Criminal Law in Indiana
If you have been arrested for an Indiana crime, your future, finances, and freedom are all at stake. And,this article was written for you.
Here's what you need to do:
- Get referrals from the bar association or friends or do a Google search for "How to find an Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney."
- Ask questions before hiring a defense lawyer. Select the attorney with whom you are most comfortable.
Here's what we'll do for you. We'll discuss:
- Indiana criminal laws, in general;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Indiana; and
- How to work with your Indiana criminal defense attorney.
Indiana Criminal Laws
Actions or inactions that are thought to cause harm are criminalized in an attempt to prevent harm.
However, innocent people are convicted of committing crimes and sent to jail. You need a defense attorney even if you are innocent.
Indiana criminal laws (and criminal procedure laws) are found in Indiana Code (Title 35). There are many crimes listed in the Indiana Code, including homicide, false imprisonment, arson, computer offenses, drug offenses, robbery, DUI, conspiracy, burglary, weapons violations, and sex offenses.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. If the statute of limitations has passed, it serves as a complete defense.
This means your defense attorney will raise the statute of limitations defense and the charges will be dropped.
For example, in Indiana, the statute of limitations for:
- Kidnapping is either unlimited or 5 years, depending on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the crime. (Ind. Code В§35-41-4-2(a)(1)).
- Disorderly Conduct is 2 or 5 years, depending on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the crime. (Ind. Code В§35-41-4-2(a)(1) or (2)).
- Murder is unlimited. (Ind. Code В§35-41-4-2(d)(1)).
Your criminal defense lawyer will explain the statute of limitation in your case.
Punishment such as probation, community service, educational programs, fines, restitution, jail, suspension of driving privileges, house arrest, drug counseling, and capital punishment are used to deter future criminal behavior, provide restitution, and protect society.
Indiana has sentencing guidelines that describe the minimum and maximum sentences for a particular crime.
For example, in Indiana, sentencing guidelines call for:
- 45 - 65 years for murder.
- Anywhere from 6 months to 50 years in jail for a felony, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the totality of the circumstances.
- Anywhere from no jail time to one year of jail time for a misdemeanor, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the totality of the circumstances.
Ask your Indiana criminal defense lawyer what punishments are possible for the crime you are being accused of.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
- Do not delay. Your interests must be protected and evidence must be preserved. Consult with a qualified Indiana criminal defense lawyer immediately. It's okay to call anytime of the day or night.
- Honesty really is the best policy. Be completely honest and open with your defense attorney. Tell your attorney everything even if it makes you look bad.
- If you are not allowed to leave, you are under arrest. Ask for an attorney.
How to Work with an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer
Your attorney is your strongest advocate. Everything your attorney does is to help you, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Work with, not against, your own lawyer:
- Have confidence in your lawyer. Heed all advice.
- Tell your criminal defense lawyer exactly what happened.
- Return phone calls promptly.
- Provide requested information promptly.
- Stay in contact with your attorney.
- Update address and phone number if either change.
- It's okay if your lawyer questions you. It's part of the investigation and defense strategy development.
- It's okay if your attorney is polite and cooperative with police officers, investigators, the prosecutor, or the alleged victim. They are not in any kind of conspiracy against you.
- Being polite is a matter of professionalism and common sense. You get more of what you want if you're nice.
Qualified Indiana criminal defense attorneys know criminal law and criminal procedure, understand the charges against you, and know how to put forward your best defenses. If you or a loved one has been arrested, you need a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Local Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- La Porte
- Michigan City
- New Albany
- South Bend