Uncategorized

Top Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving All Courts in Noblesville & Carmel

I have had the unique privilege of coming to the aid of good people, whether they be adults or children, charged with all forms of criminal accusations within Hamilton County Indiana. Customarily, the types of cases I handle center on dui, theft and shoplifting cases in addition to all forms of drug and alcohol offenses.

Whether those I have been entrusted to protect are adults or those in need of a juvenile lawyer in Noblesville or Carmel, my experience within the Hamilton County court system for 25 years has given me the know how necessary to guide a criminal prosecution to the most favorable outcome possible.

While it is always the goal to focus on the prevention of criminal charges if involved soon enough or the ultimate dismissal of a criminal prosecution, a defense attorney in Hamilton County must be well versed in all procedural aspects of  local defense rules. In so doing, experienced defense counsel is best in position to produce the most advantageous results possible to resolve a criminal accusation.

For example, unlike other Indiana counties, Hamilton County has unique procedural obligations governing the approval of individuals for options that would allow for the possibility of potential incarceration to be avoided. This issue is usually the focus of either first time offenders dealing with serious allegations to repeat offenders who seek any and all alternatives to reduce or eliminate the prospect of incarceration within the Hamilton County Jail or Department of Corrections.

Unfortunately, in far too many circumstances I have had too assume the representation of client cases initially handled by either well intentioned attorneys unfamiliar with the Hamilton County criminal court system or those otherwise unable to deliver potential favorable pre trial outcomes within Noblesville or Carmel criminal courts.

The best case scenario for one seeking competent defense representation within Hamilton County is to seek defense counsel who both; 1.) have devoted their legal efforts to the exclusive cause of criminal defense and 2.) have the experience necessary within the Hamilton County criminal court system to navigate a case toward the most advantageous result possible. I would highly recommend one review the content I have provided in regard to finding the best lawyer for a given case in your search for needed information should a criminal prosecution target you or one you care for.

If I can be of help I would encourage a call to me at any time. Your phone consultation will always be cost free. My obligation as a defense attorney is to do whatever possible to provide the knowledge and know how necessary to protect good people targeted by a dui, theft or drug/alcohol allegation anywhere within Hamilton County Indiana.

Word has leaked out that Hamilton County, in association with local traffic enforcement authorities throughout the state, will be increasing impaired driving enforcement activities throughout the month of March.

Curiously, one of the main focal points as to why March has been selected for increased impaired driving enforcement has apparently been the presence of the St. Patrick’s day holiday.

Although St. Patrick’s day has proven to be a big social boon for business among various Hamilton County establishments throughout the county, this success has apparently focused attention upon the possibility for Hamilton County law enforcement authorities to accumulate large numbers of dui arrests.

With such fertile prospects with which to justify receipt of federal law enforcement funding, Hamilton County authorities have appeared to earmark March as a month in which they can best justify actionable arrests in return for the federal funding received.

As a result, please be aware that the revelry often accompanied by the increasing prominence of this enjoyable St. Patrick’s celebration in Hamilton County may very well draw adverse attention to motorist conduct specifically as related to this particular holiday season.

It is often difficult to discern the times of year when motorist enforcement will be at its peak for drunk driving enforcement. However, although somewhat irritating to learn that we must all have thoughts of traffic enforcement foremost in our thoughts this March when enjoying St. Paddy’s day, please be especially appreciative that we may all become pro actively prepared to guard against any potential arrest that can otherwise impair enjoyment of another great holiday season.

Please take time to review any and all information that has been disseminated among Hamilton County publications to learn how to best steer clear of any problem areas that may prove to become focal points for traffic related arrests in Hamilton County this month.

Although I would anticipate that the time period at or near the time of the St. Patrick’s day holiday will become the peak period of impaired driving enforcement this month, increased detection activity may very well be prevalent throughout the month.

“High visibility patrols,” will be looking at any moment to produce prized dui arrests within Hamilton County. Whether it be through the implementation of presently unannounced sobriety checkpoints or refocused priorities upon single car enforcement of any suspicious driving activity, this month is one in which to be especially careful when operating a motor vehicle within Hamilton County.

For many it can be quite confusing to learn of the different state requirements imposed upon prosecutors to meet their burden of proof within a dui prosecution.

Although the national uniform standard of proof to sustain a conviction in a criminal case is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” all states have different rules of evidence in regard to the process by which state prosecutors must seek to sustain that burden of proof. Significant to this posting, I was recently questioned by a defense lawyer within another state jurisdiction in regard to an owi prosecution within the state of Indiana.

The central focus of his questioning was the Indiana rules of evidence governing the admissibility of breath test results. Within the attorney’s state jurisdiction in order for a breath test to become admissible in a state prosecution, prosecutors are apparently required to present the live testimony of expert forensic toxicologists. In so doing, a judge or jury can learn the expert opinion of such a witness as it relates to the term “retrograde extrapolation.”

This term is frequently fundamental to a dui prosecution in that it takes into account not what a suspected individual charged with dui tested after time has elapsed following an investigation, but rather what was the likely bac of the suspected impaired driver at the time he or she was operating the motor vehicle in question.

