previously met with other attorneys in the area and I was not impressed. John took my case and fought for me. Thank you for making an unpleasant situation bearable.
Posted by Blair | December 27, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional and Knowlegable
I really enjoyed working with John. We needed John on two instances and both had favorable outcomes. John is very straight forward and knowledgeable about the players at both the city and county levels. He is passionate about his clients rights, yet objective in the range of outcomes achievable and the timetables they will take. I couldn't have been happier with John's approach and the manner in which he conducted himself and guidance for our family member. I would highly recommend John to anyone needing assistance.
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Posted by Ronell williams | September 26, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I fired two lawyers before i got to john. The other lawyers would have got me out in jail and a felony on my record. John took my case look over it gave me a wounderful price and work with me on the payments. At the end of this case I'm walking away a free man and no felonies on my record. John showed that he cared about my life and in his eyes i was inocent and he showed it and proved it. John is very agressive and trustworthy. Im free i get to go home to my wife and three sons Im free . John i can't thank you enough MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND I THANK GOD FOR BRINGING ME TO YOU. LOOK PEOPLE IF YOU WANT THE JOB DONE RITE THEN YOU HAVE TO HIRE THE RITE PERSON JOHN IS THAT PERSON. I CANT STOP SAYING IT IM FREE THANK YOU AGAIN FOR BELIEVING ME AND FIGHITING FOR ME
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Posted by Paul | November 16, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Court Martial Defense
I hired John in 2007 to help defend me in a military Court Martial case. I was facing upwards of 6 years. John worked with my military attorney and I came out with a reductiion in rank, confinement to post and put out of the army. Best money that I have ever invested.
Posted by Gina | April 6, 2015
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Prompt response
Received prompt response by email to my legal questions. Lawyers responses showed friendliness and concern that you don't see everyday.
Posted by Donald | December 4, 2014
Best Lawyers in the Area!!!
I had a serious misunderstood incident that cost me multiple pending felony charges and would have led to prison time for protecting a member of the family. Mr. Thurston was compelled, understanding, honest, and upfront with his professional opinion and services. His knowledge in the law, will to fight for his client's BEST interest, and networking capability with other agencies is monumental. If you need criminal defense in Kansas, don't go anywhere else. But before anyone judges an opinion of cost just remember, you get what you pay for. My oney was worth every dime spent.
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Posted by anonymous | September 29, 2010
Very Professional. John will give you an honest assessment of your situation and create the strongest defense possible. I achieved a successful outcome because we were ready to go to trail and fight. Most Lawyers would have quit. If you want someone who will fight for you and your freedoms; I recommend John W. Thurston.
Posted by John | April 24, 2010
Makes the process easy and unstressful
After being charged with a DUI offense I contacted John Thurston's office and arranged a meeting. After speaking with John I was at ease with what I was facing. Every time new information came up or a court date was near I was always informed promptly. I never felt hesitant about asking questions, and John will reiterate over and over that he wants you to call if you have any questions. Prior to my court dates I was walked through what would happen and reassured that John would take care of everything in the courtroom. He is a straight shooter about how he feels about your case and go through specifics of what he likes and dislikes about it. A very friendly, professional, and caring attorney who will make dealing with the law as easy and smooth as it can possibly be.
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Posted by Mark | April 23, 2010
Awesome Lawyer
Mr. Thurston was Knowlegable, dedicated and focused on my case keeping me up on all of the breaking details as they occured, John went to court prepared & Lock and loaded with the facts winning all 3 of my cases in the last two years , what more can you ask for in a Lawyer, This Guy Rocks
Posted by anonymous | April 23, 2010
I'm glad I went to John Thurston
I am a soldier at Ft. Riley and am writing this because I feel it is necessary to let the people of the Ft. Riley, Junction City and Manhattan area know about a great resource that they have in John Thurston. My fiancé and I were in a legal situation that was keeping us from being able to deploy. Years of training had prepared us to deploy with our units. We wanted to go and we wanted to get married first. My fiancé and I needed legal assistance to facilitate getting married before one or both of us deployed. If we couldn’t deploy together, very easily we could’ve been set to not see each other for at least two years! Our personal and professional lives were in turmoil! I’m sure any lawyer would be able to handle each of these issues separately, but I would never anticipate a lawyer having the resources or willingness to handle them all at once. And some other lawyers were not willing to help. With so much hanging in the balance, our careers and our personal lives, it was truly amazing how throughout the process this lawyer operated in such a way that although he made us aware of the odds against it, we could have complete confidence that if there were a way for the outcome that we wanted, he would work to get it. Because of his professionalism, dedication, expertise and personal consideration for our needs, and the fact that he obviously worked tirelessly to attempt to give us the result that we wanted, my fiancé and I always felt at ease with our future in his hands. I am happy to say that the results of our legal issues were of the best possible outcome allowing us to deploy, and most importantly, we were able to marry! I am writing this letter from Iraq where my wife and I are deployed, serving our country the way the Army intended! I am proud to publicly thank John Thurston for his services and let the good people of the Ft. Riley, Junction City and Manhattan area know what a great resource that they have in John Thurston.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.9 (Superb)

Professional misconduct

This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2016.

