Super Lawyers
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Super Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers

New York Criminal Defense Lawyers

The Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma is a client-centered, trial-ready law practice. Our New York federal criminal lawyers fight for defendants in life-altering criminal cases. We handle cases in federal and New York state courts, focusing on crimes including child pornography, other sex crimes, and federal fraud charges as well as serious state offenses like sexual assault.

Our attorneys frequently represent defendants accused of computer-based crimes in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the state criminal courts in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Westchester County. We have defended bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, public officials, and other professionals accused of white-collar crimes like health care fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, insurance fraud, and bank fraud. Our federal criminal lawyers also have experience representing people accused of organized crime, terrorism, and drug-trafficking offenses including smuggling and distribution of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, fentanyl, GBL, and marijuana.

As plaintiffs' civil rights lawyers, we sue police and public officials for serious civil rights violations like wrongful convictions, excessive use of force by police, and sex abuse by corrections officers. We also represent victims of sexual assault in lawsuits against their assailants.

Our Approach. Two principles motivate how we advise our clients. First, we are client-centered. We listen, investigate and understand your legal problems. You come to us on the worst day of your life, after learning that everything good you have worked for could be lost. Our job is to find out all we can about your case, first by listening to you, the client. We remain in constant communication with clients and their families by cell phone, text, and email until the case is over. We gather all relevant information, employing the state’s best private investigators, forensic accountants, psychiatrists, and other experts to assist us. We do not give advice until we thoroughly understand what you are up against.

Second, we are trial-ready. Our New York federal criminal attorneys are always willing to take a decision to a state jury, a federal jury, the presiding judge, the appeals court, or the United States Supreme Court. Our office has experience trying cases involving child pornography, federal sex trafficking, sex abuse, bank fraud, health care fraud, drug trafficking, gun possession, police misconduct, and prisoner abuse, among others.

What you are up against. Unfortunately, many criminal lawyers and defendants feel overwhelmed by the weight of the prosecution's evidence and investigative resources. They may be tempted to negotiate from a position of weakness. Our office is prepared to go to trial in every case; we approach every criminal case as though a trial is inevitable. Criminal trials are expensive and exhausting for everyone involved and the prosecution knows it. New York City prosecutors—assistant district attorneys from Manhattan, Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx and assistant U.S. attorneys from the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York—also know our office tries a lot of cases. The credible threat of a trial ensures we get the best possible outcome, whether or not a trial proves necessary. And if the plea offer is not good enough, or the case is winnable, we are happy to present it to a jury.

Child Pornography. All sex crimes carry a special stigma and require special attention. Sex crimes involving children are especially challenging. We can help.

A child pornography lawyer needs specific technical knowledge and experience with the various channels of child pornography distribution such as the Dark Web, peer-to-peer networks, and encrypted communication apps. Cases based on online behavior require a technical response and knowledge of the intricacies of the child pornography laws and the Fourth Amendment. If a child pornography case ends in conviction, it triggers sex offender registration in all fifty states and federally. In New York, that means the state court will hold a special hearing under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) to determine risk level and the specific consequences of registering. Our criminal attorneys have been defending child pornography and other state and federal sex crime cases since 2006. We keep abreast of the rapid changes in child pornography law and technology to advocate zealously for our clients. Even mere possession of child pornography is one of the most serious charges you can face. An experienced federal child pornography lawyer can make all the difference.

Federal Trials. Child pornography cases can be brought in either state or federal court. Punishments in federal court are typically far more severe. Besides child pornography, our office handles other federal crimes including white collar crimes, drug crimes, and sex trafficking. White collar crimes usually consist of fraud or embezzlement, such as bank fraud, health care fraud, and insurance fraud. As New York criminal lawyers, we frequently bring cases to trial in federal court. In the past year alone, we have conducted jury trials in federal courts in Brooklyn and Manhattan defending clients charged with health care fraud, heroin importation, and sex trafficking.

Appeals and Wrongful Convictions. Our law office has a substantial criminal appellate practice. Our appeals and post-trial motions have overturned convictions for murder, fraud, drug trafficking, and sex abuse, among others. We have won several appeals from SORA risk-level determinations. In a recent case, our advocacy vacated the judgment of conviction and sentence in a heroin importation case that the appeals court ordered to be transferred to a different judge to prevent any appearance of bias. We are presently investigating or litigating several post-conviction innocence cases, challenging convictions from the 1980s and 1990s where police framed our clients through coercion and fabrication of evidence.

