What Are Some Criminal Lawyer in Rochester NY Pros and Cons?

What Are Some Criminal Lawyer in Rochester NY Pros and Cons?

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, whether professional or personal. The attorney-client relationship always has some pros and cons. However, in a partnership with the right criminal lawyer in Rochester, NY, the pros greatly outweigh the cons, at least in most cases.

An old story among criminal defendants is that a lawyer helps you get what’s coming to you. Alas, many of the thousands of attorneys in New York have this attitude. They immediately look for a quick settlement and an easy way out, so they can move onto the next case.

The good news is that the Empire State has more lawyers (over 185,000) than any other state in the country.[1] California is second, if you can call it that, with barely more than 167,000. All these attorneys in New York mean that the right one for you is out there somewhere.


Another old saying is that a man who represents himself is a fool for a client. Usually, this aphorism is accurate. The state has a team of attorneys, legal support staff, and investigators who, in most cases, only care about convicting defendants. They usually don’t care anything about justice. The deck is stacked so badly that an individual simply has no chance of obtaining a favorable result.

Non-incarceration matters may be the one exception. Many low-level misdemeanors in New York, especially traffic ticket cases, are fine-only cases. Most people gamble with their money in one way or another. Gambling with your liberty is something else entirely and not something that anyone should do.

Nevertheless, there could be a lot of money at stake. The collateral consequences of a speeding ticket are a good example. The fine itself might only be about $50 or $100. However, the court adds significant fees to this fine. Additionally, most speeding tickets raise insurance rates by about 25 percent.[2] So, there might be more at stake than you think.

Therefore, even in non-incarceration cases, defendants should always ask Rochester, NY, criminal lawyers to evaluate their cases. An attorney tells you what could happen if you lose the case. That includes the direct and collateral consequences. Furthermore, a lawyer identifies possible defenses, such as malfunctioning equipment in speeding ticket cases. After this evaluation, defendants can make better choices.

Public Defender/Court-Appointed Lawyer

We’ve probably all seen horror stories about overworked public defenders and court-appointed lawyers who barely keep up with their cases and don’t fight for their clients. That’s probably true in some cases. But certainly not in all cases.

Some people may remember the 1995 Oklahoma City truck bombing. Timothy McVeigh, the bomber, was executed for his crimes. McVeigh’s primary accomplice, Terry Nichols, faced a similar fate. Michael Tigar, a court-appointed lawyer, led Nichols’ defense team.[3] Tigar and his team convinced a jury to sentence Nichols to life in prison without parole. That’s certainly not an ideal outcome, but it’s much better than it could have been.

This story brings up two important points. First, a court-appointed lawyer or public defender is perfectly capable of handling your defense. Bear in mind that the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney but not the right to a free attorney. Public defenders are only available in limited situations.

Second, “winning” a criminal case could mean different things. A not-guilty verdict is obviously a win. So is a pretrial dismissal of charges. If a criminal lawyer in Rochester, NY, significantly reduces the punishment, that’s a win as well.

Private Rochester, NY Criminal Lawyer

Of all these options, a full-time partnership with a criminal defense lawyer has the most pros and fewest cons. Full-time lawyers not only evaluate cases. They also prepare defenses and, most importantly, advocate for defendants.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, defendants have limited court appointed/public defender options. But they have unlimited choices when it comes to private attorneys. Additionally, if a private Rochester, NY criminal lawyer isn’t working out, for whatever reason, most defendants can change lawyers at any time. However, defendants cannot “fire” court-appointed lawyers or public defenders. They can ask the judge to designate someone else, but the judge will almost certainly refuse to do so.

One final note. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to hire any attorney they choose. So, the state cannot use the forfeiture process to seize so much money or other property that defendants cannot afford to hire the lawyers they want to hire.

There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal attorney for robbery. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.



[1] https://www.ilawyermarketing.com/lawyer-population-state/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/speeding-ticket-rate-increase/

[3] https://www.cobar.org/Calendar/Event/sessionaltcd/DYLD091721

What’s the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary?

