How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York? - Law Office Of Gina M Wicik

How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York?

If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime in New York, it is crucial to seek professional legal assistance at the earliest.

However, for people who have never experienced this side of life, it is natural to feel emotional unrest and be stuck in the “I don’t know what to do” loop. Deciding how to hire the best lawyer as your criminal defense counsel is, again, a difficult choice to make. Someone that boasts success, dependability, and reputation is the right choice, provided their results speak that too.

At the Law Office of Gina M. Wicik, we believe that an informed client is the best client. But we get it; the situation is complex, and you may feel on the fence. So to assist you better, here are some important factors you must consider as you plan on hiring the best New York criminal defense attorney to fight for justice.

Top Criminal Charges

You could be charged with a crime if you do anything against the New York State Penal Code. Understanding the case that can be made against gives you better clarity over your situation. The three categories you must know about include:

Violations: A violation (AKA infraction), such as trespassing, traffic violations, or disorderly conduct, can impose up to 15 days of jail time. These are minor offenses and are usually punishable by fines or community service. But an infraction can also carry a jail sentence for which you can appoint a private criminal defense attorney or a public lawyer. Can I legally drive without a license in New York?

Misdemeanors: These are a bit more severe than violations and are categorized as Class A, Class B, and Unclassified, with one-year jail time, six months in jail, and three years in probation simultaneously. Assault, DWI, illicit possession of marijuana, etc., are misdemeanors subject to fines, proportion, and/or community service.

Felonies: These are the most serious crimes, with at least 1-year in jail, with or without probation. Class A-I or A-II sentence you to life imprisonment, Class B – 25 years in jail, Class C – 15 years in jail, Class D – 7 years in jail, and Class E – 4 years in jail. Sentences could be made harsher or lenient depending on your criminal record if any.

Criminal charges can have lasting effects. You and your loved ones can all be affected by the circumstances. So it is better to be safe than sorry. You might not be familiar with the complexities of the law. You could or could not be entirely at fault. Hence it is imperative to have expert assistance by your side to handle the charges swiftly and efficiently.

Why Do You Need An Attorney?

Criminal laws in New York are pretty complex. It isn’t easy to navigate the case specifics on your own, especially when you may be charged with a jeopardizing crime. Here, hiring an attorney may be a beneficial step for you.

  • The criminal justice system can seem impossible to face alone
  • Complex criminal defense cases require an attorney
  • Criminal defense lawyers can help protect your legal rights
  • They help you understand what is to come
  • Attorneys can offer tailored legal advice and build a strong defense
  • They represent you in all the judicial processes
  • Attorneys can seek to dismiss charges or reduce/eliminate penalties

If you risk facing a criminal record, secure a reputable attorney for your case. However, make the final decision only after meticulous consideration. See DWI in New York : Penalties and how lawyer can help

Ask For Referrals 

Ask for referrals from people you know, including your friends, family members, acquaintances, and co-workers. If you know about an attorney practicing in another field of law, you can also ask for recommendations from them. You can also search local bar association resources for a suitable criminal defense attorney. 

But don’t blindly follow the suggestions. Please do your homework and get to know the prospective attorney a little more before signing on the dotted line.

Consider a Local Attorney

Someone locally practicing in the field of criminal law may be a good fit for you. They might be well-versed with the local procedures and understand the behaviors of prosecuting lawyers and judges. This kind of experience always comes in handy, allowing them to plan the defense effectively.

In addition, local criminal defense attorneys have pretty good connections in the community, which can significantly help your case. They might also charge reasonably, plus connecting and communicating with them will be easy. You can easily schedule face-to-face appointments without wasting your valuable time. 

Relevant Experience

An attorney’s job is to present the best defense possible and increase your chances of being acquitted. Having experience with cases similar to yours ensures that they can develop a workable strategy. Adequately presenting all the case specifics is also an expert’s job. Therefore, someone with the right legal expertise can do just what’s required to sail through your case efficiently. 

