Criminal Defense

If you’ve been charged with a violation, misdemeanor, or felony in Onondaga County, you need a criminal defense attorney who will work hard to minimize the consequences and interruption to your life. The office of Carden Dotzler Hammond, PLLC provides personal attention on every case, and we may find an easy way to minimize the consequences that you’re facing. We work hard to defend our clients’ livelihood, reputation, and most importantly—freedom.


Local Representation

We can walk you through the issues that may arise when you’ve been charged for violating a city, state, or federal law. Our attorneys can explain the possible penalties that are associated with your arrest. While we’re handling your case, we’ll work to prepare a strong defense on your behalf. We can negotiate with the prosecution, and we may reach a deal in which some of your charges are reduced or even dismissed. To keep you in the loop as your proceedings move through the system, we’re flexible with our scheduling and available seven days a week.


When you need a criminal defense firm protecting your rights, you can retain the office of Carden Dotzler Hammond, PLLC for assistance with matters in Syracuse and Onondaga County. To request an insightful consultation, contact us today.


Common Charges in New York

Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (Penal Law section 221.05): This is the least serious marijuana charge under New York law. It is considered a violation, not a crime. But make no mistake about it, there can be serious collateral consequences for service members or students. For example, a college student convicted of a marijuana violation while receiving federal student aid will see their eligibility affected. If you are a college student charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, contact my office to discuss your options. We have ways to avoid these negative consequences.


Petit Larceny (PL 155.25): When you are accused of stealing under $1,000 worth of property, the state will charge you with petit larceny. This Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 1 year (as well as an expensive surcharge). We represent people accused of this crime every day, and can often negotiate a significant reduction, or even a dismissal, of the charge. Sometimes, to avoid a trial, the state will allow a plea to a violation-level offense. If your records is clean, we might be able to negotiate a dismissal.


Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle (Vehicle and Traffic Law section 511): The degree of this offense dictates whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, and the maximum punishment:

  • AUO in the 3rd degree: Driving on a suspended license. A misdemeanor with a maximum $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
  • AUO in the 2nd degree: Driving on a suspended license when you’ve been convicted previously of AUO 3rd, or your suspension is related to certain previous or pending alcohol-driving related offenses, or you have in effect 3 or more suspensions for failure to answer a summons or pay a fine. This misdemeanor carries a maximum $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail. There is also a mandatory sentence of imprisonment or probation.
  • AUO in the 1st degree: Driving on a suspended license while intoxicated, or while you have 10 or more suspensions, or while your license is permanently revoked. This Class E felony has a maximum fine of $5,000 and a possible jail sentence of 1 to 4 years.


Harassment (PL 240.25, 26, 30, 31): The offense of assault requires a physical injury to the victim under New York law. Thus, you will often see a charge of “harassment in the second degree” after a physical altercation which does not result in physical injury. Harassment-2nd covers striking, shoving, kicking, or other physical contact, or attempting the same, with an intent to “harass, annoy or alarm.” (It also covers other conduct, such as following a person “in or about a public place,” but the charge is most common after someone punches or hits someone else).

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