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Criminal Law FAQs

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Criminal Law FAQs

Nobody ever plans on being arrested, but many people do find themselves facing criminal charges for a variety of activities in Indiana. Make sure you contact an Indiana criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so you can get the help you need in a dire situation.

The arrest process can often be confusing and frightening, but people must understand that they still have certain rights and should not hesitate to exercise them. When the police arrest you anywhere in the state of Indiana, and you are facing prosecution for a criminal offense, it becomes imperative for you to quickly retain legal counsel. Shane O’Donnell is a former prosecutor and has handled many cases for the State of Indiana.

When Should I Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

The truth is that you should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect you are even under investigation for a criminal offense. Many people presume that they can simply cooperate with police officers and try to say the right things, but you need to understand that police can use what you say against you, and a criminal defense lawyer will know how to make sure that does not happen.

Remember that the Fourth Amendment guarantees you the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In other words, police officers will need warrants to search your property.

Be especially cautious when police officers ask you to sign anything, as what you are signing could be an authorization you are unaware of. The most obvious time to contact an attorney is when you are actually under arrest, and the police should read you your Miranda rights in these cases, which plainly state that you have the right to an attorney.

Even when you are suspected of a criminal offense, contacting an attorney can be beneficial because the lawyer will be able to arrange to have arrests performed in the way that most minimizes embarrassment for you. The attorney can also be present during the questioning to help you prevent any possible self-incrimination.

What are the Potential Penalties for Alleged Crimes?

The Indiana Code involves six classes of felonies, with Level 1 being the most severe and Level 6 being the least. There are also three classes of misdemeanors. There is a range of fines and sentences for each level of offense. Every felony has an advisory sentence.

The court uses the sentencing guideline but is not required to do so, meaning a judge can use the advisory sentence as a starting point and add more or less time depending on aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Sentencing ranges are generally as follows:

  • Murder — Sentencing range of 45–65 years, with an advisory sentence of 55 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 1 Felony — Sentencing range of 20–40 years, with an advisory sentence of 30 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 2 Felony — Sentencing range of 10–30 years, with an advisory sentence of 17.5 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 3 Felony — Sentencing range of 3–16 years, with an advisory sentence of 9 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 4 Felony — Sentencing range of 1–12 years, with an advisory sentence of 6 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 5 Felony — Sentencing range of 1–6 years, with an advisory sentence of 3 years and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Level 6 Felony — Sentencing range of 6 months–2.5 years, with an advisory sentence of 1 year and a fine range of $0–$10,000.
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Sentencing range of 0-365 days and a fine range of $0–$5,000.
  • Class B Misdemeanor — Sentencing range of 0–180 days and a fine range of $0–$1,000.
  • Class C Misdemeanor — Sentencing range of 0-60 days and a fine range of $0–$500.

Murder involves the possibility of the death penalty or life without parole.

What is the Statute of Limitations For My Case?

In Indiana, prosecutors generally have up to two years to file misdemeanor cases and five years for felony cases. Murder, Level 1 Felonies, and Level 2 Felonies have no statute of limitations.

If I Can’t Afford an Attorney, Do I Get One For Free?

Yes, a person who does not have the money to afford an attorney can be appointed a public defender by the court, but you also get what you pay for. A public defender will presumably have hundreds of cases they are handling at the same time, which means that they will rarely be able to discuss your case with you at any great length and will be less motivated to negotiate for more lenient sentences.

How Long is the “Washout Period” in Indiana?

Any person arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana will want to understand how the state’s washout period works, which simply refers to the time that an OWI arrest remains on a criminal record when there is a subsequent OWI arrest. When you beat a case, you have to wait one year from the date of your arrest. 

In the case of a conviction for a misdemeanor OWI offense, you have to wait five years from the date of your conviction. In the case of a conviction for a Level 5 Felony or higher, it will be 10 years that you have to wait.

Contact an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer

If the police arrest you for a criminal offense in Indiana, make sure that you do not delay in contacting a criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Shane O’Donnell serves the communities of Crown Point, Merrillville, Schererville, Hobart, Highland, Griffith, Munster, East Chicago, Hammond, Gary, Cedar Lake, Lowell, Whiting, St. John, Dyer, New Chicago, Valparaiso, Portage, Chesterton, and Hebron.

Our firm will fight for a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges. You can call us or contact us online for a free consultation so an Indiana criminal defense lawyer can sit down with you and go over all of the details of your case while also answering all of your legal questions.

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Shane O’Donnell Today
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Whether you were injured in an accident or accused of a crime, we work tirelessly to help your case and are committed to protecting your future.

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