Every criminal case is a serious matter. There are lifelong consequences for any person accused or convicted of committing a crime. Besides the direct possibility of incarceration and/or fines, there are a number of other consequences including embarrassing disclosures to prospective employers, denial of state benefits, denial of financial aid, supervised parenting time, loss of driving privileges, loss of firearms, restraining orders, forfeiture of property, disenfranchisement, and deportation.
No matter what step in the process of a criminal case, you have rights to protect against government action. First, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, protect individuals against unreasonable search and seizure. This generally requires Law Enforcement Officers to have some identifiable suspicion before they stop a person for further investigation. Also, limitations are placed on officers’ ability to search based on the circumstances.
You have a right to consult an attorney at any significant event in a criminal proceeding. In Indiana, this can include deciding whether to consent to a search. Searches must be pursuant to consent, a valid warrant, or fall under an exception to the warrant requirement.
Reviewing the legality of these pre-charging steps is a vital step in the defense process. Our firm can assist in gathering evidence and presenting a legal argument for the suppression of evidence if it appears your Constitutional rights have been violated. Retaining an attorney as quickly as possible is important to protect your rights.
Once a person is in custody, more rights arise under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution. These rights are widely known and popularly referred to as “Miranda Rights,” based on the United States Supreme Court Decision, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). They include the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney.
In-custody interrogation is often an important step in the investigation of criminal activity. Ensuring your rights were honored is another key process in providing effective representation. Our firm will thoroughly investigate the interrogation and protect your rights.
If a person is charged with a crime, the State must conduct an initial hearing within a reasonably short period of time. Often, this hearing occurs within one or two days. At the initial hearing, the person is advised of the charges, advised of his or her rights, and offered an opportunity to retain counsel.
In Indiana, bail must be set for every charge, except murder and treason. This is another vital process, as pre-trial detention can disrupt employment, family, and housing responsibilities. We will argue for reasonable bail conditions to ensure that your life is minimally disrupted while the matter is pending.
While proceeding through the case, we generally use a two-prong approach. First, with a thorough investigation of the facts and the law, our defense will prepare to contest and defend the charges at trial. This will provide a reasonable assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the matter. Additionally, it will aid in the second approach, negotiating a middle-ground solution.
Negotiation is an effective tool to use in criminal matters. Even if unsuccessful, it can provide a gauge on the State’s evidence and relative strength of the case. If negotiation is successful, it can provide certainty and peace of mind in the resolution of the case.