Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Greg Colavecchia, Esq.
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Being arrested for a crime in Syracuse, NY, can have lifelong consequences. Depending on the offense, it may affect your right to vote or could cost you your freedom. At King Law, our criminal defense lawyers have a deep understanding of state and federal law. We have a long track record of success in implementing effective defense strategies for our clients.

If you are arrested for a crime in Syracuse, contacting an attorney as early as possible is imperative. Early retention of a lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the criminal charges and court process, prepare for the case-related costs, and provide you with the largest number of legal resources and options.

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Syracuse Criminal Defense Lawyers

The legal team at King Law includes former prosecutors and Assistant U.S. Attorneys. With decades of collective experience in the Syracuse area and throughout Central New York, our lawyers know the local laws and customs, as well as the prosecutors and judges. We have a strong reputation and will not give up until the most favorable disposition possible is reached in your case. Our lawyers are experienced in DUI, assault, federal white-collar crimes, and more.

At King Law, we consistently implement effective defense strategies, taking on a proactive and persistent approach to preclude prosecution’s case. Our lawyers provide dedicated defense in court trials and appeals and have successfully defended hundreds of cases across a variety of criminal charges. King Law founder Robert Scott King has a 10.0 Top Attorney Rating on Avvo and has been recognized by several state and national organizations.

Types of Criminal Defense Cases in Syracuse, NY

Criminal cases can range from relatively minor offenses to major felonies with life-altering consequences. Regardless of the type of case, it is important to seek aggressive legal representation to mitigate the potential impact of a conviction in Syracuse, NY.

Common criminal defense cases in Syracuse:

  • Assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
  • Drug charges
  • Fraud
  • Hate crimes
  • Homicide
  • Robbery/larceny
  • Sexual harassment/assault
  • White-collar crimes

Lesser charges with serious consequences:

  • Unlawful marijuana possession: A conviction for unlawful marijuana possession risks a fine, incarceration, and may have an impact on federal financial aid and professional opportunities.
  • Petit larceny: Petit larceny involves theft under $1,000 with the potential for significant fines and jail time.
  • Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle: The penalties for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle range based on the offense level, from fines to prison time.
  • Harassment in the second degree: Harassment in the second degree covers physical altercations and intimidating behavior without causing physical injury.

It is within your best interest to secure legal representation throughout all stages of the criminal proceedings. An attorney can help from the initial arrest or arraignment through later proceedings, including aiding to expunge a conviction and clear your name. It is important to remember that even seemingly minor offenses can have long-lasting impacts on your life, affecting everything from educational opportunities to employment prospects.

Finding a Good Criminal Defense Attorney in Syracuse, NY

If you are arrested for a crime in Syracuse, NY, you need to find a good criminal defense attorney who truly believes that you are “innocent until proven guilty.” You will want to retain a firm with proven, innovative exoneration tactics and a track record of success negotiating plea bargains for lesser charges and penalties despite mounting evidence against their clients.

To find a good criminal defense attorney you should:

  • Consider referrals
  • Contact local bar associations
  • Use an attorney recommendation service
  • Look for someone with local experience who will be able to leverage their knowledge of the jurisdiction’s legal landscape
  • Retain someone with a proven track record of success and experience with the same kind of case that is pending against you
  • Look for someone with local experience who will be able to leverage their knowledge of the jurisdiction’s legal landscape
  • Find someone you are compatible with and find trustworthy
  • Take advantage of free consultations offered by attorneys

An experienced lawyer will help to translate the complexities of legal terminology into understandable language, navigating you through each step of the process and calming your fears. They will assess your charges, financial situation, and potential steps to help mitigate the consequences of your case. They will be able to provide you with voluntary actions, such as entering a treatment program, which can favorably impact the court’s perception.

Infographic with a illustration of a lawyer listing ways to find a good criminal defense lawyer and some qualities to look for in a good criminal defense lawyer.

Questions To Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer

During your free consultation, you should take the time to ask the attorney a wide variety of questions. You will want to use this opportunity to assess their experience, how they will manage your case, and whether they are familiar with the area.

Questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse:

  • How long have you been practicing in Syracuse?
  • What court will my case be heard out of?
  • What prosecutors currently work out of that courthouse?
  • What judge could hear my case?
  • Have you handled this type of case before?
  • Will my case be handled by you or another attorney?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • How should I expect to hear from you?
  • Who else will I be working within the office?
  • What is your success rate?
  • What options do I have in my case?

These are only a few of the many questions that you should consider asking during your consultation. The more questions you ask, the better you can ensure a well-informed selection process.

When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Syracuse, NY

It is strongly recommended that you secure early legal counsel if you are facing criminal charges. A delay in obtaining legal counsel may negatively impact your case, limiting your options. Handling your case on your own or with inexperienced counsel may lead to irreparable damage and missed opportunities for a better outcome.

Early retention of an experienced attorney may help you prevent severe penalties and financial burdens down the road. However, if the cost of private counsel is prohibitive, the Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to an attorney. A public defender may be available if you cannot afford private counsel.