Legal Know-How 

New York criminal law is ever-evolving. It is pretty complicated for a layman or even an incapable lawyer to navigate. Plus, you could be charged under any of the following offenses:

  • Assault
  • Drug Crimes
  • Federal Crimes
  • Firearm & Weapon Charges
  • Homicide
  • Theft Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • State Crimes
  • Vehicular Crimes
  • White Collar Crimes

Each of these charges would have different fines, penalties, and a separate course of action. Therefore, someone with a specialization in the area of defense that you require would be valuable. They would be familiar with how criminal statutes work in New York and will be up-to-date with the newer developments concerning your charges, allowing them to defend any type of charge effectively. See also DWI in New York : Penalties and how lawyer can help

Industry Repute

Criminal charges can jeopardize your entire life. They can also threaten your freedom and your future. With your personal and professional life at stake, there is no option but to retain the services of a trustworthy, proven, and reputable criminal defense attorney in New York. 

Seasoned attorneys can help you win back your prestige, freedom, and sometimes even financial damages. Their long-standing reputation gives them an advantage over other lawyers as they have a better rapport with the judges and prosecutors.

Fee Structure

Every lawyer in New York can bill you differently. Some might present an hourly bill, while others can charge by case. Some would want you to pay upfront, while others might bill after you win the case. 

Depending on your case type, it is always best to ask the attorney about their fee structure so you can decide whether or not to have them work on your case. 

Paying a private criminal defense attorney in New York may be expensive. However, it becomes easy and stress-free when you know precisely what’s going where. Besides, you’re paying them for their expertise and to secure your future. So, the expenses are justified, provided your attorney is genuinely interested in bringing your life back on track.

Ask Questions

As you determine how to find a good lawyer for your case, identify who fits your needs better. How do you do that? Ask questions. But what questions? Anything that helps you make a careful choice, such as:

  • Negotiations strategies
  • Fee structure and payment schedules
  • Trial strategies, alternatives, etc.
  • Estimated timeline
  • Ways for communication
  • Behind the scenes guys (assistants and paralegals) working on your case
  • A step-by-step plan for conducting the case in the courtroom

If the attorney hesitates to answer any questions, that’s a major red flag. You need someone honest, not a scam artist or someone who doesn’t talk the talk. You may be in a vulnerable state, but trust your intuition and choose someone who truly cares about the outcome. 


Maintaining communication is the most important aspect to consider when choosing an attorney. It is incredibly critical they keep open, honest, and transparent contact during consultations and your case. 

However, it must work both ways. Your lawyer must stay in touch with you throughout the time and keep you updated with every case development. On the other hand, you, too, must feel comfortable with them and communicate your thoughts to remove any information barrier.

If they seem distracted during the consultation or on calls/ emails, that’s a red flag.  

Free Initial Consultation

A face-to-face meeting helps you understand whether they can be a comfortable choice. The prospective attorney may have a proven track record but not a compassionate attitude that can make you feel uneasy. 

Initial consultation aims to gauge how well the attorney can handle your case specifics. If you think you can form a good working relationship with your attorney, only then should you move ahead with your case. 

The initial case review session is a great time to understand the facts of the case, get an accurate quote, the answers to your questions, and how to best proceed with the matter. Even the attorney will be in a better position to make an open and honest discussion about the different parts of the case. 

If your chosen attorney doesn’t offer a free case evaluation, then find one. Pay only if you find it reasonable; otherwise, a free consultation is a bare minimum a trustworthy and experienced attorney can offer. 

Act Fast

It is crucial to engage a competent criminal defense attorney ASAP. The sooner your attorney gets started, the better your chances of winning the case. It will also keep you up-to-date with the deadlines and other judicial necessities. Always remember, your future may be on the line with this case. It is in your best interest to act promptly and get the best legal representation possible.

Talk To Our New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

When you face criminal charges, having skilled legal representation can make a world of difference to your case. If you have any further queries and concerns you need a professional take on, consult Gina M. Wicik, a trained and qualified New York criminal defense attorney, to help you navigate these stressful times. 

Gina Wicik Law Office and her team of skilled professionals have a wealth of experience under their belt and are qualified to help you protect your legal rights. Our criminal defense attorneys handle cases throughout New York. You can rest easy knowing that our team will work hard and smart to find the right solutions, encourage you in an open dialogue, and maintain complete transparency. Regardless of how challenging your case may be, we will be here to help.

Gina understands that criminal law can be tricky, and your future may be on the line. That’s why she gives more than 100% to every case and focuses on results-oriented resolutions. 

Call us at 516-253-4278 or fill out this contact form to schedule your FREE consultation today. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to educate the readers. It must not be used in place of professional legal advice.

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