Right to Remain Silent-Use it!

baldufYou might be surprised to learn that students whose mother or father is a police officer or prosecutor when asked:  What would you tell your child about dealing with the police? The response is “Never talk to the police, or agree to let them interview you about anything, or let them search your car or apartment or backpack without a warrant.

You need to stop for a minute, and let that sink in.

The Right to Remain Silent.  You may know the famous “right to remain silent” protected by the Fifth Amendment however do you really understand that the protections of that right are for the innocent people as much as the guilty.  Too many people mistakenly assume that someone who remains silent must have “something to hide” or be guilty of something.  This is simply not true!

All over this country, prison cells are filled with innocent people falsely convicted for crimes they did not commit

Far too many Americans mistakenly think: “If the police want to ask me a few questions, and I know in my heart I have done nothing wrong, surely it cannot hurt to cooperate with them and do whatever I can to allay their suspicions and clear things up.” That attitude is certainly understandable, but it can be a deadly mistake, and it can land you in prison for a crime you did not commit, perhaps for the rest of your life.


When should I talk to police?

balduf-lawyer-talk-to-policeMany of our clients do not expect to be arrested or have a run in with the law.  In times like this many people want to tell “their side of the story” in an attempt to get the police to understand and release them.  It’s understandable, however ill advised.  The police are not there to help you and in many instances will coax you into talking so you can set the record straight.  Understand this, the police are not there to help you.  The job of the police is to get a confession during your interview, even if that means they must lie to you.  Additionally, they will often tell you that they cannot help you once you have contacted an attorney. It is not in your best interest to talk to police at any time without legal counsel.

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What should I do if I’ve been accused of rape?

balduf-criminal-attorney“I am being accused of rape.”

The mere accusation of rape alone, regardless of its authenticity or a conviction could damage your entire personal and professional life. Rape is a felony, and conviction of rape in the State of New York can lead to 18 months to 25 years in State prison, along with being placed on the sex offenders registry, significant fines, loss of employment, and the ability to obtain certain types of employment or professional licenses.  If you are accused of rape, you are facing serious legal trouble and need an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. It is important that you do not answer any questions or give any information to law enforcement without having your attorney present to protect your rights.  In charges of rape you will need an aggressive attorney on your side to fight for you, even if you are completely innocent.

Call me immediately.  I will review and analyze the case against you,  listen to your side of the story and plan a legal strategy that is in your best interests.  Remember the police and law enforcement are not on your side and they do not want to help you.  Their job is to charge you and convict you.  You need someone to be on your side.  If you are in Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, or Oswego County have been accused of rape or any sex related crime, call me immediately.  I offer a free consultation. 315-474-5533

My child was charged with a crime, what can I do?

http://sheriff.ongov.net/lookup.htmlA difficult point in any parent’s experience is to learn that their child was charged with a crime. Many parents are shocked to find themselves in this position and are unsure what to do or even how they can help. There are a few things to do when a crime is first charged.

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Family Offense Crimes

Family offense crimes


Family offense crimes are very serious charges. Family crimes may include things like charges of domestic violence, abuse, child abuse, sex abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, along with Child Protective Services allegations. The outcome of these matters not only affect your freedom and criminal record but they may also affect your ability to see and spend time with your children, return to your home if there is an order of protection in place, and have extensive consequences to your job and home.

Family offenses should only be handled by attorneys experienced in both family and criminal court. Only attorneys with this type of interwoven legal experience can best advise you of how your matter should be handled for the best possible outcome in your case. Often times, these cases are transferred to “IDV Court” Integrated Domestic Violence Court. In this court, criminal and family matters are heard in the same Court, often by the same judge. It is imperative that you hire a lawyer to represent you that is familiar and comfortable in the IDV Court system.

When charged with a family offense, experienced legal help should be sought immediately, before you are interviewed by a State agency or law enforcement, or as soon into the matter as practicable. The earlier that you involve an experienced attorney in your matter, the better the chance for the best possible outcome in your case.

If you have been charged with a family offense or child protective matter, or have been interviewed regarding a pending family offense matter in Onondaga County, call me immediately at (315) 474-5533. I offer a free consultation to review all the facts and circumstances of your matter so that I can best advise you proceeding forward.

