“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.

Arrested and charged: Are the odds in your favor?

The brutal life-or-death lottery and struggle depicted in the popular "Hunger Games" series has captured the imaginations of millions of people in recent years. Like all good dystopian works of fiction, it has prompted many conversations about the social ills it depicts in such stark terms.

Throughout the series, there is a recurring line: "May the odds be ever in your favor." It comes across as bitterly ironic, reflecting the fact that the odds are generally not good for anyone faced with entering the lethal arena of the Games.

What about the odds of going to prison for a crime committed in the Syracuse area or elsewhere in New York state? In this post, we will explore that question and discuss the role that a strong criminal defense attorney can play in improving your odds of staying out of prison.

New York's prison population

For the last few decades, the dynamics of a misguided drug war and politically expedient tough-on-crime policies have resulted in huge increases in the number of people incarcerated. As of the end of 2013, the number of prisoners in state and federal systems was nearly 1.575 million.

To be sure, some states, such as Texas, incarcerate more than others. But New York state sends plenty of people to prison. At the end of 2013, the New York state prison system held more than 53,500 prisoners.

Criminologists call it "mass incarceration." It's a dragnet that threatens to pull in far too many people in order to keep the prison-industrial complex churning.

What have you been charged with?

As an experienced criminal defense lawyer, Michael Spano is on the frontline of making sure you or someone you care about gets a fair shake from the system. You don't want to get swept up into the pipeline to prison that politicians and police have paved the way for.

It's true that, broadly speaking, your odds of staying out of prison depend a lot on the socioeconomic hand you were dealt in life. But in specific cases, a lot also depends on what you have been charged with and on how strongly and strategically your lawyer pushes back against the charges.

For example, authorities often try to increase the length of sentences by using various sentencing "enhancements," such as alleged involvement in a drug conspiracy. In many cases, prosecutors across the country have used such enhancements to send nonviolent people to prison on long mandatory prison sentences.

A skilled defense attorney can help you take action to counteract dubious tactics like these and seek odds that are more in your favor.

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