Introduction | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
At Webster & Garino LLC we understand that a criminal charge can have a significant impact on you and your family. We have a team of dedicated and successful criminal defense attorneys who will aggressively advocate for you. Our attorneys have received national recognition as top Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers and have successfully argued in front of the Indiana Supreme Court. Our team won the landmark case Seo v. State of Indiana, which prohibits law enforcement from compelling individuals to unlock their electronic devices, which was featured at Stanford University for its mock trial competition.
Whether you are searching for a criminal defense attorney or an OWI lawyer near me, contact the experienced criminal defense team at Webster & Garino LLC for a complimentary case review
Criminal Law FAQs
Classification of Crimes | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
Misdemeanor Crimes (Read more)
Misdemeanor crimes are broadly defined as those with penalties no greater than one year in jail. As a result, a misdemeanor in Indiana could send you to a county jail, especially if you are charged with the highest-level Class A misdemeanor. Aside from possible jail time, misdemeanors can produce a variety of penalties, such as fines, probation, and restitution. Discussing your case with a misdemeanor lawyer in Indiana will inform you about the extent of your risk of conviction and possible penalties. Additionally, your lawyer may identify a defense strategy that prevents conviction altogether.
Misdemeanors are classified into three tiers, which include fines and jail time:
- Class A misdemeanor – Jail for up to one year, fines up to $5,000
- Class B misdemeanor – Jail for up to 180 days, fines up to $1,000
- Class C misdemeanor – Jail for up to 60 days, fines up to $50
A criminal lawyer in Indiana could potentially shield you from the harshest penalties. At times, a lawyer succeeds in arguing that the evidence cannot support a conviction. If a conviction cannot be avoided, your lawyer may convince the court to apply a lighter sentence and even forgo jail time.
Judges have the power to adjust misdemeanor sentences up or down as they see fit. A judge may take into account the following:
- Previous criminal history
- Level of harm caused by the offense
- Involvement, if any, of the protected person
Alternative sentences to jail include:
- Pretrial diversion
- Conditional discharge
- Problem-solving court
- Community service
If you have a previous criminal record, then you could face a situation in which the prosecutor can elevate what would be a misdemeanor charge to a felony. If you have previously been convicted of an OWI or a DUI, the support of a criminal attorney in Indiana becomes more critical.
Due to the broad range of felony crimes, criminal law in Indiana created six felony levels, with Level 1 reserved for the most serious crimes and Level 6 being the least serious.
Indiana felony levels and penalty ranges:
- Level 1 felony: Prison for 20 to 40 years, 30-year advisory sentence
- Level 2 felony: Prison for 10 to 30 years, 17.5-year advisory sentence
- Level 3 felony: Prison for 3 to 16 years, 9-year advisory sentence
- Level 4 felony: Prison for 2 to 12 years, 6-year advisory sentence
- Level 5 felony: Prison for 1 to 6 years, 3-year advisory sentence
- Level 6 felony: Prison for six months to 2.5 years, 1-year advisory sentence
Felony convictions can also produce fines of up to $10,000.
Murder represents a particular unclassified felony. A conviction can result in up to life in prison or possibly the death penalty.
Enhanced felony sentences are possible under a number of circumstances, including:
Convictions for certain firearm offenses or gang activity
Aggravating factors, like habitual offender or violation of court orders
Depending on the felony level, an enhanced sentence could add two to 20 more years of prison time.
Alternatively, a judge could issue a lenient sentence. In some cases, a felony sentence might not include prison time. A judge could suspend a prison sentence and limit penalties to probation and other court orders.
Pretrial diversion may be something that you could explore with a criminal lawyer in Indiana. In some cases, a lawyer could work out a deal that allows the court to take corrective action against you without directly pursuing a criminal conviction.
OWI/DUI, Driving & Alcohol Related Crimes
Drunk driving is the most common reason for a resident of Indiana to be arrested. Nationwide, 10% of all arrests are for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Criminal law in Indiana refers to this offense as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). When stopped by police on suspicion of OWI, the implied consent law obligates you to submit to chemical testing for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% is illegal for an operator of a motor vehicle. Commercial drivers face arrest if they are on the job and have a 0.04% BAC. For people under the legal drinking age of 21, authorities charge the driver with an OWI for a BAC of only 0.02%.
OWI penalties include 60 days to 6 years in jail, with fines starting at $500 and rising to $10,000. Most OWIs will result in Class A or Class C misdemeanors. Level 6 and Level 5 felonies are possible for repeat offenses, death or bodily injury, or endangerment of a minor.
The severity of your charges and penalties depends on:
- Number of offenses
- Age of passengers
- Bodily injury or death
A criminal lawyer in Indiana can provide specific information about your situation after an arrest.
OWI / DUI Involving Accident
An OWI DUI involving an accident places you in serious jeopardy of losing your freedom. You could be charged with a felony, especially if the accident injured or killed someone. The criminal justice system will want to sentence you to prolonged jail time on top of fines and an extended suspension of your driver’s license. Law enforcement will collect a blood sample at the time of your arrest, and this physical evidence can make defending you from prosecution an uphill battle. Discussing your case immediately with a DUI lawyer is critical for preventing unfair treatment or challenging evidence whenever possible.
OWI / DUI Involving Drugs
Alcohol is not the only substance that intoxicates drivers, and the courts regard an OWI DUI involving drugs as a serious matter. A blood draw or other chemical test that detects metabolites of marijuana or other controlled substances in your system gets you in just as much trouble with the law as alcohol, if not more. An OWI DUI involving drugs in Indiana complicates your case because any amount of a substance in your body warrants a criminal charge in the eyes of the state. A defense prepared by a knowledgeable criminal attorney may be your best chance in a system designed to prosecute drug consumption harshly.
