January 20, 2020
After a criminal conviction, you will naturally focus on completing your sentence and then moving on with life. That criminal record, however, makes a fresh start difficult because it will always appear on background checks. A second chance law passed in Indiana in 2012 could now offer you relief if your conviction involved a Class D felony. If you meet the criteria, you could petition a court to reduce that Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor. Once you achieve this reduction, you can legally answer “no” when asked about criminal convictions. A criminal defense lawyer in Indiana can evaluate your case and explain whether you are eligible to ask for your second chance.
Benefits of Felony Record Reduction
Cleaning up your criminal record expands your ability to pursue a better job, obtain an education, and qualify for loans. Professional licensing opportunities become available again, which could lead to a substantial increase in lifelong earnings. A felony-free record also means that you can probably own a handgun again. Depending on the nature of your conviction, a felony record could block your access to social services and public housing. Once it is gone, you and your family will have more options if confronted by financial hardship.
Felony to Misdemeanor Conversion Requirements
Before 2014 when the state changed the structure of felony classifications, Class D felonies represented offenses of low severity. To qualify for conviction reduction, your Class D felony conviction must not have involved bodily injury. You cannot have the status of a registered sex offender or a violent criminal. You cannot have any convictions for misconduct, such as perjury, or be convicted of any other felonies since completing your sentence. Pending criminal charges would disqualify you, as well.
As long as you meet the requirements and three years have passed since the conclusion of your sentence, then you can go forward with a petition to reduce the conviction to a Class A misdemeanor. A Carmel Indiana attorney can prepare the court filings to initiate the process.
Get a Fresh Start
You should not have to live with the consequences of a mistake in your past when you have stayed out of trouble for years. Clearing away a felony conviction will let you escape the legal burdens that have been holding you back economically. A criminal defense lawyer in Indiana can explain how to regain your rights. Contact Webster & Garino today.
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November 30, 2019
An arrest naturally alarms an individual, especially if that person has never faced criminal charges before. Convictions for even relatively minor crimes can negatively impact your future earnings and perhaps your freedom. A criminal defense attorney in Indiana will help you understand your options within the criminal justice system. At Webster and Garino, our experienced Westfield criminal defense attorneys will help guide you through this difficult process.
Get Legal Representation
Unfortunately, without an Indiana criminal attorney who is willing to take your case to trial, you will likely have little leverage with a prosecutor. Ideally, you will obtain a criminal lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. The pretrial phase creates is critical part of your criminal case. If you don’t have a Noblesville criminal defense attorney at the start of your case, you may miss deadlines and other important request that will negatively affect your criminal case. During the pre-trial process, an effective criminal defense attorney may depose witnesses, issue discovery and point out issues with the case to the prosecutor, which may lead to dismissal or reduced criminal charges. Depending on the situation, your Noblesville criminal lawyer will challenge ambiguous evidence, question police methods, or communicate your clean record and family obligations.
Be Open to a Plea Bargain
If proving your innocence at trial appears unlikely, a plea bargain will reduce the severity of penalties. Prosecutors may drop or reduce some charges within a plea deal in exchange for a quick conviction on the remaining charges. A swift case resolution saves the court system money and usually rewards the defendant with a lighter sentence than would have otherwise been applied.
During this process, a criminal defense attorney in Indiana will strive to gain a plea deal that does not impose or limits jail or prison time. Your criminal defense attorney can secure alternatives to incarceration, such as probation or house arrest.
The potential to obtain the reduction or dismissal of charges is possible because prosecutors have discretion to bring and/or dismiss criminal charges. A prosecutor may become reluctant to proceed against a defendant. If a Noblesville defense attorney can introduce risk by suppressing illegally obtained or questionable evidence or communicating a defendant’s contrition for a bad mistake, a prosecutor may dismiss the case or reduce criminal charges.
Learn About Your Rights
The law grants you rights meant to protect you in a criminal case. At Webster & Garino we understand those rights and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your life and family. Contact our Noblesville OWI lawyers familiar with the staff and procedures at local courts. Explore your options for a criminal defense strategy by contacting us today.
November 6, 2019
At Webster & Garino, we provide you with access to a criminal defense attorney in Indiana.
We’ll examine the facts concerning your case and suggest a strategy for challenging criminal
allegations. A variety of legal concepts exist that can preserve your liberty and reputation.
These are six conventional approaches to defending people from criminal prosecution.
1. Affirmative Defense
With an affirmative defense, the defendant and attorney present evidence that undermines a
prosecutors claims. An alibi or justification such as self defense represents examples of
An affirmative defense strategy does not necessarily attack every element of a prosecutor's
case but strives to prove the falseness of the most crucial aspects. Although innocence in itself
forms a passive defense strategy on its own because it challenges prosecutors to prove their
case, an affirmative defense might play an active role in defending an innocent person.
2. Coercion and Duress
If the circumstances that led someone to take criminal action involved coercion and duress, a
criminal defense attorney in Indiana might argue that the person was forced to break the law.
The threat of unlawful force against the defendant or someone close to the defendant, like a
family member, might show that the defendant acted out of fear and did not want to
participate in criminal conduct. This defense requires that a person did not willingly enter the
situation where the coercion and duress occurred.