This concept recognizes that as the body absorbs and/or expels alcohol the bac level at the time one is tested can fluctuate greatly. For example, it is generally accepted that one reaches a peak alcohol reading of bac approximately one hour from the last consumed drink of alcohol.

Many factors can come into play when attempting to backdate this estimated result. Such factors may include but are not limited to; time last drink of alcohol was consumed, frequency of drinking activity within a certain time period, type of alcohol consumed, body weight & gender.

It therefore stands to reason that an individual charged with dui will darn well desire the most complete investigation possible to justify what his or her bac level was not at the time of testing, but at the time the operation of the vehicle while impaired is alleged.

Ultimately, people are surprised to discover that although witnesses making such calculations may be deemed experts when testifying to such results, in the end such expert testimony is really no more than guesstimations as opposed to mathmatical calculations that can stand up to scientific scrutiny.

This reality underscores the perilous nature behind potentially incriminating evidence presented against an individual within the standard dui prosecution.

Most notably, for bac results not far above .08, it stands to reason that a criminal conviction should not be legally based upon witness guesswork clothed within supposed expert testimony. However, such legal testimony is not only permitted within criminal courts nationwide, but endorsed and sometimes required within dui prosecutions.

Such is not the case within the state of Indiana. In Indiana, a state prosecutor is under no legal obligation to present the live witness testimony of a forensic toxicologist to sustain his or her burden of proof within a dui prosecution.

What is required in Indiana is for the law enforcement official responsible for breath or blood testing to be certified to do so within prescribed time periods. In the case of breath tests, once valid certifications can be introduced in court validating that the testing instrument in question was in working order at the time the suspected individual’s breath sample was taken from the particular machine, the bac results become admissible into evidence.

While the credibility of the bac test can be questioned by defense witnesses, the tests most significantly cannot be excluded from evidence.

It is here where the out of state lawyer’s questioning of me proves significant for the purpose of this posting.

Where other states may require the prosecutor to present the testimony of a forensic toxicologist as a required witness to sustain a criminal conviction within a dui prosecution, Indiana does not. As a result, should a state prosecutor in Indiana be able to hurdle this very low evidentiary standard for the admissibility of a bac result above .08, it becomes incumbant upon a defendant to present the testimony of his or her own forensic expert to attempt to rebut the bac evidence presented.

This reality essentially shifts the burden of proof from a prosecutor to a criminal defendant seeking to educate a jury as to the potential flaws inherent when assessing impairment based upon a given bac test result.

In an ideal world this may not prove a problem were financial considerations not a very real issue as to the retention of potential witnesses. However, hiring one’s own independent forensic toxicologist can prove extremely costly, and serve as yet another punitive sanction imposed upon one merely accused of a dui offense.

Further, as the expert calculations presented are little more than educated guesses based upon what factors are able to be compiled within a given case, no toxicologist, whether presented by the state or paid for by the defense will be able to affirmatively testify with certainty as to a given bac level at the time the vehicle within a prosecution was in operation.

No matter the reality as to a reasoned scrutiny of evidence presented nationwide in regard to breath test results, I believe it time for Indiana and other applicable state jurisdictions to re assess the evidentiary burden imposed upon criminal defendants within dui cases.

Those accused of operating while intoxicated should not have to bear the burden of retaining and locating suitable expert testimony capable of altering the perception of the average juror as to the lack of scientific certainty behind breath test results within dui prosecutions. That burden should rightly be placed upon prosecutors within the state of Indiana who are responsible for the charging of criminal cases and the corresponding burdens of proving those cases within a court of law.

As I have spoken of elsewhere, one of the law enforcement practices motorists and lawyers most disdain in Hamilton County and elsewhere is that of sobriety checkpoints aimed at arresting drunk drivers.

Although in theory many law abiding citizens would be apt to endorse the practice of such random checkpoints, in reality the manner in which many of these roadblocks have been implemented has caused considerable agitation among even the most vocal advocates against drunk driving.

Common sense has dictated that the most thoroughly traveled thoroughfares be targeted for such dui enforcement. The time devoted in officer hours to man such checkpoints combined with the considerable taxpayer expense of their implementation compel such practices that inevitably frustrate most drivers.

Predictably, the strategic law enforcement decisions as to utilizing checkpoints in the most heavily trafficked roadways always result in traffic congestion and extreme inconvenience to motorists.

Yet, I think it would surprise many to discover that despite the universal negative impact these checkpoints always have upon motorist activity, such inconvenience will rarely, if ever, be outweighed in benefit by a significant number of corresponding dui arrests at a particular checkpoint.

Much statistical analysis does exist to analyze the considerable objective financial costs with which to assess sobriety checkpoints with resulting dui prosecutions. Curiously, no such data will be usually forthcoming to investigate how many drivers have been checked at a particular checkpoint to compare with the number of resulting arrests.

There simply is little incentive for law enforcement agencies to promote the distribution for such information to reach the general public.

Were police agencies to conduct exhaustive research in order to demonstrate how few dui arrests have been typically made as a result of the standard sobriety checkpoint, the use of such practices to bolster law enforcement’s arrest statistics could potentially be curtailed considerably.

