Criminal Defense

What do I do if I am arrested?

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a crime, then you likely have many questions:  What is going to happen to you?  What should you do next?  How will this affect your future? 

Important steps need to be taken immediately to protect your rights.  Witnesses need to be interviewed, and preliminary motions may need to be filed with the Court.  Delays in these steps can have serious negative consequences.  It is important to take action quickly in order to resolve the matter effectively. The attorney you work with will have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.  The right attorney can answer your questions, protect your rights, and fight for you in Court.  Even minor misdemeanor offenses can impact your employment, your family, and your ability to obtain an education in the future. Don’t let criminal charges control your life.  

FELONY/MISDEMEANOR/INFRACTION
Generally, offenses can be divided into three categories: Felonies, Misdemeanors and Infractions.  The most serious crimes are classified as felonies.  A felony is defined as a crime punishable by more than one year of incarceration in a prison or jail.  A misdemeanor is a less serious crime and one that is punishable by no more than one year of incarceration.  An infraction is a violation of an ordinance or statute that does not subject the person to a criminal conviction or jail time.  A speeding ticket would be an example of an infraction.

Major Felonies
Major felonies such as murder, drug-dealing, and rape carry severe potential jail time and fines.  It is important to retain an attorney with experience representing criminals charged with severe criminal offenses.  The right attorney will be able to investigate your case thoroughly in order to protect your rights and ensure a favorable result.

CLASSES OF OFFENSES IN INDIANA
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime in a state court in Indiana, the charge or charges will fall within a certain category of offense.  This page gives a basic overview of the different offense levels under Indiana law. Keep in mind that this information is provided as general information only and should not be considered legal advice and may or may not have application to any particular case.

FELONIES
Under Indiana law, felonies are divided into seven (7) categories, based on the perceived seriousness of the crime. These categories are:
 
Murder: This is the most serious charge one can face under Indiana law.  The sentence for a murder conviction is a fixed term between forty-five (45) and sixty-five (65) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.  In certain cases a murder conviction can result in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Murder is also a capital offense, meaning that in certain cases a murder conviction can result in the death penalty being imposed.
 
Level 1 Felony:  A Level 1 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (20) and fifty (50) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
 
Level 2 Felony: A Level 2 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (10) and thirty (30) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
 
Level 3 Felony: A Level 3 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between three (3) and twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
 
Level 4 Felony: A Level 4 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between two (2) and twelve (12) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
 
Level 5 Felony: A Level 5 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between one (1) year and six (6) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
 
Level 6 Felony: A Level 6 felony is the lowest level of felony in Indiana.  It carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between six (6) months and two and one half (2 1/2) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. In certain instances, when a person is convicted of a Level 6 felony, the Court may nonetheless enter judgment and conviction as a Class A misdemeanor.
 
Habitual Offender:  In some circumstances, the State may seek to use prior convictions to enhance the  sentence for a felony conviction
 
A person convicted of Murder or a Level 1 through Level 4 felony is a Habitual Offender if  the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender has been previously convicted of two (2) prior unrelated felonies  and at least one (1) of the prior unrelated felonies is not a Level 6 or Class D felony
 
 A person convicted of a Level 5 felony is a Habitual Offender if the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of the  offense the offender had accumulated two (2) prior unrelated felonies and at least one (1) of the Prior unrelated felonies   is not a Level 6 or Class D felony AND if the person is alleged to have committed a prior unrelated Level 5 felony, Level 6 felony,  Class C felony or Class D felony, that not more than ten (10) years have past between the time the person was released from imprisonment,  probation or parole (whichever is latest) and the time the person committed the current offense.
  
 A person convicted of a Level 6 felony is a Habitual Offender if the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender had  previously been convicted of three (3) prior unrelated felonies and if the person is alleged to have committed a prior unrelated Level 5  felony, Level 6 felony, Class C felony or Class D felony, that not more than ten (10) years have past between the time the person  was released from imprisonment, probation or parole (whichever is latest) and the time the person committed the current offense.
 
If a person convicted of a Level 1 through Level 4 felony is found to be a Habitual Offender  the Court shall sentence the offender to an additional fixed term that is between zero (0) and twenty (20) years.
 
 If a person convicted of a Level 5 or Level 6 felony is found to be a Habitual Offender the Court shall sentence the  offender to an additional fixed term that is between zero (0) and six (6) years.
 
Habitual Substance Offender: Indiana's Habitual Substance Offender enhancement has been repealed.

MISDEMEANORS

Under Indiana law misdemeanors are divided into 3 categories:
·       Class "A" Misdemeanor:  A Class "A" misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one (1) year and a fine of up to $5,000.00.  
·       Class "B" Misdemeanor:  A Class "B" misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one hundred eighty (180) days and a fine up to $1000.00.
·      Class "C" Misdemeanor:  A Class "C" misdemeanor is the lowest level of crime in Indiana, carrying a penalty of upon conviction of not more than sixty (60) days in jail and a fine of up to $500.00

O.V.W.I / D.U.I.
Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated is the most common offense filed in the State of Indiana, and it is one of the most complex and specialized areas of criminal law.  Finding an attorney who is familiar with the legal complexities of D.U.I law is important in reaching a positive outcome in your case.

As a defense attorney, I have handled many criminal cases, the vast majority of which were for O.V.W.I / D.U.I. charges.  I have had success in D.U.I. cases both at the pre-trial stage and trial stage.  O.V.W.I. cases can sometimes be won before trial by thoroughly researching the facts of the case, researching the applicable law, and filing convincing pre-trial briefs with the 
Court.