Practice Areas

Appeals

An appeal is a request for some kind of relief from a higher court, such as the United States Court of Appeals or the United States Supreme Court. There are many types of appeals in criminal cases. Such appeals can include challenges to pretrial motions, claims that a trial was unfair, arguments that insufficient evidence shows the defendant's guilt, or challenges to the sentence imposed by a judge. Furthermore, most Jurisdictions have complicated "post-conviction" or habeas corpus proceedings, which take place after the first round of appeals is over.

A good appellate lawyer must be extremely well-versed in the law itself. But just knowing the law will not help if the lawyer cannot get his or her ideas across to the judges who are reviewing a case. Clients need an appellate lawyer who writes clearly and who can withstand the rigors of questioning at oral arguments.

I began my career as a law clerk for prominent criminal defense lawyers in Birmingham. I work with appellate lawyers well-skilled in writing. I constantly challenge my opponents on appeal by forcefully arguing my client's position.

The appellate process can be extremely complex in both federal and state court. I have handled hundreds of appeals and obtained significant relief for many clients. My experience will guide you or your family member through the process of appealing his or her criminal case. Feel free to call us today or contact me to schedule an appointment for a consultation, (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







DUI

If you are being accused of driving under the influence (DUI), you need to know your rights. DUI is a very serious crime in every state, and securing the right lawyer for your case could mean the difference between paying court fees and serving jail time. It can be quite scary if you don't know what you're up against.

Did you know you could lose your job, your driver's license or your vehicle? Have you considered how much more you'll have to pay in insurance premiums if convicted? If this isn't your first offense, your sentence can be twice as long in some states. It's difficult to face these uncertainties, but you don't have to face the judge alone.
 
A good DUI lawyer understands the procedures of law enforcement and helps you obtain your best possible outcome.

I have handled hundreds of cases involving DUI, and have a deep understanding of the process and what could be your best possible outcome. I'll fight for you, and help protect you against the threats of prosecutors and police. What is your freedom worth? Feel free to call me, or contact us online if you find yourself in this situation and need help. (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Expungement

In the common law legal system, an expungement proceeding was a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, thereby making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the records are said to be "expunged". Black's Law Dictionary defines "expungement of record" as the "Process by which record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository. While expungement deals with an underlying criminal record, it is a civil action in which the subject is the petitioner or plaintiff asking a court to declare that the records be expunged.

A very real distinction exists between an expungement and a pardon. When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most purposes, treat the event as if it never occurred. A pardon (also called "executive clemency") does not "erase" the event; rather, it constitutes forgiveness.

Generally, expungement is the process to "remove from general review" the records pertaining to a case.

Please call or Email for appointment to see if you qualify. Not available for cases that resulted in a conviction of any type.









Federal Crimes

Why do some crimes get prosecuted in state court, yet others work their way to the federal court system? The basic answer is the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. This part of the Constitution allows federal prosecutors to take a case when the law says that the crime was in or affected interstate commerce.

Although the federal government can prosecute many crimes, only a handful of cases are taken up by federal prosecutors, who are commonly called Assistant United States Attorneys or AUSA. An AUSA usually will only bring a case to federal court if it is a large investigation, involves federal actors or property, or is otherwise a high-profile matter.

Federal prosecutions are very different from state cases. Many accomplished defense attorneys are simply not equipped to handle the defense of a federal criminal case. The rules are quite different between state and federal court, especially the horribly complicated Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

I am a specialist in federal criminal defense, both at the trial level and on appeal. I have handled virtually every type of federal criminal case, from the smallest theft or drug possession, up to large multi-national fraud, drug cases, and even high-profile death penalty prosecutions. I have represented thousands of clients in federal court. I respect the seriousness of such charges, but I do not shy away from them. If you would like to talk to attorneys who handle federal crimes. feel free to call us, (205) 939-1330, tommy@tommyspina.com.







Fraud Cases

A wide variety of crimes are considered to be fraud cases. These include accounting fraud, bank fraud, false statements or fraudulent activities during a bankruptcy proceeding, bribery, fraudulent acts while using a computer, credit card fraud, forgery, defrauding a government agency, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, public corruption, securities fraud, tax fraud, and wire fraud The one thing in common among all these different type of fraud cases is that each involves an allegation that the defendant either made a knowing misrepresentation about the facts, or concealed some fact, and this was done in order to induce another person to give up some thing of value.

Another common aspect of fraud cases is that they are very complicated. Such cases are often investigated by police officers or federal agents who have specialized training or experience. These cases are complicated, and quite often involve thousands or even millions of documents or electronic records.

