We study the effect of spins on searches for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescences in realistic simulated early advanced LIGO data. We construct a detection pipeline including matched filtering, signal-based vetoes, a coincidence test between different detectors, and an estimate of the rate of background events. We restrict attention to neutron star-black hole (NS-BH) binary systems, and we compare a search using nonspinning templates to one using templates that include spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum. To run the searches we implement the binary inspiral matched-filter computation in PyCBC, a new software toolkit for gravitational-wave data analysis. We find that the inclusion of aligned-spin effects significantly increases the astrophysical reach of the search. Considering astrophysical NS-BH systems with nonprecessing black hole spins, for dimensionless spin components along the orbital angular momentum uniformly distributed in (−1, 1), the sensitive volume of the search with aligned-spin templates is increased by ∼50% compared to the nonspinning search; for signals with aligned spins uniformly distributed in the range (0.7,1), the increase in sensitive volume is a factor of ∼10.