Underage DWI

underage-dwi-drinking-balduf-syracuseRepresentation in Syracuse for Juvenile Delinquents

It is illegal in the United States for any individual under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcohol. Any individual under the age of 21 caught consuming alcohol or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol may be facing very serious charges. Individuals over the age of 21 are allowed a legal blood alcohol content of 0.07% in order to safely operate a vehicle; however, anyone under the age of 21 can only have a blood alcohol content of 0.02%. If you or your family member was arrested and charged with driving under the influence as a minor, it is vital that you retain the representation of a criminal defense attorney. Choose an attorney to represent you that has substantial experience working with minors and defending their rights and driving privileges after a DWI arrest. Our firm can help protect your future!  We practice in Syracuse and it’s suburbs, Oswego, Fulton and Madison Counties.

Even first-time underage DWI offenders can face significant penalties. If you are between the ages of 16 and 21, you may be tried as an adult. Anyone under the age of 16 will most likely be tried in a juvenile court. I am prepared to defend you in either justice system. First-time offenders face up to a year of jail time, fines and community service requirements. In some scenarios, underage drivers will also have their license revoked until age 21 and be required to reapply for a license and be forced to pay a license application fee. Not to mention, underage drivers who are convicted of a DWI will carry a permanent record of a criminal offense. It is absolutely imperative that all necessary actions be taken to defend your future, driving privileges and your rights. An attorney from our firm can help!

Protecting Underage Drivers

Choose an attorney who understands that your future is important to you. There are times when simple mistakes and poor judgment play a factor in these arrests, and when you work with the attorney from our firm, we will do everything in our power to obtain a positive outcome to your case. When you retain our firm, we actively investigate your case and make sure that your rights were not infringed upon during the investigation, traffic stop or arrest. With the guidance of an experienced legal counselor on your side, you can rest assured that your case will be in good hands. I have done significant work with young people accused of crimes and personally oversees each case. I have both adult and underage children of my own and understand how crucial having a working relationship with them can be to protect their future. In order to ensure that your future is prosperous, it is important that you contact our firm right away. You can contact me for a free consultation to get started on building your defense!

See also

College Student Crime at


How Do I Post Bail?

To post bail there are two types of bail- cash bail and bail bond.



Post Bail  – Cash Bail

If both the person who will post bail and the defendant are in court, cash bail can be posted in the courthouse, and the defendant can be released before being transferred to jail. This most commonly occurs at the initial arraignment. If you plan to post bail for a defendant following an arraignment or other court appearance, you should tell a court officer, so that the defendant will be held in the building for release. Bail posted in the courthouse must be paid in cash; the courthouse cashiers do not accept any form of check.

Bail can also be paid at the Justice Center in Syracuse, NY, Local Justice Courts and other various City Courts and jails. Jails will accept certain kinds of certified or government checks as well as cash, but there are restriction on the amount and type.

Post Bail – Bail Bond

If you are posting a bond, you will need to find a bail bondsman. They can be located through the yellow pages or online, and often have offices near the courthouse. Bail bondsmen must licensed by New York State; make sure you deal with one who has a valid license.

How Do I Get My Bail Money Back?

If the defendant has made court appearances as required, cash bail should be returned at the end of the case. When the case is over, the judge should issue an order for the return of bail (“exonerating” the bail). The Local Court, City Court or Justice Center, Sheriff’s Department will issue a check to the person who deposited the bail. If the case has ended in a conviction, 3 percent of the bail will be kept by the government. If your bail has not been returned after 6 weeks you may wish to contact an attorney to assist you in its return. You should have your bail receipt available when you call, so that you can provided the information they will need to find the case.

What If My Bail was Forfeited?

If a defendant does not come to court when required to do so, the judge may order that bail be “forfeited,” or kept by the City. There is a procedure, called “remission of forfeiture,” which allows a person who posted bail to apply for it to be returned if it has been forfeited. Some people hire a lawyer to do this, but you can do it on your own if you cannot afford a lawyer. Keep in mind that there is a strict deadline for a “remission of forfeiture” application: you must apply within one year of the date that the court ordered the bail forfeited. If the bail was forfeited in Supreme Court (a felony case), the application must be made to the court that issued the forfeiture order. If it happened in Criminal Court (a misdemeanor case), the application is made to a Supreme Court judge in that county.

An application for “remission of bail” must be made in writing. If you are proceeding without a lawyer, you should ask the court clerk for instructions about how to proceed.

What if I can’t post the cash bail or bond?

First, you or your family member has to find out when you are scheduled to go in front of the Judge.  Hiring any attorney to help you convince the Judge not to set a high bail or release you on your own recognizance is suggested.

If they won’t set bail, this means you may have two prior felonies.  You will need an attorney to obtain a bail hearing in front of the Judge able to set bail under those circumstances.

Contact William Balduf, Esq. and let his 30 years of experience work for you.  Serving Syracuse and Oswego, New York.

See also:


 Criminal Charges and Defense