A person who is accused of a crime involving fraud needs an attorney who can cut through the complex aspects of such prosecutions. I regularly handle complex fraud prosecutions. I am accustomed to handling the massive number of documents involved in these cases. We hire our own specialists when we defend our clients, including trained professionals such as accountants, auditors, retired FBI agents and the like.  lf you or a loved one is investigated for or accused of a crime involving fraud, you need to make sure your lawyer has experience in handling such matters. I have handled hundreds of fraud cases. Should you like to discuss your situation, feel free to call me at (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Grand Jury Investigations

The grand jury is an arm of the prosecution, and is used in some situations to assist in the investigation of potential criminal activity. A grand jury meets in secret, with only the prosecutor and perhaps an agent or investigator present.

Sometimes, prosecutors issue subpoenas in the name of the grand jury, seeking to obtain documents or other items that can potentially be evidence of a crime. Occasionally, a prosecutor will issue a subpoena that requires a person to appear and provide testimony in front of the grand jury. A person who receives a subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury sometimes is merely a witness from whom the prosecutor wants some information. However, sometimes the person is either the "subject" of the investigation, or is actually the "target" of the grand jury.

A person who is called upon to either produce documents or provide testimony for a grand jury needs to have the help of a highly skilled criminal defense attorney. Many lawyers do not realize that they are not permitted to accompany their client into the room where the grand jury meets. This is crucial, because while the client has the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, the lawyer is not allowed to be with the client when questions are asked. In other words, the person needs to be well prepared by his or her attorney before they go to testify or produce documents. An aggressive attorney also needs to look at whether a motion to quash a subpoena should be filed on behalf of the client. Such motions seek a court order which rules that the person either does not have to produce the documents, or need not answer questions from the grand jury.

I understand the grand jury process. I know the methods that can assist a client who receives a grand jury subpoena. If you or someone you care about is in this situation, please feel free to call me at (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Internet Crimes

More and more people are caught up in situations where they are accused of criminal activity that takes place over the Internet. Federal agents and local police departments now have specialized units that prowl the Internet, trying to find predators or lure potential suspects into acts that result in criminal prosecutions. Internet crimes can run the gamut from sex crimes or drug offenses to white collar fraud and identity theft.

In the past, sex crimes involved allegations about the activities of two people in the same physical place. The Internet has changed much about the way that sex crimes are investigated or prosecuted. The press frequently reports stories about people prosecuted for downloading or sending child pornography, soliciting minors for sex, or traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity. Television programs regularly portray these investigations.

The Internet has also provided new avenues of prosecution for drug offenses, as the federal government has targeted online pharmacies and persons who use the Internet to distribute prescription medications and other drugs. In addition. use of the Internet allows the government to charge alleged white collar schemes as wire fraud.

Many of these cases are prosecuted in the federal court system. The Protect Act and the Adam Walsh Act have created extraordinarily severe penalties for such cases. No matter what court system is involved, many Internet crimes result in massive publicity.

Internet crimes require specific and very creative defense strategies. Perhaps even more importantly, the lawyer needs to recognize the toll such accusations place upon the client and his family and loved ones. I have handled many of these difficult cases. I recognize that each person charged in such prosecutions needs a vigorous advocate who will try to understand what happened, who knows the law, and who is willing to use creative, and if needed, aggressive strategies to help solve the case. Feel free to call me at or contact us online at (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Money Laundering Offenses

A tool being used much more frequently by prosecutors in both state and federal court is the use of money laundering offenses. The prosecutor basically charges that a person engaged in financial transactions with the purpose of hiding or concealing the source or destination of money which supposedly originated in another crime. The whole idea of "laundering" money originated in prosecutions against organized crime or large drug rings which would "wash" dirty money through "clean" businesses.

Money laundering cases have changed dramatically over the past decades. Instead of such charges being reserved solely for the "mob" or foreign drug cartels, we now see such allegations being brought against business people who are accused of fraud, or against corporations whose employees supposedly committed criminal acts.

Not only are money laundering crimes more common, the penalties are often quite severe. It is a common tactic for a federal prosecutor to include money laundering and forfeiture allegations in an indictment. The money laundering crimes often carry harsher penalties than the underlying crime that created the money in the first place. Furthermore, prosecutors use these crimes to try and take away the defendant's assets, as well as putting him or her in jail.