3. Abandonment and Withdrawal
In some cases, a person intends to commit a crime but then decides to abandon and withdraw
from the criminal act, although accomplices might still go forward with it. Evidence must be
produced to show that the defendant abandoned the criminal action before actually
contributing to the crime.
Serious crimes like assault, battery, and murder sometimes involve a person who felt that
violence was necessary for self-preservation. The self-defense strategy does not deny that the
violence took place but asks the criminal justice system to excuse it. For this defense strategy to succeed, a defendant must show that the force was reasonable and proportionate to the
Similar to self-defense, the criminal justice system might excuse violent actions motivated by
the need to protect other people.
6. Violations of Constitutional Rights
The U.S. Constitution and Indiana state constitutions install certain rights meant to protect
people from unreasonable intrusions by the government. People facing charges based on
improper confessions or illegal searches and seizures might opt for this defense strategy. A
court might have to dismiss a case if evidence arose from Constitutional violations.
A criminal defense attorney in Indiana might identify an effective defense strategy after you’ve
been charged with a crime. Contact us at Webster & Garino for a case evaluation today.
October 20, 2019
An arrest is an alarming event that can leave you wondering what to do next. Even if the charges seem minor, like a misdemeanor, the consequences of a conviction could influence educational and employment opportunities as well as child custody. The representation of a criminal defense lawyer Indiana from Webster & Garino could mitigate the negative consequences of criminal charges. A favorable plea deal, acquittal, or case dismissal could result from the efforts of one of our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers.
Understand the Situation
Entering the criminal justice system exposes you to unfamiliar terms and procedures. Legal guidance will help you prepare for each court appearance. A Carmel Indiana lawyer could explain the nuances of your criminal charges and their associated penalties. This information is critical to know when you need to enter a plea.
Form a Defense
A case evaluation conducted by your lawyer could reveal opportunities to challenge the allegations against you. A lawyer might convince reluctant witnesses to speak on your behalf or uncover information that casts doubt on your charges. By exposing weak evidence or inappropriate police conduct, an Indiana criminal defense lawyer could call for the dismissal or reduction of charges.
Communicate With the Prosecutor
A criminal defense lawyer Indiana likely possesses working relationships with local prosecutors. Defense lawyers and prosecutors work within the same courts, and they understand each other’s needs and priorities. Your lawyer could speak directly with the prosecutor and potentially work out a deal that reduces charges, limits penalties or drops the case entirely. Without an Indiana criminal lawyer, you would have no one to advocate for your needs with the person who has significant influence over the outcome of your case.
Protect Your Interests
Indiana Defense lawyers strive to handle criminal cases with discretion and efficiency. Legal representation could prevent or limit jail time and spare you from job loss or family disruption. An Indiana criminal lawyer’s knowledge of criminal penalties could alert you to the most severe aspects of your case that could jeopardize your professional licensing. By focusing on the charges most likely to impact your career, a lawyer might effectively negotiate a plea deal that serves your most important goals.
Money spent on legal representation could prevent costlier consequences. A conviction or jail sentence may cause you to lose your job or be expelled from school, possibly reducing your income for a significant period of time.
Please contact Webster & Garino and speak with one of our Westfield Indiana criminal defense lawyers to discuss your case.
June 28, 2019
The concept of self-defense applies to a person who commits an act of violence to repel or neutralize an attacker. If you have experienced such an incident, then learning about your legal rights is a priority. The representation of a Carmel Indiana lawyer could prepare you to communicate your side of the story to authorities.
You should not assume that a prosecutor reviewing your case will interpret the events in a manner that excuses your conduct. The criminal justice system will use specific criteria to determine whether your case involved a valid use of self-defense.
Self Defense Definition
The law narrowly defines the circumstances that allow you to avoid criminal charges or conviction for reasons of self-defense. The necessity of your violent action to protect yourself, another person, or property from immediate harm must be apparent to justify self-defense. Your actions must also appear to be reasonable at that moment.
Who Can Claim Self Defense?
Indiana law recognizes that people might encounter felonious threats that require them to defend themselves. When someone has no way to retreat, reach safety, or summon law enforcement promptly, the use of force, including deadly force, is generally excused by society.
The aspect of Indiana law known as the Castle Doctrine establishes that people possess the right to self-defense in their house, yard, or occupied vehicle.
Because the events that lead to a self-defense action are often chaotic, authorities may not immediately recognize that self-defense took place. An Indiana lawyer at Webster & Garino could counsel you in the aftermath of such a distressing incident. Our guidance might prevent you from making statements to the police without proper awareness of your rights.
How Courts Evaluate Self Defense
The court system will want to know if the person who was restrained, injured, or killed was committing or attempting to commit a forcible felony against a person or property. Fear of murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and arson could legally justify the use of force by intended victims.
Secondly, the person claiming self-defense needs to show that no alternative existed at the moment. Before resorting to force, a person should seek safety or otherwise try to avoid confrontation.
The extent of force matters as well. Self-defense actions should not exceed the level of force necessary to preserve property, life, or safety.
Discuss Your Case With an Indiana Lawyer
A Carmel Indiana lawyer could assess the viability of your self-defense case. Our legal representation could protect your rights and preserve your freedom. Call us today.