Victims' Rights and Civil Rights. As an outgrowth of our work as criminal defense lawyers, we handle select civil cases, suing on behalf of victims of sex crimes or official misconduct, including prisoners. Victims of sex crimes count on our experience defending sex crimes to investigate and prosecute their cases. Victims of official misconduct, including people wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, engage us to sue the City or State of New York for compensation for the harm done to them by public officials.

Experienced Advocacy. Our office was founded in 2004 by principal attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma. Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma graduated from Columbia College in 1989 and New York University School of Law in 1999 after a seven-year stint as an investigative reporter. After law school, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Andrew J. Peck of the Southern District of New York and practiced law at the large white-shoe law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, second-seating a jury trial in his second year of practice. Since founding the Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma has served on the Criminal Justice Act panels for both the Eastern and Southern District of New York. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers every year since 2013. He has fought and won many important cases, including the exoneration of Antonio Yarbough in 2014, a narcoterrorism case brought against a Malian tribesman in 2010, a high-tech motion to suppress evidence from an iPhone in 2015, and an appeal establishing that sexual abuse in prison violates the U.S. Constitution. He has won millions of dollars for his clients in civil suits alleging police misconduct and prisoner abuse. Past results are no guarantee of future outcomes.

The office also brings together associate Victoria Medley, Esq., who focuses on sex crimes, white-collar defense, and civil rights. A 2014 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Ms. Medley has participated in federal jury trials, appeals, sentencing proceedings, and SORA determinations with excellent results for her clients. In addition, our law office employs paralegals and interns who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients. We hire seasoned investigators, psychologists, forensic examiners and other experts as needed on any particular case.

Choosing the Right New York Federal Criminal Lawyer. Selecting the right criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. If you or someone you love is defending a criminal case in New York, please call our office. If you retain us, we will identify your legal objectives, investigate your case, discuss your options, and fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome. If needed, we will coordinate with psychiatrists, accountants, private investigators and other experts to prove the prosecution wrong. Once retained, we will act solely in your best interests with honesty, integrity, and open communication. No one ever wants to be in a position where they need a criminal lawyer, but if you or a loved one finds yourself there, you owe it to yourself to find the best possible lawyer for your defense.

What's New
  • Criminal cases in federal court are driven by mandatory minimum sentences. Drugs, guns, child pornography and sex trafficking (among others) all carry mandatory minimum sentences which used to mean that, if the government has the evidence and won't let you plead to a lesser crime, you do the time. That just might have changed today with […]
  • Margulis Press Pass 1993
    A year or so working as a reporter at 220 E. 42nd Street around 1993 completely changed my life. It was part of nearly four years I spent on the staff at the Daily News, once one of the largest-circulation publications in the world but already in the midst of a long, slow decline. I […]
  • Hallway With Window Scaled
    The Law of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma and Law Offices of Daniel McGuinness filed an Amended Complaint in federal court today detailing harrowing allegations of severe, pervasive, routine, and tolerated sexual abuse by prison guards against six women. According to the allegations in the complaint, women have been raped by guards all over the state — from Lakeview […]
Zachary is a brilliant attorney - he has a keen understanding of the law, with years of experience and practices with diligence and integrity. It was a pleasure to work with and learn from Zach, as he provided thoughtful and meticulous guidance. Zach is undoubtedly a devoted and passionate advocate for his clients, who operates with confidence, reliability, and the utmost professionalism. Vidya P.
Zachary is an excellent lawyer with great concern for his clients and equally great skills and thinking outside the box. I met him as an adversary and chose to keep him as a friend. He is both able and dedicated. In his areas of practice, he is outstanding. Joel A.
I highly recommend Zachary as a defense attorney. I hired him on a very serious jury case and the bottom line is we won. It is the best decision of my life at a critical point in my life. Zach was very professional, personable, a diligent expert, a masterful strategist but most importantly he took the time to understand my perspective. Ronald C.
Contact Us