Defending against money laundering crimes requires a sophisticated criminal defense attorney who is at the top of their game. I recognize that such allegations are serious, and require a serious and aggressive defense. If you or a loved one face such allegations, please contact an attorney who is capable of handling this kind of challenge. Feel free to call me, or contact us online (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Mortgage Fraud

There has been a veritable explosion of prosecutions for mortgage and real estate fraud throughout the United States, but especially in Georgia. The record number of foreclosures is one of the prime motivating factors behind such criminal cases. There is no end to the type of schemes that are supposedly mortgage fraud, but the vast majority of these cases wind up in federal court. There is no single law that makes it a crime to engage in mortgage fraud, so federal prosecutors use the mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering statutes to go after people who supposedly had something to do with fraudulent real estate transactions.

Some of the more common types of mortgage fraud include "flipping" properties, "equity skimming", false down payments, double selling, and fraud during the foreclosure process. Quite often, these cases involve false documentation, fraud involving the appraisal. or even theft of another innocent person's identity. Many times, these prosecutions are brought against real estate agents, mortgage brokers, underwriters, title agents, appraisers, and even real estate attorneys.

Mortgage fraud cases are exceedingly complex and complicated. Defending such cases requires significant investigation, document review and analysis of the materials in the government's possession. Quite often, a good criminal defense attorney will want to use his or her own experts when defending against mortgage fraud allegations, specialists such as forensic accountants or appraisers. The attorney needs to understand whether his client was an innocent person used by others, or whether the client was even aware of all aspects of the transactions in question. Sentencing in such cases can become wickedly complicated, and requires an attorney who is highly familiar with the extraordinarily complex Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

I regularly take on the defense for clients accused of mortgage fraud. We are accomplished, aggressive, and prepared to handle these challenging cases. If you would like to talk with us about such a case, please feel free to call me, or contact us online at (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Narcotic and Controlled Substance Offenses

Being accused of a drug offense is scary, and dangerous. Such accusations are scary because
agents involved in investigating such crimes are often aggressive and overbearing. These cases are frightening because the penalties can be so severe.

Drug crimes spring from a wide variety of fact patterns. We represent people who have been accused of growing, selling, producing. importing. delivering or possessing drugs. The drugs involved in these cases include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana and others. We are also among the few attorneys who have successfully litigated cases involving GHB, GBL and 1.4 butanediol. In recent years, penalties for drug cases have become quite severe, with mandatory minimum sentences. In federal court, things become complicated even more by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Too many people hire lawyers who are not competent to handle cases involving these complex sentencing rules. I am an expert in these areas and am often asked by other lawyers about these intricate federal sentencing rules.

An accusation of a drug crime is frightening for anyone and requires diligent work to defend. However, we work especially hard when our clients are young. It is so important to make sure that a youthful mistake does not become the defining moment in a young person's life.

Whether you are young or old, whether the crime involves marijuana, cocaine or some other drug, you need a lawyer who knows the law, and who is willing to fight for you. Feel free to call me, or contact us online if you would like an appointment to discuss your situation (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Public Corruption

A public corruption investigation or prosecution can often destroy a person's career, as well as his public image. Like most white collar matters, during the course of its investigation, the Government generally relies upon grand jury subpoenas to gather information and facilitate the investigative process. However, in cases such as these, it is not unusual for a federal agent to show up at your door unannounced and ask to speak with you. For these reasons, it is critical to seek competent counsel as soon as you learn that your name has been associated with a public corruption investigation.

Throughout the course of our careers. I have handled a wide variety of matters involving allegations of public corruption. These cases have included allegations of bribery, government contract fraud, theft of honest services, and a host of other matters. Feel free to call me, or contact us online if you need any assistance on a public corruption matter. (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Sentencing Hearings

The sentencing hearing in federal court is often the place where an accomplished criminal defense attorney can make the biggest difference. In order to make a difference, the lawyer needs to know the facts and the law. Getting a good result also requires knowledge about the judge and his or her probation officer.

Sentencing for federal crimes depends on two sets of law: the statutes enacted by Congress that are found in the United States Code, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Statutes set out the maximum punishment for any particular crime, and sometimes include a mandatory minimum period of jail time. The complicated Sentencing Guidelines provide a "range" somewhere between any minimum and the maximum period of incarceration.

For many years, the Sentencing Guidelines were mandatory, and defendants rarely could get a shorter sentence. In 2005 the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that found that the Guidelines are unconstitutional.  However, the same case "rescued" the Guidelines by holding that Judges still must use these rules, but only in an "advisory" fashion.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys in federal court now feel as if they have more freedom to try and get a better and more fair sentence for their client. But the attorney still needs to be a specialist in the Sentencing Guidelines, for these rules still are the starting point in any federal criminal sentencing hearing. Furthermore, there are many traps for the unwary in federal sentencing hearings, such as the use of drugs while on bond, the commission of new crimes and other issues that can prevent the client from getting a fair sentence.

