J. Merritt Wagoner

J. Merritt Wagoner

Managing Partner
Wilmington, North Carolina
I grew up in Beckley, West Virginia.  After graduating from high school, I went to Clemson University for two years before transferring to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  In 1998, I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Natural Resources.  From 2001-2004, I attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California where I graduated with honors.  In 2004, I began my  legal career in Wilmington, North Carolina.  For more than a decade, I have been defending persons in state and federal court who have been accused of committing criminal offenses.  My experience includes jury trials, trials before District Court Judges, suppression motion hearings, probation violation hearings, and resolving numerous criminal violations for my clients.  When I am not practicing law, I enjoy surfing and spending time with my wife and three children.

Areas of Practice

  • State and Federal Criminal Defense
  • Drug Offenses
  • Sex Offenses
  • Driving while impaired
  • Misdemeanor Offenses

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 2004
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina, 2012


  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California
    • J.D. cum laude - 2004
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
    • B.S. - 1998
    • Major: Natural Resources

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice