Best Syracuse Criminal Lawyers

Syracuse Criminal Lawyers – Your Advocates in Times of Need

Finding yourself in need of a criminal defense lawyer can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming experience. As a Syracuse resident facing criminal charges, having the right legal representation on your side is crucial for navigating the complex criminal justice system and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. This article provides an overview of criminal law in Syracuse, the role of defense lawyers, and tips for choosing the right advocate to fight for you.

An Introduction to Criminal Law in Syracuse

Syracuse is the fifth most populous city in New York, with around 143,000 residents. Like any major city, Syracuse sees its fair share of criminal activity ranging from misdemeanors to violent felonies. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, in 2021 Syracuse had 3,809 index crimes reported, including 13 murders, 140 rapes, 613 robberies, and 1,272 aggravated assaults.The Onondaga County criminal court system processes around 25,000 cases each year. Most cases originate in Syracuse City Court which handles misdemeanors, violations, and preliminary hearings for felonies. Felony cases get transferred to Onondaga County Court before a grand jury. Defendants who are indicted then face further proceedings and potential trial in County Court.New York criminal laws are complex, covering everything from traffic violations to violent crimes. The criminal code has numerous intricacies that only an experienced local criminal lawyer will fully understand. Potential penalties vary widely based on the charges and circumstances of each case. Even first-time offenders can face jail time, heavy fines, probation, license suspension, and other consequences.

The Role of a Syracuse Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal prosecution can be an intimidating, isolating experience. The role of a criminal defense lawyer is to advocate for the accused, protect their rights, and guide them through the legal process. An attorney levels the playing field against the power and resources of the prosecution.Defense lawyers perform numerous important functions for their clients:

  • Reviewing charges and analyzing the prosecution’s case to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Advising the client on possible defenses and legal strategy
  • Negotiating with the prosecution, including working towards plea bargains or dismissal of charges
  • Managing pretrial procedures like bail hearings and motions to suppress evidence
  • Conducting independent investigation and research to build the most compelling defense
  • Cross-examining witnesses during trial to undermine the prosecution’s version of events
  • Making arguments to judges and juries highlighting reasonable doubt in the state’s case
  • Presenting mitigating factors that help achieve a favorable sentence if convicted
  • Filing appeals if necessary to contest rulings or verdicts after trial

Having an assertive lawyer in your corner can make navigating the criminal justice system much less intimidating. Their expertise in criminal law and procedure evens the odds against the prosecution.

Choosing the Right Syracuse Criminal Defense Lawyer for You

Not all defense lawyers possess the same skills, experience, and commitment to clients. When selecting legal counsel after criminal charges, it’s important to do your research to find the right attorney for your needs. Here are some tips for choosing wisely:

  • Check credentials: Make sure any lawyer you consider is licensed in New York and has no history of disciplinary issues. Ask about their education, bar admissions, and professional memberships.
  • Seek relevant expertise: Look for lawyers who specialize in criminal defense, not general practitioners. Find someone with extensive experience handling your particular type of charges.
  • Understand their track record: Ask about the lawyer’s win/loss rate at trial and success with plea bargains. Be wary of any exaggerated claims or guarantees.
  • Consider resources: Private criminal defense lawyers have more time and access to investigators, experts, and research tools to build a strong case. Public defenders juggle heavy caseloads.
  • Meet for a consultation: Schedule a free meeting to discuss your case and assess whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer. Be sure you understand fee structures and can ask questions.
  • Check reviews: Look online for client reviews and testimonials regarding local criminal lawyers to gauge satisfaction. Beware of fake reviews, focus on multiple consistent experiences.
  • Compare options: Interview multiple attorneys before deciding. Compare skills, experience, involvement, and rapport before selecting who to hire.
  • Act quickly: The earliest stages of a case are crucial, so don’t delay in finding a trusted advisor. The right lawyer will provide confidence and an effective defense.

Notable Syracuse Criminal Defense Lawyers

Syracuse has many skilled criminal defense attorneys ready to assist clients from arrest through trial and appeal. Here are a few of the most prominent local lawyers:

  • Edward Menkin – Founder of Menkin & Menkin, Ed Menkin has over 25 years experience handling state and federal criminal cases. He is known for his meticulous trial preparation and success winning dismissals pretrial.
  • James McGinty – A former Assistant District Attorney, McGinty now puts his prosecutorial experience to work defending clients at his firm McGinty & Belangie. He has successfully defended complex white-collar crime and sex offense cases.
  • Kenneth Moynihan – As a partner at Worboys Poore & Moynihan, Moynihan is a tough litigator and former public defender respected for his strong defense of DWI and drug charges.
  • Jesse Ryder – Ryder Law handles exclusively criminal defense cases. Ryder is a strong negotiator who has secured excellent plea deals for clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors.
  • Candace Appleton – A skilled former public defender, Appleton founded Appleton Law to focus on criminal defense. She has successfully defended difficult homicide cases and sex crimes.

Working with Your Defense Lawyer for the Best Results

The relationship between a criminal defendant and their lawyer is vital for building an effective defense. Although a lawyer’s skills and experience are crucial, the outcome of your case also depends on your own cooperation. Here are some tips for working with your attorney:

  • Be completely honest and hold nothing back – your lawyer needs to know the full truth to best defend you.
  • Actively participate in strategic discussions and ask questions until you understand the plan.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about obtaining character references, treatment programs, or other steps to help your case.
  • Avoid actions that could undermine your case like discussing details publicly or contacting witnesses.
  • Promptly gather and provide your lawyer any evidence or documents needed for your defense.
  • Attend every meeting and court date, dressing and behaving in a respectable manner.
  • Trust your lawyer’s judgment and experience even if you don’t fully understand their approach at first.
  • Stay positive and focused on getting the best possible result rather than venting frustrations.

By building a relationship of trust and cooperation with your lawyer, you maximize the chances of a favorable outcome. This provides the peace of mind that comes with having an experienced professional fighting for your rights and freedom.


Dealing with criminal charges in Syracuse can be daunting, but the right lawyer makes all the difference. Defense attorneys even the odds against the prosecution, protect the accused’s rights, and provide expert guidance. When selecting an attorney, research credentials, experience, and track record thoroughly. Prominent local defense lawyers have a proven history of achieving dismissals, acquittals, and favorable plea deals for their clients. With an experienced criminal lawyer on your side, you can feel empowered to navigate the legal process and achieve the best resolution.