Portage Criminal Defense Lawyer


Criminal Defense Attorney Shane O’Donnell, a former prosecutor, has been successfully representing Portage, Indiana residents for several years.  He regularly attends court at the Porter Superior Courts located in Portage and enjoys his work there.


Portage is a city in Portage Township, Porter County, Indiana, United States.  The population was 36,828 as of the 2010 census.  It is the largest city in Porter County, and third largest in Northwest Indiana.


Previous to European settlers arriving, Native American Indians lived in the area now known as Portage, Indiana.  The first known group was the Mound Builders.  The only known mound existed in the village of McCool.  This mound was removed by the owner, Mr. J.S. Robbins in the early 1900s. Following the Mound Builders, the Wea Tribe inhabited the area.  The Wea were forced south of the area by the Potawatomi Tribe.


 It is speculated that Marquette, Joliet, Hennepin or De la Croix was the first explorer, however it is unknown exactly who it was.  Despite the Potawatomi being a warring tribe, Chief Pokagon encouraged diplomacy rather than war when European Settlers wanted to settle in the area.  The Potawatomi tribe sold land to the settlers in 1812 known as Garyton which was one of the first communities in Portage Township.


By 1833, there were many European settlers in the area.  Samuel Putnam Robbins was among the first.  He came from Hocking County, Ohio, and settled near modern-day Robbins Road between McCool Road and Indiana Highway 149. In 1834, Jacob Wolf settled in the area.  He squatted on land currently near the modern-day community of South Haven and operated several dairy and beef farms there.


Other known early settlers include Berret Door, Reuben Hurlburt, Wilford Parrott, The Spurloch brothers, William McCool, Benjamin James, his son Allen James, William Holmes and Jacob Blake.  The following family names are also among the first settlers: Blake, Palmer, Summer, Ritter, Curtis, Peck, Hurl, Lenburg, Fifield, Crisman, Krieger, Nicholson, Samuelson, Swanson, Lute and Hamstrom.

 Before Portage became a town, it consisted primarily of three separate communities in addition to much farmland.  They were named McCool, Crisman and Garyton.  La Porte County maintained jurisdiction over Porter County in 1835, and founded Portage Township that year.


 Portage Township was primarily a farming community until railroad development began in the 1850s and 1860s.  The first railroad to build in the area was the Michigan Central, completed in 1852. The Michigan Central connected Detroit to Chicago.  This enabled local farmers to easily ship livestock, dairy and crops to Chicago and any other stop along the way.  It was a boon to the farmers of the area at the time and enabled them to buy more land for farming.  The Michigan Central was later bought by the New York Central Railroad.


 The next railroad to build through the Portage area was the Baltimore and Ohio in 1874.  This railroad crossed the Michigan Central near the village of Crisman.  Despite the apparent success of the early railroads, the area remained primarily agrarian and relied on the railroads to sustain its economy.  Sand was also an industry in Portage due to demand in the growing city of Chicago. The railroads enabled sand to be delivered to Chicago more efficiently.


Between the 1870s and the depression era, Portage did not grow very much.  It has been estimated that between 1880 and 1950, the growth rate averaged only about 64 people per year. This is despite the growth of towns to the west such as Gary, Hammond and East Chicago due to the industrialization of steel mills.  Portage was not unaffected by the Great Depression.


Due to the steel mills being in economic trouble, the farmers of Portage did not have demand to produce their products.  As a result of this, the farmers had food, but no money.  Many even lost their farms.


Like many communities in the country, World War I and World War II affected the economy of Portage in a big way.  Steel mills geared into high production and labor was in high demand, thus drawing many people to the area.


 After the war, the economy remained strong because of the high demand for automobiles and appliances, both of which the steel was produced at the steel mills.  The population of post-war Portage grew very quickly.  In the early 1950s, people came from Kentucky, southern Indiana and Illinois.  Most were seeking the steady salary available in the steel mills and related industries.


National Steel opened a plant along the shore of Lake Michigan in Portage in 1959.  This brought in about 1,600 new jobs.  The Port of Indiana was also built in 1961 to accommodate trade with the world via Lake Michigan.  In 1963, Bethlehem Steel began construction of a plant which was located partly in Portage.  This project brought about 6,000 jobs to the area.


In 1959, Portage was incorporated as a town.  Ogden Dunes and South Haven were excluded because the residents of these areas did not wish to be included in the town.  Due to the surge of population after the war, many farmers were selling land to be subdivided into lots for families to build homes.


In 1967, Portage officially became a city.  During the 1950s and 1960s, the city of Gary was going through a time of racial strife.  White people of Gary were seeking a way out of the turmoil, which drew many people to Portage during this time.


City of Portage, Indiana website- (http://www.ci.portage.in.us/)

Portage Police Department- (219) 762-3122

Portage Fire Department- (219) 762-7404

Portage Mayor’s Office- (219) 762-5425



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Five Steps to take when charged with a crime

#1 Do not talk  about your case with anyone Police and other authorities are trained to coax information and details from you about your case. You have a right granted by the U.S. Constitution to  remain silent. Friends and family don't have the legal training to give advice.

Hire a qualified attorney to represent you

#2 Being charged with a criminal offense is a serious circumstance. Find a lawyer who is qualified and experienced in dealing with matters that you are charged with. (See our practice areas)

Remain Calm

#3 We understand that you and your family family are under a  considerable amount of stress. Don't panic. If you have legal questions only receive advice from your attorney. Your case will be fully reviewed and analyzed by your lawyer.

Activate your support network

#4 Dealing with legal issues can require time away from your family, job or business. Have a support network that can help with non legal personal issues. Children need to be cared for and bills will need to be paid.

Think Long Term

#5 While the legal system is often not speedy, it has many provisions to protect your rights.  It's important that you to let your attorney address your cases issues in a detailed and deliberate manner. It's in your best interests to remain patient.

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