What’s the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary?

Many people believe these three offenses are similar. They are similar in terms of punishment. They’re also similar in that New York officials aggressively arrest and prosecute alleged robbers, thieves, and burglars.<[1] But in terms of everything else, they’re quite different. They apply to specific conduct and criminalize different types of behavior.

These offenses have something else in common. A Rochester criminal attorney for robbery can challenge the evidence in each one and obtain a favorable result in all of them, usually without going to trial. Especially if the defendant has no criminal record, and especially if the offense was basically a property offense, prosecutors are often willing to offer pretrial diversion. Alternatively, a Rochester criminal attorney for robbery could also obtain a not-guilty verdict at trial or arrange a plea bargain to a lesser included offense.

Theft Charges

Essentially, theft is taking property with the intent to deprive the owner of its full value. Shoplifting and failure to timely return rental property may be the two most common kinds of theft in New York.

Low-value, single-actor shoplifting cases used to be very common, especially in Monroe County. Now, most law enforcement agencies don’t respond to such calls. The value must be over a certain amount, usually $100. Higher-value, multi-actor cases are a lot harder to prove in court.

The owner must testify in court that the defendant deprived the owner of the full use of the property. In charging instruments, prosecutors often designate salespeople or even store security guards as owners. Most theft cases go to trial about a year after the alleged theft. By that time, the named owner is usually long gone.

Prosecutors can easily fix this error and designate someone else. However, that’s assuming they notice the issue.

Most U-Haul, Avis, and other property rental agencies usually impose high penalties on people who return property after the due date. However, many prosecutors hesitate to enforce these provisions in court. Such enforcement basically turns the state into a debt collector.

Robbery Charges

Under New York law, robbery is basically theft plus force or the threat of force. So, robbery is usually more serious than theft and burglary, which are essentially property crimes. Robbery is almost always a serious felony. Burglary and theft are typically less serious felonies or even misdemeanors.

Like theft, robbery requires a non-officer witness. Unlike theft, a robbery witness isn’t just a technical witness who can be replaced at the last minute. Instead, a robbery witness is vital to the case.

Unlike police officers, alleged robbery victims usually aren’t professional witnesses. A Rochester criminal attorney for robbery can often intimidate these witnesses. If witnesses change their stories even slightly, they often lose all credibility with a judge or jurors.

Additionally, the trauma these witnesses endure often affects their recollection. In one landmark study, an actor aggressively questioned a volunteer for about two hours. The next day, the volunteer couldn’t pick the actor out of a lineup.[2]

Evidence issues at trial often prompt prosecutors to make more favorable pretrial deals. As the risk of a not-guilty verdict increases, a Rochester criminal attorney for robbery obtain additional leverage.

Burglary Charges

Generally, burglary is breaking and entering with the intent to commit theft or a felony. So, a few burglary crimes are property-related. Most burglary offenses involve the violation of a protective order.

These crimes often involve more force than robbery. But that’s not always the case, especially in protective order violation cases. Frequently, estranged romantic partners have keys to the alleged victim’s residence. On a related note, some burglary cases are breaking-the-curtilage cases. Reaching into an open pickup bed and taking something out of it is a burglary in New York.

These crimes also often involve intent issues. If Phil breaks into Jim’s house to retrieve property Jim borrowed or to take something to satisfy a debt, Phil arguably didn’t have the required intent. Phil might be guilty of something, like criminal trespass. But he isn’t guilty of burglary.

A proposed plea to a lesser-included offense, like criminal trespass or criminal mischief, often appeals to prosecutors. The state doesn’t have to risk a trial, and the defendant is convicted of something.

Get Help from a Top Criminal Attorney for Robbery

There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal attorney for robbery. Convenient payment plans are available.



[1] https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crimnet/ojsa/indexcrimes/Monroe.xls

[2] http://www.psychology.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/117/Logos/thesis/JHNTAY004%20Thesis.pdf