“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

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

Embezzlement is not as easy to detect as you might think

Embezzlement can occur in any business, big or small. How often it occurs depends on many factors, including the level of internal controls an organization has put in place.

Compared to other theft crimes, however, embezzlement is unusual. It's unusual in that the person who may face charges originally did have authorized access to the money.

What is embezzlement, and what can it look like? We will discuss this by using a real case example from New York.

3 tips for avoiding traffic stops

Traffic stops are always inconvenient and frustrating. When the cops pull you over, you may end up with tickets or criminal charges. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to avoid being a police magnet.

Whether you are a little tipsy and do not want a drunk driving charge or you have marijuana in your car, having an encounter with the police is the last thing you want to experience. Here are some guidelines for staying unnoticeable to the police while driving.

New York considering legalization of recreational marijuana

Across the country, marijuana laws are in a state of flux. In eight states and the District of Columbia, marijuana for recreational use is now legal.

In addition, 30 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana.

New York is not one of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana. But Massachusetts recently did so and neighboring New Jersey is looking seriously at it. Might New York do the same?

Is Your Night About To Get Lit? Safe Partying Tips

A night spent having fun with friends is the perfect way to cap off a busy week. You look forward to it. You think of your plans fondly at the end of a tough shift at work or a long day studying for your next college exam. When the day comes, you just want to let loose. You plan to laugh, tease, joke, eat and drink.

These are the perfect ingredients to an enjoyable, easy-going evening. However, without moderation or proper planning, your night of freedom could easily turn into a life of restrictions and regrets. You spend time planning important aspects of your life, and how you get home after a good time with friends should be given just as much thought.

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