Censure issued in KS, 2016
updated on 12/27/2019

Censure means the attorney did something wrong but may still practice law. The State censures the lawyer in hopes that he or she will not repeat the behavior. Details of the infraction are made part of the public record.

Work Experience

  • Founding Partner
  • Addair Thurston, Chtd.
  • 2006 - Present
  • Sole Partner
  • Thurston Law Firm
  • 2005 - 2006
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Kansas State University
  • 2003 - 2003
  • Associate
  • Huser Law Offices
  • 2002 - 2005
  • City Prosecutor
  • City of Manhattan, Kansas
  • 2000 - 2002
View all work experience


  • South Texas College Of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2000
  • University of Kansas
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1995

Sample of Legal Cases

  • City v. T.M.
  • Not Guilty Verdict
  • City v. S.Y.
  • Not Guilty
  • State v. N.K.
  • Verdict of Not Guilty
View all legal cases


  • Trial Skills University
  • Faculty
  • 2014 - Present
  • DUI Defense Lawyers Association
  • Vice President
  • 2014 - Present
  • DUI Defense Lawyers Association
  • Charter Member
  • 2014 - Present
  • American Chemical Society
  • Attorney Member
  • 2013 - Present
  • Flint Hills Breadbasket
  • Board of Directors
  • 2010 - Present
  • Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2004 - Present
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • member
  • 2004 - 2013
  • National College of DUI Defense
  • Member
  • 2003 - 2014
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Forensic Drug and Alcohol Lawyer Certificate
  • American Chemical Society
  • 2014
  • ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer Scientist
  • American Chemical Society
  • 2014
  • Drug Recognition Expert Training Certificate
  • Platt & Associates
  • 2012
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Test Instructor Certificate
  • Platt & Associates
  • 2012
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Certificate
  • Kansas Highway Patrol
  • 2001
  • Varsity Mock Trial Team
  • South Texas College of Law
  • 1999
View all awards