The United States Supreme Court has endorsed the use of sobriety checkpoints under certain legal conditions as to how the roadblocks will be implemented. As a result, should respective states wish to utilize this questionably effective law enforcement practice to curb drunk driving they may do so.

Significantly, not all states have taken the proverbial legal bait that the U.S. Supreme Court has given them. While I can only speculate as to why not all states have found the use of these roadblocks to be in compliance with their own state constitutions, I strongly believe that economic considerations play a strong role.

Although many states have prohibited the use of sobriety checkpoints within their borders premised upon fourth amendment considerations against illegal search and seizure, my opinion as to the real motivation behind such prohibitions against sobriety checkpoints differs with such analysis.

From a political perspective, public officials within economically difficult times must be able to cost justify the effective use of the limited taxpayer funding available to local and state governments.

When truly analyzing the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints, I believe other states have not determined the practice cost justified. Although the above referenced figures as to number of drivers checked versus corresponding dui arrests will never easily be forthcoming, I suggest that other state public officials have spoken on the issue by failing to justify the use of this law enforcement practice within their own respective states.

Were considerable numbers of dui arrests able to be produced to pacify public concerns as to the traffic impediments and financial costs of such initiated law enforcement activity, I assert that far more states would be enacting sobriety checkpoints as Hamilton County continues to do unabated by fiscal concerns.

Despite adverse fiscal considerations and adverse traffic obstacles needlessly created by the use of sobriety checkpoints, Hamilton County plods onward in the use of such roadblocks despite public accountability as to their true cost effectiveness.

At the present time Hamilton County motorists must be vigilant in understanding that the continued use of sobriety checkpoints in this county and across the state of Indiana is a realty that must be contended with.  As a result, certain informative checkpoint resources have been made available to assist Hamilton County motorists in becoming aware of potential sobriety checkpoints so as to plan public activities accordingly.

So long as local politicians can suggest that they are tough on crime by the use of these alleged dui fighting tools, public ignorance as to the true lack of financial justification for this continued practice will inevitably be permitted to continue.

Within counties not as adversely effected by economic downturns such as Hamilton County, the use of such checkpoints has become not so much a crime fighting tool to procure dui arrests as it is a symbol of potential deterrence against the practice of drunk driving.

If politicians choose to feel it is not against their political self interest to allocate untold taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources to the cause of producing these relatively ineffective public checkpoint displays meant to put fear into the general public, the practice will continue.

As such, the continued use of these taxpayer funded productions must be recognized not necessarily for their effectiveness in getting actual drunk drivers of the road, but getting the notion of a drunk driving arrest within the heads of all who enjoy alcohol responsibly outside of the home.

If Prosecuted For a Drug or Alcohol Crime Anywhere in Hamilton County, We Know How To Help You.

Within the Indiana code exist valuable statutes for an experienced Noblesville criminal defense lawyer to employ to protect the future prospects of a young adult or child or an otherwise law abiding citizen caught up in a possession of marijuana prosecution or minor alcohol offense. Whether the terminology is called “an agreement to withold prosecution” or “conditional discharge” it is the obligation of your criminal defense attorney in Noblesville to otherwise educate the prosecution and/or judge as to these sentencing options that can keep a criminal conviction off of the client’s record. In my experience as a criminal attorney I have often been surprised at how inexperienced some criminal attorneys and prosecutors are in utlizing these provisions of the Indiana code to a client’s significant benefit.

In taking advantage of the these Indiana drug laws and alcohol crime statutes that can dismiss Indiana marijuana and/or alcohol offenses without the risk of trial, your Hamilton County criminal defense attorney will be in position to preserve one’s employment, driver’s license (minimum 180 day license suspension in Indiana if connection between drug possession/usage and operation of a motor vehicle) and or potential educational scholarships that may otherwise have been lost.

For minor drug or alcohol offenses, (first offense Possession of Marijuana, Public Intoxication, Juvenile/ Under 18 Illegal Possession/Consumption of Alcohol, Disorderly Conduct), there may be valuable options available to the experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney. In such cases all efforts must be made not only to eliminate the prospect of criminal punishment but to seek dismissal of the charges. For one who has never been arrested all efforts must be expended by your defense lawyer to provide such individuals the second chance that Indiana drug and alcohol laws potentially allow if the attorney knows where to look.

How a more serious drug laws prosecution proceeds (Dealing/Possession of Controlled Substance, Prescription Fraud, Dealing/Possession of Marijuana with Prior Conviction(s) is often dependant on several factors; 1.) What court in Hamilton County is the case being prosecuted in? 2.) Will the Indiana drug laws prosecution be filed in state or federal court? 3.) At what stage of the prosecution have I been retained to represent the person(s) accused? 4.) Does the prosecution and/or police need or want my client’s testimony against other co defendants or uncharged suspects?

Where a client is under investigation for a violation of drug laws in Indiana, all steps must be aggresively pursued by a criminal defense lawyer in Noblesville or Hamilton County to steer such a case away from the federal court system. Under federal drug laws, what are called “mandatory minimum sentencing” apply mandating prison time for certain drug crimes. Had these same cases be filed in Hamilton County state court in Noblesville, a criminal defense lawyer could potentially eliminate incarceration altogether depending upon the client’s criminal history. For example, one who mails and/or crosses state lines with the intent to distribute marijuana subjects themselves to possible mandatory imprisonment within federal court, even if no prior criminal history. The same circumstances in state court would allow your Noblesville criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County to employ state drug laws available to potentially suspend the potential for incarceration.

Where many types of drug prosecutions have been decreasing over the years, an emerging focus of Indiana prosecutors statewide is on the prosecution of Prescription Drug Offenses and the Forgery and/or Deception in obtaining such drugs. Prosecutors and law enforcement value such prosecutions for they often target professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, paralegals, etc.) who otherwise would never expect to be the focus of the criminal justice system. Unlike prosecutions directed at the hopeless addict, these prosecutions allow law enforcement potential media attention and the notion that they are being tough across the board on all citizens.

Whether investigated or prosecuted in Hamilton County state court or federal court, one answer is clear; if being investigated or charged with a crime under Indiana drug laws you must contact a Noblesville criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County as soon as possible. In doing so, you will be in the best position to preserve your legal rights, to shape where such a case can potentially be filed and to safeguard favorable options that could otherwise be lost.

Brief Summary of Drug & Alcohol Laws

* Please know the above referenced information is intended to provide you with a brief outline of select drug & alcohol offenses most commonly prosecuted. As there are many more drug and/or alcohol offenses within the Indiana Code, please feel free to call me at any time to discuss your particular case, and any additional laws or penalties that could apply.

The term “enhancement” wherever specified, includes, but are not limited to, cases involving the manufacture of drugs, use of guns, distribution to a minor or one three years one’s junior, conduct within proximity of minor children, prior dealing related conviction, in a “drug free zone,” on or within five hundred feet of a school bus or public park where children can reasonably be expected to be present.

Possession of Marijuana, Public Intoxication, Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Minor Illegal Consumption of Alcohol: Class B Misdemeanor

Zero to One Hundred Eighty Days in county jail. Fine up to one thousand dollars.

Such cases where an individual has no prior arrests and/or criminal convictions may be subject to “Diversion,” “Witheld Prosecution” or “Conditional Discharge” treatment. Such terms are often used interchangeably depending upon the county for case outcome that would allow for charge to be dismissed upon fulfillment of negotiated conditions potentially eligible to first time offenders. Eligibility and conditions determined by policy of individual county prosecutor and negotiations of defense attorney and prosecutor.

Possession of Marijuana for one with a prior conviction, Possession of Controlled Substance with no enhancement: Class A Misdemeanor

Zero to One Year incarceration within applicable county jail facility. Up to one year probation and up to five thousand dollar fine.

Possession of Marijuana with a prior conviction and over 30 grams, dealing under 30 grams with a prior conviction, dealing over 30 grams but less than ten pounds with no prior criminal history, prescription fraud/forgery offenses with no priors, possession narcotic drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine under five grams: Level 6 Felony

Six months to two and one half years imprisonment within Indiana Department of Corrections Prison facility.  Fine as high as ten thousand dollars with term of probation for no greater than 2 and one half years. Probation term of up to two and one half years.

Possession of Narcotics, Methamphetamine, Cocaine more than five grams and less than ten, dealing controlled substance with no enhancements and under one gram, dealing Marijuana over thirty grams and under ten pounds with a previous drug related conviction, dealing Marijuana over ten pounds with no prior, prescription fraud with previous conviction: Level 5 Felony

Minimum of One year to maximum 6 years imprisonment within Indiana Department of Corrections Prison facility. Presumptive three years imprisonment. Fine up to ten thousand dollars with term of probation as high as 8 years. Probation term of up to eight years.

Dealing Controlled Substances greater than one gram less than five grams, dealing below one gram with an enhancement, possession of methamphetamine, cocaine or narcotic drug between ten and eighteen grams with corresponding enhancement upgrade: Level 4 Felony

2 to 12 years Indiana Department of Corrections. Presumptive sentence of 6 years.

Dealing controlled substances over five grams but under ten grams, under 5 grams with enhancement upgrade: Level 3 Felony

3 to 16 years imprisonment Indiana Department of Corrections. Presumptive term of incarceration of 9 years.

Dealing controlled substances over 5 grams and below 10 for one with an enhancement, dealing controlled substance over ten grams with no enhancement: Level 2 Felony

10 to 30 years imprisonment Indiana Department of Corrections. Presumptive term of incarceration of seventeen and one half years

Most individuals subject to an arrest of any kind instinctively assess the circumstances behind their ultimate apprehension and prosecution. We as human beings initially scrutinize our own conduct so as to get an internal accounting as to our own moral and/or legal culpability for any potential wrongful conduct. Once we are able to recognize the wrongdoing for which we are being held accountable we can legally take action with which to protect our best interests. Through the aid of defense counsel, individuals who are able to initially comprehend the nature of their own wrongdoing are most concerned that they are legally protected from criminal punishment to the greatest extent possible.

However, a far greater quandary inevitably exists for those who either do not understand the allegations of wrongdoing against them or acknowledge their misconduct but do not believe that their unlawful actions can be proven against them within a court of law. It is within these circumstances where a defense attorney’s assistance can be of invaluable aid in preventing a course of legal maneuvering that proves counterproductive to a client’s liberty.

So many defense lawyers are customarily fixated on appealing to a potential client’s wallet at the expense of a thorough and reasoned discussion as to the repercussions of any course of legal action within a courtroom prosecution. Lawyers are too frequently afraid of initially spelling out the risks of challenging criminal accusations with a potential client for fear that the individual will view such a stance as weak or an indication that the lawyer does not truly believe in the individual’s legal defense claims.

Nothing could be further from the truth in terms of what is imperative to discuss with a potential client at the outset of one’s potential legal defense. Psychologically, defense lawyers must often contend with the reality that one who has been accused of a crime might truly not know within their own mind as to whether legal culpability may exist in reflecting upon their own actions within a given circumstance.

In such situations, as in all beginning dialogues with one in need of legal defense assistance, a lawyer must establish a sense of trust among those he or she will be representing. Only through an initial consultation as to the accusations and legal burden of proof that a prosecutor must meet in order to legally establish all of the “elements” of a given crime can an accused individual take stock as to their legal standing. Only then can a reasoned and comprehensive strategy be planned in which a trial will be pursued or pre trial negotiations to resolve a case without risk of trial will be preferred.

Where claims of innocence are asserted those claims must be respected and aggressively fought for. However, a lawyer’s financial considerations in recommending trial cannot be permitted to trump a client’s firm understanding of the legal burden that a prosecutor must meet to secure a criminal conviction. Only then can one’s claims of innocence or misunderstanding as to whether their actions are legally considered a crime be knowingly waived in favor of trial vindication.

Many people commonly assert their ignorance of a law they have been accused of breaking. Quite reasonably such individuals understandably wish for a defense to be promoted that recognizes a misunderstanding of law and excuses the fact that their actions in any way constituted a crime. As a means by which to get criminal accusations they may be facing dismissed, such individuals justifiably seek a lawyer’s counsel in putting forth a defense that no longer subjects them to criminal prosecution based upon this, “ignorance of law.”

While in limited circumstances one must possess the, “specific intent” by which to commit a certain crime enunciated by state law to be found legally guilty, (ex. murder), for the vast majority of criminal offenses the specific intent to commit a crime is not required to be found guilty of a criminal offense. Many have heard the term in one form or another that, “ignorance of the law is no defense,” and in many respects such layman’s assertions have a base in fact.

As such, individuals accused of crimes must be informed as to the distinction between the specific intent and general intent criminal accusations. While specific intent prosecutions focus upon very case specific facts that a prosecutor must prove to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused individual intended for the very result of a crime he or she perpetrated, the majority of crimes lawyers will consult with focus upon the commission of general intent prosecutions.

General intent prosecutions do not require that a prosecutor prove that an accused individual intended for a specific result to occur. Further, a prosecutor does not even need to prove that an accused individual knew that a law existed that rendered one’s conduct unlawful. Rather, a prosecutor only needs to prove within such general intent prosecutions that an individual engaged in conduct deemed unlawful either “knowingly” or recklessly.” The result of such legal analysis is that it will be considered legally inconsequential that a client is passionate in communicating that he or she did not know that their accused criminal wrongdoing was considered a criminal offense.

In recent months this dialogue has become more and more prevalent in regard to the changing landscape of Marijuana statutes throughout the country. Although, one state’s criminal code may have since adapted a policy view that has either legalized or decriminalized the use of Marijuana, one state’s legal statutes are not valid within another state jurisdiction.

For example, a valid medical marijuana prescription issued within the State of California will not be recognized within Indiana. Not only will such a license not be recognized in Indiana but such an admission that one has voluntarily transported, sold and/or possessed Marijuana will subject the individual to criminal prosecution within this state’s borders. As stated previously, ignorance of Indiana’s criminal statutes will not serve as a legal defense within this type of general intent crime prosecution.

I myself have been frustrated at the lack of prosecutorial discretion often applied in reference to these types of cases. However, non withstanding my own personal feelings in reference to a specific fact pattern targeted through a filed criminal accusation,  a client must be made aware as to their potential legal culpability within a given case irrespective of the seeming irrationality behind filed criminal charges.

Recently I was put in the unenviable position of having to communicate with a client I had commiserated with who was traveling though the State of Indiana from Kansas. Due to the commission of a traffic violation within Indiana, events unfolded whereby my client had voluntarily disclosed to the investigating officer that he possessed a legal firearm within his vehicle. Although his concealed carry permit allowed him to travel with the firearm within his vehicle and on his person within the state of Kansas, (and potentially other states), criminal statutes within Indiana prohibit such possession, irrespective of an individual’s reasoned subjective belief that he had the lawful basis upon which to transport his firearm within his registered motor vehicle.

Such real world circumstances are but a couple among countless fact patterns that often confound even the most educated legal observers in regard to legal culpability in the commission of crime. As a result, a fundamental understanding as to what a crime is will often be dependent upon the state jurisdiction one has been prosecuted within.

Where a criminal offense has been universally recognized as a criminal offense no matter the state jurisdiction, lawyer and client must thoroughly analyze the legal elements that must be proven to sustain a criminal conviction. However, even in circumstances of universally accepted crimes codified within all state’s criminal statutes; the elements that a prosecutor must prove to establish commission of such a crime can very well differ.

As can be seen from the time one assesses their own culpability for alleged criminal wrongdoing, so many divergent factors and circumstances can come into play in determining the final objectives of a competent legal defense. Only after a confidential and open communication touching upon and and all circumstances related to one’s criminal defense can lawyer and client adequately come to the most complete understanding as to the manner in which one’s legal defense should be best conducted.

In the ever emerging modifications to Indiana’s legislative traffic code, a few notable updates have been put forth as of July 1 of this year. Although they bear upon traffic enforcement outside the realm of criminal procedure, they are significant nonetheless due to their prospect to allow police to legally stop vehicles within Hamilton County.

Whereas many drivers could formerly only scoff at the imposition on our public roadways of the proverbial, “Left Lane Cruiser,” impeding the flow of traffic within a passing lane, now such drivers will be subject to enforceable fines for their slow rate of travel.

While customarily the general public scoffs at the left lane cruiser as one presumed to be elderly or a novice driver, I can speak with personal experience that law enforcement is trained to look upon such motorists differently. To traffic cops within Hamilton County those both driving slowly and in an incorrect lane of travel (the passing lane) have more often than not been the focus of impaired driving observation.

Prior to July 1, police officers would need to wait until an actionable traffic violation was committed to stop and question the motorist impeding travel within a passing lane. Now this new legislative enforcement mechanism has given police officers yet another actionable tool with which to more acutely investigate and scrutinize potential driver impairment.

Similarly, young drivers within Hamilton County and throughout the state will soon become even more targeted by traffic enforcement due to the enactment of new mobile device restrictions.

As of July 1, motorists under the age of twenty one will no longer be able to utilize bluetooth or hands free devices of any kind when driving a motor vehicle. The only exception to these new restrictions may occur where a demonstrated emergency necessitating a call to 911 can be documented.

Taking restrictions on youth driving a step further, these new legislative enactments now prohibit a driver under the age of twenty one from transporting any individual under the age of twenty five within their vehicles within the first 6 months of issuance of their drivers license.

BMV spokesman have suggested that these legislative modifications have been enacted to meet the challenge of curbing unsafe driving by youths who are either inexperienced drivers and/or have a greater tendency to be distracted by the use of mobile devices and texting while driving. (The research with which to substantiate such new laws usually lends itself to the conclusion that such age enactments are completely arbitrary)

Some have suggested to me that I tend to be overly conspiratorial in my analysis of such new legislation. While it may be true that these new legal pronouncements have been enacted simply to allow for a more efficient flow of traffic within Hamilton County, I cannot help but think that either a true intended or unintended consequence benefiting owi enforcement behind such legislative action is always at the forefront of such changes to our traffic code.

Liberty from police observation and potential detention of motor vehicles is simply not an actionable priority of state legislators. How often do we as citizens listen to politicians spout platitudes expressing the need to preserve and restore fundamental principals of freedom from governmental intrusion that our founding fathers had intended. However, when elected, new legal changes rarely, if ever, underscore such principals.

Rather, we as citizens within Hamilton County or throughout the state must recognize that each new legislative session is bound to put forth new changes and restrictions to our legal codes that will inevitably further erode our individual liberties under the stated motivation of protecting the public well being. As such, it is imperative to become aware of these new restrictions on driving not only to save ourselves the excess financial penalties of these new driving infractions, but to prevent the far more intrusive detention that can unwittingly result in criminal arrest.

The Indiana Supreme Court this week has refused to accept consideration of the appeal of convicted former Indianapolis police officer David Bisard. Bisard amidst great notoriety was convicted of dui causing the death of a motorcycle rider within Marion county. The Supreme Court’s denial to hear further legal claims within his case effectively affirms the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that had formerly affirmed Bisard’s trial court conviction.

As I have written in many forums throughout the pendency of this legal dispute, there have been few criminal cases within recent memory that I can recall in Indiana that have had so many divergent avenues to explore; both legal as well as political.

Initial outcry within the course of events that has ultimately lead to Bisard’s prison commitment revolve around the Marion County prosecutor’s initial decision not to charge Bisard with dui causing death, but merely Reckless Driving related offenses. Such remaining charges would therefore have subjected the former police officer to far less potential criminal sanction.

Those within the administration of former Prosecutor Carl Brizzi asserted their argument that former codified legal statutes in Indiana did not allow for the admissibility of the alcohol test result of Bisard taken after the accident. Whether such determination was a politically expedient rationale by which to avoid offending local police unions and its membership or a courageous principled determination based strictly on interpretation of law will never be fully uncovered. However, the harsh reality of the prosecutorial inaction was an impression that a wide scale cover up to benefit the criminal conduct of a local police officer had been initiated.

As the legal proceedings continued, the case became a political centerpiece of the following election for prosecutor whereby Carl Brizzi was defeated by Terry Curry. (As a side note David Wyser, a former Chief Deputy for Carl Brizzi would later run for election for Hamilton County Prosecutor where he had to eventually remove himself from consideration due to a modification of sentence scandal that involved alleged payments toward Wyser’s campaign)

Curry vowed to re examine and attempt to reverse the Brizzi administration’s actions that exposed Bisard to far less criminal punishment than the victim’s family had demanded. Toward this objective Curry initiated an appeal of the ruling of Marion County Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins’ decision to utilize a strict interpretation of Indiana statute to suppress evidence of Bisard’s alleged alcohol test results at the time of the fatal accident.

It is from this point on that I have submitted that political considerations had served to trump a reasoned and courageous decision by Judge Hawkins on the issue. Had it not been for the media attention and campaign resources devoted to the seeming injustice of a police officer being given special consideration, I believe Curry may never have initiated such an appeal of the trial court ruling.

Without delving into the legal minutia of the case that I have written of elsewhere, Judge Hawkins’ ruling would customarily be one conservative legal analysts would be proud of. Hawkins’ was not willing to speculate and make his own determination as to who was authorized by Indiana legal statute to draw blood pursuant to allowing for such potential evidence to be admissible within an Indiana court of law.

Based upon a strict interpretation of statute the individual who drew Bisard’s blood was simply not prescribed to due so toward the later admissibility for use as legal evidence. Nonetheless, Curry’s actions to seek reversal of the ruling and the Indiana Court of Appeal’s order to overturn Hawkins’ decision may have curried favor among the general public, but in my view struck a dangerous blow toward allowing judicial officials to impose their own views on the law when politically expedient.

In point of fact justice may very well have been done in insuring that David Bisard received the criminal sanction deserved for the crime committed. However, when public opinion is permitted to intervene in substituting judicial opinions for those of the state legislature, the soundness and respect for Indiana’s legal precedent carries the prospect of becoming dangerously compromised.

Driving under the influence of alcohol isn’t the only way be charged with an OWI.  Under state law, driving under the influence of certain other enumerated controlled substances will also lead to a DUI charge. In fact, not only are criminal ramifications severe for the association of drugs and use of a motor vehicle, but license suspensions can be more restrictive as well.

Whenever a “nexus” or connection is proven between the use of a motor vehicle and the ingestion of a controlled substance, a minimum license suspension of six months is to be imposed both at the present time as well as with the enactment of new laws at the start of 2015. Unlike the future reduction for alcohol dui from anywhere between a zero day to two year license suspension, the six month minimum will remain intact when applied toward owi/controlled substance allegations.

Recently, the case of a woman arrested this fall in Indiana illustrates the severity that exists when allegations of drug usage are applied to alleged impaired operating activity and the extent to which all states are prioritizing punishments when evidence of drug use exists within the context of an owi investigation.  While in Florida, the woman was allegedly driving while high on cocaine when she hit an 82-year old man.  The man was killed, and law enforcement eventually caught up with the woman in Indiana.  She now faces charges of causing a death while operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance.

Controlled substance violations are classified under Indiana statutes depending upon the specific drug that has been uncovered. Based upon this classification potential punishments are assessed in accordance with applicable state statutes.

Schedule I controlled substances include a range of opiates and opiate derivatives, such as codeine, heroin, and morphine.  Hallucinogenic substances like marijuana, mescaline, LSD,  (psychedelic mushrooms) are also listed on Schedule I.  The same is true of depressants GHB and mecloqualone, and certain lesser known stimulants.

Schedule II controlled substances also include opium and opiate derivatives, such as raw opium, codeine, methadone, and morphine, but also ones that don’t appear on Schedule I, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone (oxycontin), cocaine, opium poppy, and fentanyl. Schedule II stimulants are more commonly known and widespread, and include both amphetamine and methamphetamine.  Schedule II depressants and hallucinogenic substances are of the more obscure variety, with the exception of phencyclidine (PCP).

In regard to the above referenced woman who became a fugitive of Florida legal authorities, her legal fate will now rest in accord with Florida legal statutes on the issue.

While driving under the influence of cocaine, the woman is alleged to have caused the death of the 82-year-old man.  While I cannot speak to the potential punishment this woman is facing under applicable Florida law that undoubtedly differ from those in Indiana (Florida law governs because that is where the alleged crime occurred no matter what state an individual is ultimately apprehended within) the fact that the woman fled to Indiana rather than face the consequences in Florida will certainly not help her case.

The lesson to be learned is that not only are owi allegations able to be substantiated by virtue of drug ingestion alone, but that the potential legal ramifications may often prove to be more severe than had the allegations dealt with the use of alcohol alone. This I am confident will prove to be the case in Florida as in Indiana and all other states that address these issues within a criminal court of law.

Hamilton County is not like other Indiana counties when it comes to DUI defense. Those in the know will tell you that Hamilton County has its own unique rules and policies that must be followed in order to secure the best defense possible.

Far too frequently, I have had to take over the legal defense of a client who had retained an out of county attorney for their Hamilton County legal defense. Unfortunately, such a lawyer will apply the practice of their own county to a Hamilton County case, much to the detriment of a client who deserves better.