I have handled hundreds and hundreds of federal sentencing hearings, for all crimes, large and small. If you would like to speak with an attorney who can make a difference, feel free to call me, or contact us online (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Securities Investigations & Prosecutions

The securities industry is one of the most highly regulated parts of the American business community. Members of this industry also occasionally find themselves investigated and/or prosecuted for alleged criminal activity.

Securities prosecutions often begin as a grand jury investigation. People involved in the securities field who are caught up in such an investigation need an attorney who is accustomed to handling federal prosecutors and their tactics at this early stage in a case. Too often, securities professionals rely on lawyers who are well-versed in the substantive securities law, but who are unprepared to handle the criminal side of the investigation or prosecution.

The federal securities laws include their own set of criminal penalties.  However, federal prosecutors rarely use the criminal securities statutes. Instead, the mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud laws are the normal method by which such prosecutions are brought into federal court. Money laundering allegations are also regularly included, which increases the potential penalties along with the possibility that the government will take most or all of the defendant's assets.

I have handled the defense of a number of securities industry professionals. I am prepared to defend against investigations or prosecutions. If you face such a situation, please feel free to call me, or contact us online (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Tax Prosecutions

Some of the most complicated criminal cases involve prosecutions for alleged violations of the tax laws. These cases can come in many forms, from evasion of taxes, failure to file, failing to identify the source of income, and structuring cash deposits to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports (CTR's).

Tax cases are often paper-intensive, with huge amounts of information that the attorney needs to comprehend. Furthermore, the lawyer often needs the assistance of additional experts, such as forensic accountants. Defending such a case is a large task. which requires a lawyer who can quickly assimilate the information involved.

I handle these difficult cases with the same vigor I bring to the defense of all my clients. If you are facing such a situation, please feel free to call me or contact us online (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







Witness Representation

Many people have had the experience of receiving a subpoena, which is basically a court order to appear and provide testimony or documents at a deposition, for a grand jury, or at a trial. Quite often, the person who receives the subpoena needs legal advice on how to handle the situation. The person receiving a subpoena might wish to assert his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Sometimes, the person who has been subpoenaed might have received privileged information from another person that he or she does not want to divulge. If the subpoena asks for documents, the person who got the subpoena might need to decide whether they can or should produce those items.

Representing a witness can be a very complicated matter for an attorney. On the one hand, the lawyer needs to aggressively protect his or her client's rights and privileged information. On the other hand, if the subpoena is issued by a prosecutor, investigator or grand jury, the lawyer needs to weigh whether fighting against the subpoena might do more harm than good. Helping the client make this decision requires a criminal defense attorney who knows the law, understands how prosecutions are handled, and who is able to come up to speed in a relatively short time.

I gladly take on witness representation. I enjoy helping our clients get through these stressful situations with the minimum hassle and the maximum protection. If you need help in such a situation, please feel free to call me, or contact us online  (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.







White Collar Matters

The term "white collar crime" supposedly was first mentioned in 1939 by a sociologist who discussed criminal activities committed by people of "respectability and high social status". The FBI refers to white collar crimes as "those illegal acts that are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust, and which are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property or services; or to secure personal or business advantage." Whether you think of it as based on the social status of the offender or the type of non violent activity, white collar crime is found in all walks of life.

Many people accused of white collar crimes have had no previous experience with the criminal justice system. Most people are unprepared for the myriad of rules, quirks, and dangers that lurk when a white collar Investigation begins, or when it evolves into a criminal prosecution. People facing these situations need to obtain the services of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney as rapidly as possible.

Most of the bigger white collar prosecutions are brought by federal prosecutors. These prosecutors are assisted by highly trained agents from the FBI, the IRS, U.S Customs and Border Patrol, the DEA, the SEC and other federal agencies. White collar prosecutors and investigators generally have far more resources at their disposal than what is provided for other cases. Not only do the prosecutors have more resources, they can use the prosecution-friendly rules found in federal court, one of which is the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

White collar cases often come with another potential problem: publicity. Many business or political figures need to take into account how they might be affected by media interest in an investigation or prosecution. It is well known that the investigators and a few unscrupulous prosecutors will "leak" information to reporters about a case in order to put pressure on a target of an investigation.

Feel free to call me, or contact us online if you need any assistance on a white collar matter (205) 939-1330 or tommy@tommyspina.com.