OWI / DUI Boating
You might not think that a day on the lake can result in a DUI arrest, but it can. Being charged with an OWI DUI involving boating places you at risk of a misdemeanor charge at a minimum. Speaking with an OWI lawyer is a good idea after an arrest. The laws used to prosecute intoxicated boaters are the same as those used against drivers. Even though your offense took place on the water, you could still lose driving privileges for a time. Fines and even time in jail are possible too.
OWI / DUI Underage
Getting in trouble with the law at a young age could derail your future. The threshold for drunk driving is very low if you are under the legal drinking age of 21. Law enforcement only has to record a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% to charge you criminally with underage OWI DUI. Depending on the severity of the underage OWI DUI charge, you could lose your license for up to a year. You can expect the court to apply fines, jail time, and other penalties in the absence of a strong defense strategy.
OWI / DUI Field Sobriety Tests
The purpose of OWI DUI field sobriety tests is for a police officer to judge your level of impairment. The officer’s opinion about your performance becomes evidence used against you should you be charged with OWI. During traffic stops, officers employ OWI DUI field sobriety tests to evaluate your eye responses and motor skills. The results of these tests alone should not be enough to convict you. In an effort to defend you, a DUI lawyer may investigate the quality and legitimacy of your test results. Any doubts a lawyer raises about how the traffic stop was conducted could improve your criminal defense.
OWI / DUI Breath Test, Blood Draw
When a police officer suspects a driver of intoxication, a breath test or blood draw is likely to be done. Having a driver’s license means that you have consented to an OWI DUI breath test and/or OWI DUI blood draw. Refusing to cooperate will not protect you from legal consequences. The results of an OWI DUI breath test or OWI DUI blood draw provides evidence that the criminal justice can use to convict you. Even so, do not assume you must plead guilty until after an OWI lawyer has evaluated your defense options.
Suspended License In Indiana
An arrest on suspicion of OWI results in an administrative suspension of your driver’s license by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). If convicted, the court may suspend your license for less or more time.
When you lose your driver’s license, you risk additional criminal charges and penalties if caught driving with a suspended license. To avoid this possibility, you could explore your options for Specialized Driving Privileges (SDP) with a criminal attorney in Indiana.
Getting caught driving with a suspended license can result in:
Class A infraction
Class A misdemeanor
Level 5 or 6 felony
At the end of your administrative or court-ordered license suspension, you can pursue reinstatement of your license.
Drug Possession and Sale | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
Possession of a Controlled Substance in Indiana
Controlled substances include what are known as illegal street drugs, like cocaine or methamphetamine, materials used to manufacture drugs, and prescription medications that require a valid prescription. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime in Indiana. Your criminal charges will vary according to the amount of controlled substance you had and where it lands on the state’s five-tier schedule of controlled substances.
Depending on the type of drug and amount, authorities could charge you with:
Level 3 – 6 felony
Class A misdemeanor
Class B misdemeanor
Factors that could enhance your charges include:
Prior drug conviction
Possession of firearm
An offense committed near children/schools or at a correctional facility
Involvement of a minor
Due to the numerous variables that go into drug charges, people often seek advice and guidance from a criminal law firm in Indiana.
Indiana Laws on Dealing in a Controlled Substance
Participating in the drug trade, known as dealing in Indiana, means that the person delivered a controlled substance or financed its delivery. Possession may also be charged as dealing if the amount appears too much for personal use.
The severity of criminal charges for dealing depends on the type of controlled substance and the amount.
Similarly, enhanced charges apply when the person involved minors, was at a correctional facility, had a firearm, or was previously convicted of drug crimes.
Accusations of drug dealing increase the likelihood of being charged higher up the felony scale. Depending on the circumstances, a prosecutor may charge your case as:
- Level 3 – 6 felony
- Class A misdemeanor
- Class B misdemeanor
Expungement | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
Expungement in Indiana (Read more)
Expungement in Indiana is the process of sealing your criminal records. You have to follow numerous rules when petitioning a court to remove your record from public view. You have to wait a certain length of time, and your original conviction must be for an offense or offenses that qualify for expungement in Indiana. Many misdemeanors qualify for this relief, as do some lower-level felonies. An expungement lawyer in Indiana can examine your current background check and explain your options for clearing out some or all of the convictions or arrests. Expungement is a highly detailed process. A criminal defense lawyer best handles it because you only have limited chances to seal your record and escape the criminal history that is holding you back and depriving you of civil rights.
Sentence Modification In Indiana | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
Sentence Modification In Indiana (Read more)
A conviction for a crime is understandably distressing, but the sentence issued by a court is not necessarily the last word on the subject. Sentence modification in Indiana is possible under a number of circumstances for many people, except those convicted of very serious crimes. An excessive penalty beyond sentencing guidelines or evidence of rehabilitation may convince a court to approve sentence modification in Indiana. Changes to felony classifications several years ago have increased opportunities for a sentence modification lawyer in Indiana to request alteration of your original sentence. If you meet the criteria, a court could reduce your prison term or parole you.
You should take any criminal charge seriously, even misdemeanors, and a criminal record will impact your future opportunities and freedoms. At Webster & Garino, LLC, we treat you with respect and strive to deliver the best outcomes within the criminal justice system. Call Webster & Garino today for a free consultation.