What a Criminal Defense Lawyer Does for Your Case

A criminal defense lawyer plays an important role in your case. From the initial meeting to the final resolution, your attorney will help guide you through the process, always working to ensure your rights are protected.

A criminal defense lawyer’s responsibilities include:

  • Conducting an initial interview. During the initial meetings, the aim is to gather detailed information about the case and identify possible defenses and the case’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Investigating the case. A case investigation generally involves questioning police procedures, talking to witnesses, and collecting case-related information to build a strong defense.
  • Analyzing evidence. An attorney will often carefully examine the prosecution’s evidence, request independent testing of evidence, and explore legal theories against conviction.
  • Maintaining client communication. Lawyers are required to keep their clients well-informed about case developments and ensure that they understand the potential consequences of a conviction, with a focus on confidentiality.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor. An attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor assigned to the case to try to obtain the most favorable outcome in the case, including a plea deal for reduced charges or lighter sentencing.
  • Jury selection and trial representation. A trial lawyer will represent you in all phases of a trial from jury selection through sentencing.

In order for a criminal defense attorney to fully represent you, however, it is essential to retain them as early in the process as possible. The earlier you consult with a lawyer, the more options you will have on your case.

Infographic listing the responsibilities of a criminal defense lawyer.


Defense Strategies for Criminal Defendants

A criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, NY, should be well-versed in determining the best defense strategy for your case. There are a number of potential defense strategies that they may use to secure you a favorable disposition in your case.

Common defense strategies for criminal defendants include:

  • Presenting an alibi
  • Claiming self-defense
  • Arguing entrapment
  • Arguing a violation of constitutional rights
  • Proving innocence
  • Negotiating for a lesser included offense
  • Claiming insanity

The defense narrative should be truthful, sympathetic, and explanatory, showing the defendant’s perspective based on evidence. When formulating the defense strategy, the attorney will review police reports, evaluate witness credibility, and apply relevant laws, all guided by the defendant’s story. An attorney will always ensure confidential communication fostering honest dialogue critical for defense planning.

Costs and Fees of a Syracuse Criminal Defense Lawyer

The average hourly rate for a Syracuse criminal defense lawyer ranges from $100 to $500, depending on experience and firm reputation. Flat fees also vary widely from $1,000 to $5,000 for misdemeanors. A felony may cost up to $25,000, while complex federal cases range from $30,000 to over $100,000.

Factors that may increase the cost of representation include serious charges, prior convictions, extensive evidence, and whether the matter will go to trial. If cost is a factor, an attorney may offer a payment plan or be willing to negotiate a flat fee. If the cost is prohibitive, you may qualify for a public defender, but they generally have high caseloads.

Many attorneys will work with you. They often accept payment plans and retainer fees with full trial fees due only if the case goes to trial. The bottom line is that investing in quality legal representation is important to achieve the best outcome.

Contact a Criminal Lawyer in Syracuse, NY

At King Law, we are client-focused with a commitment to each and every one of our clients. We offer flexible hours and are available seven days a week. Our legal team works tirelessly to clear names, preserve freedoms, and protect wins. We have the capability to win cases from arraignment dismissals to courtroom trials. Contact our office today to get started.

Where Our Syracuse Law Firm is Located:

Our Syracuse office is located at 60 Presidential Ct, #210, Syracuse, NY 13202. We are local to the Syracuse area. We know the court procedures and customs, giving us an advantage in the courtroom.

Syracuse City Court
505 South State St.
Syracuse, NY 13202-2104
Phone: (315) 671-2760

Onondaga County District Attorney
Criminal Courthouse, 4th Floor
505 South State Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 435-2470

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Syracuse, NY?
The cost of a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, NY, will depend on a number of factors, including the type of offense you were arrested for and your criminal history. Hourly rates range from $100 to $500, while flat fees can start at $1,000 for misdemeanors and go up to $25,000 or more for felonies.
What does a criminal defense lawyer do in Syracuse?
A criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse has a wide range of responsibilities. They must, however, maintain confidentiality, work to protect your rights, and represent you in accordance with the retainer agreement.
What are good questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, NY?
Good questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse include how much experience they have had handling cases similar to yours, whether they are local to the area, and what their fees for representation are.
What is the average cost for a Syracuse criminal defense lawyer?
The average cost for a Syracuse criminal defense lawyer varies depending on the type of crime and the retainer agreement. Hourly rates range from $100 to $500, while flat fees may start at $1,000 to $5,000 for misdemeanors and up to $25,000 for felonies.
How do you pay a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse?
Criminal defense lawyers are either paid an hourly rate for their work or a flat fee retainer. In some cases, the trial fee may be separate, payable only if the case goes to trial.
How much does a criminal defense lawyer charge per hour in Syracuse, NY?
A Syracuse criminal defense lawyer usually charges around $100 to $500 per hour.
What’s the retainer for a good criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse?
A retainer for a good criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse will depend on the type of crime. Generally, a flat fee will be between $1,000 and $5,000 for misdemeanors and up to $25,000 for felonies.
When do I talk to a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, NY?
It is strongly recommended that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you learn that you are being investigated for a crime or have been placed under arrest.