“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

How evading your taxes can catch up with you

The old saying is that the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. But if you have not been paying your taxes as you should, or if you have been receiving money under the table for work and not claiming it on your tax return, you may be putting yourself at a high risk.

Many people think that "fudging" a bit on their tax return does not do any harm. The truth is that tax evasion is a serious crime, and if the authorities catch you evading your taxes, the penalties can be steep.

DUI with a kid in the car: Diversion programs under Leandra's law

What consequences do you face in New York state if you're convicted of impaired driving with a kid in the car?

In 2009, legislators passed a law known as Leandra's law to punish drivers convicted of impaired driving with an automatic felony conviction if they have minor children (15 or under) as passengers. At the time, advocates for stepped-up penalties described it as the toughest law in the nation.

Recently, however, data shows that in some counties, the percentage of drivers who are convicted of a felony after being charged under Leandra's law has actually dropped. Could this be at least in part because of diversion programs that allow someone to get treatment and avoid a felony conviction?

Your rights regarding warrantless vehicle searches

You may have been told authorities cannot legally search your property without first having a warrant. Is this true? The answer is a bit more complicated than you might think, especially when it comes to vehicles. If you are pulled over in New York and officers ask to search your car, can they do so without a court warrant?

If you are pulled over for a minor traffic violation, officers may ask to search your vehicle without a warrant. The automobile exception rule allows warrantless searches, under certain conditions. An officer would need probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed, is in progress or is about to be committed. Your behavior – such as appearing overly agitated, nervous, combative or impatient – during the stop might also lead to probable cause.

Understanding illegal search and seizure

United States citizens receive protection from illegal searches and seizures from the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment states police cannot search a person's home, assets or vehicle without having a warrant or probable cause.

Despite this protection, every year police skirt around the law and conduct illegal searches and seizures. People need to be aware of their rights so they know when police find something illegally.

Income tax fraud vs. income tax negligence

Tax fraud is a felony offense that costs the United States government billions of dollars every year. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service estimates that the government loses approximately $458 billion annually.

However, not everyone gets away with it. When looking at an instance of tax fraud, the IRS needs to consider if the person intentionally attempted to commit fraud or if it was merely negligence. Simple negligence typically results with a slap on the wrist, so the difference in the penalties between the two is extreme. 

Can police search your property without a warrant?

There are various guidelines in place for police officers who wish to obtain a warrant to inspect a person's home or car. These guidelines are in place to protect the general public from unlawful searches and seizures

Most people are aware they can ask police officers for a warrant when they demand to enter a private residence. However, there are some occasions when a warrant is not necessary. For instance, if an officer asked to peruse a person's home and that person granted permission, then lack of a warrant would not matter if the officer later found an illegal substance. Here are other times when officers do not legally need warrants:

2 ways you may accidentally commit tax fraud

Doing your own taxes can prove complicated, but paying someone else to do them can be expensive, costing you considerable money on top of what you may already owe to the Internal Revenue Service. While the language and calculations involved may be bewildering, tax-related crimes also have serious consequences, so it is important to avoid any “guessing” to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

In many cases, people who commit tax crimes do not intend to do so; they occur because of negligence, rather than maliciousness or deceitful behavior. Nevertheless, tax crimes can have grave repercussions at the federal level. Recognizing some of the most common tax errors may help you avoid them come tax time.

Penalties for shoplifting in New York

Shoplifting is a serious offense and is one of the most common crimes people commit. According to data published in New York Magazine, approximately one out of every 11 citizens have shoplifted in the past. That information comes from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention.

Shoplifting may seem like a small crime, which may explain why so many people commit it. However, it can carry some serious penalties. It is vital for people arrested for shoplifting to fight the charges to avoid jail time and/or heavy fines.

How New York handles sealed criminal records

The legal consequences of an action in New York may be nothing like what you would face in another state, and the remedies available to you may be completely different, too. Your criminal record is one such example.

In many states, the courts may expunge your record in certain circumstances, meaning they erase it. However, in New York, the best you may do is to have the record sealed.

DWI charges in New York

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DWI) in New York can form grounds for a variety of criminal charges. Some people make the mistake of thinking they should not fight DWI allegations. Top reasons include a belief that chemical testing is conclusive proof and cannot be contradicted, or a belief that a DWI conviction will not affect your life in the long run.

Types of DWI charges