Sonya Pfeiffer is a committed criminal defense lawyer who vigorously represents her clients in both state and federal court.   A skilled communicator, Pfeiffer has successfully counseled numerous clients through both jury trials and complicated plea negotiations.

Pfeiffer joined Rudolf Widenhouse after working in the business litigation division of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice, where she was involved with both civil and criminal cases in the firm’s Charlotte office.  In particular, Pfeiffer focused her legal work on medical malpractice and campaign-finance related criminal litigation.  She began her legal career in the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office, where she served in both the Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Unit.

In addition to her legal experience, Pfeiffer is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker.  She spent more than a decade as a television news reporter in Raleigh, Boston, Omaha and New York.  She also covered major international stories while based in Paris, France, including the Yitzhak Rabin assassination in Tel Aviv and the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in Paris.  As a result of this experience, Pfeiffer has a unique ability to tell each client’s story in a compelling and persuasive manner.

Pfeiffer’s years of writing and focus on visual mediums are now also put to work in her role as owner and creative director of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Bar admissions

North Carolina

District of Columbia


U.S. District Court, WDNC

U.S. District Court, MDNC

U.S. District Court, EDNC

U.S. Supreme Court


North Carolina Advocates for Justice

North Carolina Bar Association

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Women's White Collar Defense Association

Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers

Mecklenburg County Bar Association

William H. Bobbitt American Inn of  Court

Awards and honors

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Service Award 2017

2016 Ebbie Award for Service 

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Top Verdicts of 2012

North Carolina Lawyer's Weekly

Service Award 2010

Mecklenburg County Public Defender

San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, Official Selection (2007)

      Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Social Justice

Leadership Positions

North Carolina Bar Association

Communications Committee member

Women in the Profession Committee member

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Vice President of Communications

Diversity and Inclusion Committee Member

Member - Board of Governors

Past Chair - Criminal Defense Section

Past Vice President of Membership

Mecklenburg County Bar Association

Vice-Chair, McMillan Committee

Past Chair - Communications Committee

Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation

Board of Directors

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Board of Directors

Speaking engagements

Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office

Jury Selection Essentials – Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office

Jury Selection 101 – Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office

Moderator, #ShapingCLT – Levine Museum of the New South

Curatorial Activism – Queens University, Arts and Advocacy Conference

Moderator, The Role of the Artist in Times of Upheaval – Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Navigating the Interplay Between Civil Fault and Criminal Responsibility: Lessons Learned in the Acquittal in State v. Gay - North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Fall Conference Asheville, NC

The Defense Perspective in the Kenan Gay case - Justice Bobbitt Inn of Court, Charlotte, NC

Melendez-Diaz basics and update

Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Challenging HGN