I would strongly encourage review of my page on Avoiding Bad Lawyers to avoid become a victim of a lawyer not equipped to effectively handle the legal defense of you or one you care for.

Hamilton County is known as one of the most difficult on DUI case sentences in the state of Indiana. A familiarity with the views of each of the three superior court judges in Noblesville is critical to achieving successful results. With over 25 years of experience in Hamilton County I know what steps to take and when to take them in order to put my clients in the best position to succeed.

There is nothing inherently wrong about a lawyer taking on cases directed against a client who has been charged with an offense not customarily within his territory of practice. In fact, a significant number of my legal cases involve the defense of prosecutions outside of Hamilton County.

However, a significant problem arises when an attorney’s inexperience within a particular county court results in a client being potentially being taken advantage of. As many unfortunate people have learned over the years, Hamilton County is not always one that follows the norm in regard to how defense cases are handled.

Whether it be in regard to case procedure, pre conditions to allowing certain case outcomes or judicial philosophy as to appropriate sentences within criminal cases, as an attorney with over 25 years practicing within Hamilton County, I am uniquely positioned to navigate this county’s unique standards to a client’s advantage.

Conversely, a failure to understand how to best use the procedural process here to a client’s benefit can limit potential alternatives otherwise available. Unfortunately, in most such instances of lawyer inexperience, the legal remedy most often chosen by an attorney is to file what is called a “Withdrawal” of appearance on the client’s behalf. In effect such a legal filing asks the presiding judge to relieve the attorney of further responsibility within a given criminal case. Although the lawyer may be permitted to exit a case, the client who had entrusted faith in that individual attorney is left to scramble for suitable counsel to rectify a potentially weakened criminal defense.

Of particular anguish are those cases where sufficient time has elapsed whereby the presiding judge will not allow an attorney to withdraw his or her appearance on a client’s behalf. It is then that the person charged is left to find competent legal counsel on short legal notice willing to take over representation of a case where legal remedies otherwise available may have been compromised.

On many such occurrences financial considerations in securing alternative counsel can prevent the retention of successor counsel; or counsel mindful of preserving a good reputation may be unwilling to defend one whose chance of success has been reduced by the work of the former out of county legal counsel.

Mindful of such realities I would suggest in no uncertain terms that one charged with a criminal offense in Hamilton County thoroughly vet the knowledge and experience level of a lawyer they may be considering; not only as to experience in defending criminal prosecutions, but just as importantly knowing how to best defend the legal interests of those charged within a Hamilton County criminal courtroom.

Hamilton County Court Procedure

The Hamilton County criminal court system has its county seat in Noblesville, Indiana. The legal significance of this location is that most all felony and misdemeanor cases are heard within the County Courthouse in Noblesville. Carmel City Court, located in Carmel Indiana, is a criminal court enabled to hear misdemeanor cases only. However, at the present time, all criminal case filings other than non dui traffic offenses are heard within one of the Superior Courts in Noblesville. As a result, whether a criminal offense you have been accused of occurred in Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Sheridan or Noblesville, your case (other than a misdmeanor traffic offense) will be heard within one of the County Superior Courts in Noblesville.

Just as the court system in Hamilton County is centered in Noblesville, the County prosecutor is as well. No matter whether the investigative police agency is located in Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, etc. all criminal cases are ultimately brought to the prosecutor’s office in Noblesville for review.

If the criminal offense charged is a felony, the accused would need to appear for the Initial Hearing whether one has retained an attorney or not. At this Initial Hearing held for all felony prosecutions, the Defendant is to be advised of the criminal charges, the Defendant’s address is confirmed, bail and/or the conditions of pre trial release is discussed and the identity of legal counsel is put on record. Thereafter, the case would be re assigned to a different, randomly assigned superior court for what is called a “Pre Trial Conference.”

Once again, depending upon the court the case has been assigned to, the experienced attorney will know to advise a client as to whether a future appearance will be required. This Pre Trial Conference is most notably assigned to address “discovery” issues. These issues can include deadlines for the prosecution to disclose information to the defense attorney including proposals that may be able to resolve a case favorably prior to trial.

Unlike other counties in Indiana, in Hamilton County criminal cases cannot usually be concluded at a pre trial conference even when an agreement has been reached. In most cases courts here require for case settlements on either a pre determined guilty plea hearing or on occasion on a “bench” trial date for a misdemeanor case where a jury is not present.

Depending upon the court assigned to, some judges are reluctant to relinquish control over a Defendant’s sentence to another county. This is particularly so in cases where a defense or dui attorney in Noblesville or Carmel may otherwise arrange alternative sentencing options for people residing in another county or state. As a result your criminal defense attorney must have the experience necessary to fashion options that require any probation terms to be fulfilled outside of the county where warranted and in cases unable to be dismissed without trial.

The reputation of Hamilton County Indiana as one that is less lenient when it comes to criminal sentencing options is often well founded. How one secures the most favorable outcome often depends on the defense attorney’s knowledge of local court procedure, judicial philosophy of the judge assigned to your case and a working relationship with the prosecutors within Hamilton County.