“You have a truly sharp legal mind and your courtroom presence is among the best. I am forever grateful for your two years of hard work, dedication and service to my father's case.” — R.C.
“I give Mr. Spano the highest possible recommendation. Mr. Spano helped me navigate a somewhat unorthodox legal matter, did so quickly, and always kept me informed.”
“Thanks for taking my case and getting me a not guilty verdict. You are a great lawyer. I could not asked for anything more. Please know you hold a special place in my family's heart.” — G.B.
“Many thanks for the very professional and gentlemanly way that you conducted yourself at the trial of my son. I along with all of my family were thrilled beyond words with the outcome.” — B.B.
“Thank you for assuring me that just because a good honest person makes a mistake does not mean they have to be treated like a criminal!” — D.S.

Onondaga County Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding trespassing laws in New York

Whether the intent is to engage in some urban exploring for fun, to take a shortcut home or to satisfy your curiosity about a quirky neighbor, you and other New York residents should understand that the law does not consider trespassing a harmless activity. The same goes for those whose intentions may be less than innocent - say, for instance, entering someone's property without their consent to settle an argument or refusing to leave the premises of an establishment after closing time. The consequences of a trespassing chargecan be serious.

What exactly is trespassing? The law defines it as knowingly entering or remaining on property without the property owner or manager's permission or refusing to leave when asked to do so. Property owners should have signs, gates and other forms of communication to warn people that the land or building is private property and trespassing is not allowed.

How much will a DWI cost you?

A DWI conviction is a big deal, whether it is your first one or fifth. The penalties are severe and can have far-reaching effects on all areas of your life, from driving privileges to employment. One consequence not to underestimate is the impact on your finances.

QuoteWizard estimates that the average cost of a DUI is about $10,000. This number does not include lost wages, meaning that the stakes could even be higher in your situation. Where do all the costs come from?

New laws in New York in 2019

There are a lot of changes that come with a new year. You may make new resolutions regarding your health, relationships, career and family. Additionally, a host of new laws tend to go into effect. There are plenty of new laws in New York that may impact you without you even being aware of them.

That is why it is vital to keep track of how the law changes over time. Here is an assessment of some of the most significant changes to New York laws in 2019.

First steps in facing criminal charges

If you face criminal charges, you may feel a range of emotions, including fear and confusion. It is quite common to feel bewildered in the face of the criminal justice system, especially for first-time offenders.

Many people make mistakes, and this does not mean they are bad people or hardened criminals. Every criminal defendant deserves a strong and strategic defense as they move through the criminal justice system. Criminal charges can bring harsh consequences, and a strong defense is the best way to work toward avoiding or mitigating the negative effects of a conviction.

When employers suspect theft: 3 things to know

If your employer suspects you of embezzlement or some other type of theft, your otherwise ordinary day could turn into a nightmare.

In a recent case, a New York judge sentenced a woman to serve between three and nine years in prison for an embezzlement scheme. The judge also ordered her to pay more than $800,000 in restitution for the company reimbursements she received for the false invoices she created. As this case indicates, if your employer accuses you of stealing, you must be careful not to make the situation worse.

Do police have a right to search your car?

Whether commuting to work, driving home from a restaurant or taking your kids to school, you do not want to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Still, police pull over many motorists in Onondaga County virtually every day. For most drivers, the incident is a minor inconvenience. If you have an unlicensed weapon, illegal drugs or evidence of criminal activity inside your vehicle, however, an otherwise ordinary stop may have significant legal consequences.

When an officer asks to search your vehicle, you may wonder if he or she has a legal right to do so. That is, can you refuse to allow an officer to look inside your vehicle? As with all searches and seizures, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires automobile searches to be reasonable. When police seek to search a vehicle, though, special rules apply.

Could participating in drug court keep you out of prison?

As someone currently facing a drug-related criminal charge in New York, you may have very real fears about the penalties you could potentially face if convicted. In addition to fines and possible substance abuse treatment requirements, among other possible penalties, you may also have to serve time behind bars, which, for many people, is a terrifying prospect.

You may, however, depending on the circumstances surrounding your crime and criminal history, avoid serving time in jail for a drug conviction by instead agreeing to participate in drug court. While drug court programs and requirements vary to some degree based on factors such as geographic location, most drug courts require that you undergo regular drug testing and appear periodically in front of a judge for the program's duration. Though not yet in practice in all areas of the country, drug courts, per the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, have proven and positive effects on participants.

Challenges in finding work with a DWI felony on your record

When you received your first conviction for DWI, the penalties were not nearly as severe as they were years later for a second arrest and an Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated conviction. Now you are looking for a job as a convicted felon. What are the chances that you will be hired?

Ways a home buyer with good intent could commit mortgage fraud

Buying a house in today's market may seem impossible for many people who long to be homeowners. It can take years to get to the point where a person fulfills all the requirements to qualify for a mortgage, such as paying off debt, saving enough money for a down payment and building good credit.

Certain shortcuts may not seem like a big deal for those who intend to pay their mortgage payments and would never consider defaulting on a loan. Providing incorrect information could result in mortgage fraud charges, though. Here are some ways home buyers have gotten into trouble:

What is a RICO violation?

If you face federal RICO charges in New York, you may be unclear about exactly what federal agents and prosecutors allege you did. Despite the fact that RICO violations are white collar crimes, if the prosecutor convicts you, you face not only a substantial prison sentence, but also payment of a substantial fine.

Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act in 1970 in an attempt to bring mafiosos to justice. Since then, however, the government has used RICO to prosecute all manner of crimes including the following:

  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Bribery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Mail fraud
  • Racketeering
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