  • Whitehall Printing
  • Kansas DUI Survival Guide
  • 2015
  • Inside the Minds (Aspatore Books)
  • Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence
  • 2015
  • Pamphlet
  • Police Encounters 101
  • 2011
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Premier Ohio DUI Defense Seminar and Trial Skills Academy
  • DUI Trial Skills
  • 2014
  • Blood Evidence in DWI Cases: Mastering the Science
  • DUI Blood Testing
  • 2014
  • Updates to Kansas DUI Law
  • DUI
  • 2011
  • Winning DUI Defense Techniques
  • DUI Defense
  • 2008
  • Best of CLE Live
  • DUI Defense
  • 2008
  • Orientation to Kansas Practice
  • The Lawyers' Perspective
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (25)
Given (35)
Endorse John
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Endorsing John is easy yet hard. It is hard because I am limited in all of the good things I can say about him in the space allowed. It is easy because he is an excellent trial lawyer dedicated to not only doing the best job possible for his clients he is also dedicated to continuously learning to be a great lawyer. Furthermore he is an excellent teacher to other lawyers. I have had the great privilege to not only attend classes with John but to learn from him as well. Anyone hiring John is in great hands."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Thurston is one of the most passionate advocates I have known. He works diligently for his clients and strives to ensure that he is at the forefront of DUI knowledge. I highly recommend to anyone who is seeking an excellent advocate to consider Mr. Thurston for their counsel."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is an excellent attorney and a great person. I absolutely endorse him in both regards. John has an excellent reputation as a top DUI defense attorney in Kansas. He is skilled in all facets of DUI defense from field sobriety training to advanced blood testing techniques and defenses. Whenever I need to refer a case in Kansas, I call John."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Jun 28
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse Mr. Thurston. He is easily the most knowledgeable, experienced DUI attorney in Kansas. As an opposing counsel, he pursues his zealous advocacy with thorough professionalism."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 08
Relationship: Other
"John is a great Kansas criminal practicioner I would recommend him if you ever need counsel there!"
DUI and DWI Attorney | Mar 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John Thurston has made tremendous strides in defending citizens accused of a crime in Kansas. He has the knowledge, experience and tenacious spirit to fight for great results for his clients. Defending DUI/DWI cases successfully requires advanced and superior knowledge of the machines and tactics of the officers, John has undertaken that specialized training and wields that in court on behalf of his clients. When you are looking for an attorney to fight for the best result on your case, look no further than John Thurston."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Feb 09
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I met John Thurston at a national DWI seminar a few years ago. I quickly realized he was one of the brotherhood of DWI lawyers that cares about his clients and gives his all to obtain positive results in the courtroom. John made his presence felt over the years by contributing to our list servers and continuing to go to bat for his clients. John is a tried and true trial warrior with the desire to learn more and be the best lawyer in the courtroom. John is on the cutting edge of trial strategies and new techniques at winning without having to go to trial. John's ability to create problems with the State's case is something that should make the citizen accused come on board as soon as possible after being released from the jailhouse. I don't endorse lawyers lightly and I am aware that my credibility is on the line when I do so. It is without hesitation that I throw the full weight of my law offices behind this endorsement. The DWI Dude stands firmly behind John Thurston. Dude out!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 11
Relationship: Other
"John cares for his clients, is passionate about defending their interests and goes the extra mile to ensure they are taken care of when the need arises. Additionally, I know him to be smart, efficient and a consummate professional. I recommend him to anyone needing his help and advise."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Oct 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am proud to endorse attorney John Wallace Thurston. I know him to be an excellent advocate for his clients and to work dilligently to fully develop all available defenses. A consummate professional and excellent communicator, Mr. Thurston is the type of attorney I strive to emulate in my own practice."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John Thurston is one terrific DUI lawyer. I have met him at DUI defense seminars all across the country. John never fails to have a fresh approach and new ideas. Prosecutors must get awfully discouraged when they see his name on their cases. I proudly recommend him to you."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Attorney Thurston is a true champion of the citizen accused of DWI. His persuasive skills make him an an exceptional advocate and formidable adversary. Without hesitation Attorney Thurston is a lawyer you can trust to assist you in your time of need."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a one of a kind lawyer. He is dedicated to his clients and always staying on top of the law and science of DUI defense. I regularly see him at very advanced training courses. If you have been charged with DUI or any other criminal offense, John is your man."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a tenacious lawyer dedicated to the defense of his clients. As an active member of the National College for DUI Defense and a frequent contributor to several listservs I monitor, he has demonstrated a depth of knowledge and level of expertise matched by few who might call themselves his peers. Drivers in legal trouble who hire John will have a talented and aggressive advocate in their court."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is one of the top DUI lawyers in the country. His reputation as such is well known within the legal community. His knowledge of the science of alcohol testing is unmatched. John and I have known each other for years and quite frequently I have sought his counsel defending my own DUI clients in Southern California. Call him. He is the lawyer you want defending you for a DUI."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is one of the very best criminal defense attorneys in Kansas, hands down. His dedication to knowing the most current state of the law and how to apply the law to his clients' defense is second to none. John is at the cutting edge of the latest DUI and criminal defense developments because of his commitment to learning what is being used successfully from around the country. He is a regular attendee at national continuing education seminars and has truly mastered his chosen craft. I recommend John without a moment's hesitation."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John's dogged determination to uncover all of the facts and mistakes made in his client’s case is why I can wholeheartedly endorse him. He understands the science behind DUI Defense and knows how to apply it to his client’s cases. More importantly, he is sincere and dedicated in his beliefs that every citizen is entitled to the best defense and he delivers that."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a top-notch attorney. His dedication to mastering the law and science involved in defending alcohol-related offenses sets him apart from his competition."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is one of those attorneys who take representing their clients to another level. He takes the time to learn the nuances of how to properly defend a DUI case and is tireless in applying the things e has learned to his client's cases. He goes above and beyond in trying to obtain a positive outcome for his clients. I highly endorse John and his work."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is among a select few nationally who communicate with lawyers all over the country to make sure he is abreast of latest trends and changes in both the law and science behind a DUI/DWI arrest. John continues to go to national seminars in an attempt to better educate himself when it comes to anyone charged with DUI/DWI. Nationally recognized by other DUI/DWI lawyers, his trial skills and understanding of the law and science in any DUI/DWI case make him the go-to attorney in his area in Kansas."
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Manhattan Criminal defense Lawyer John Wallace Thurston
John Wallace Thurston
Criminal defense Attorney
Manhattan, KS
Licensed for 23 years
Free Consultation
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2016. See details