Criminal Defense FAQs

The police want to speak with me. Should I?

NO! Anything you say can and will be used against you.  If any law enforcement officer invites you to come to the police station to give a statement, IMMEDIATELY ASK TO CALL AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY!

If a police officer requests to search my vehicle, should I consent? 

No. You are not required to consent to a search. There is no reason why you be further delayed to completing your destination. However, if a police officer advises that they smelled or saw, in plain view, what appears to be illicit drugs, the police officer may search your vehicle.  If a police officer conducts a drug dog sniff and the drug dog alerts, the police officer may search your vehicle.

How can I be arrested and held for a crime based upon another person’s word?

The short answer is probable cause.  Basically, would an ordinarily prudent person believe a crime was committed? Under some circumstances, an arrest warrant is not required. Most of the time, a judge or magistrate must review an affidavit for probable cause to determine if probable cause has been established before an arrest warrant is issued.  

The important point is that AN ARREST IS NOT A CONVICTION.  A person may only be convicted of a crime if  (1) they agree they are guilty or (2) a judge or jury finds the government established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why is my bond so high?

Many people ask, ‘I thought I was innocent until proven guilty?”  That is most certainly true.  However, once the government establishes probable cause to justify an arrest, that person is subject to the jurisdiction of the court.  A court is required (except for Murder or Treason) to set a reasonable bond.  The court has discretion in setting the amount of the bond and will be reversed by an appellate court only upon the showing an ABUSE of its discretion. 

Bail may not be set higher than that amount reasonably required to assure the defendant’s appearance in court or to assure the physical safety of another person or the community if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a risk to the physical safety of another person or the community.

The alleged victin (complaining witness) does not want to press charges but the prosecutor will not dismiss the pending charge(s). Why?

The county prosecuting attorney is responsible for prosecuting alleged crimes on behalf of the State of Indiana.  When criminal charges are filed, the case caption will read:  State of Indiana vs. John Doe.  It will not read Jane Doe vs. John Doe.  The prosecutor possesses the authority and discretion as to whether or not to dismiss a pending charge.

The person who accused me told me they lied or that they did not accuse me (i.e. the officer got the report wrong), but the prosecutor still will not dismiss the case against me. Why?

Once probable cause has been established, you are entitled to a trial.  The prosecutor is not required to dismiss a pending case just because the alleged victim/complaining witness submitted a letter or told you something different. However, if you believe a complaining witness has recanted his/her accusation or disputes the officer’s case report, you must tell your attorney immediately. You and your attorney may then make the decision as to how to approach the prosecutor or if you should take the deposition of the complaining witness.  

Will the prosecutor give me three plea offers?

I do not know the origination of this belief by many accused.  Under the law, the government is not required to offer any plea bargains/offers.  With that said, at times we are able to negotiate various plea offers through the course of the case.  However, the government is not obligated to change or alter any plea offer.

Why did someone else got a better plea offer or a lower bond?

This is a fair question. Many times the accused hears about another accused who is charged with a same or similar criminal offense of getting a better plea offer or a lower bond. While this may be a valid argument to be asserted to the prosecutor or judge, it rarely carries much weight. Oftentimes, the accused that received more favorable treatment may be because their criminal record is better, the evidence in their case is weaker or they may be cooperating with law enforcement/prosecuting attorney on another case.  

Why didn’t the police officer read me my miranda rights when they arrested me?

The police are required to advise you of your miranda rights before they question you while you are in custody.  If the police arrest you, but do not ask you any questions, they are not required to read you your miranda rights.

Should I submit to field sobriety tests (roadside tests)?

Under Indiana state law, you are NOT required to submit to field sobriety tests if a police officer suspects you have Operated a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OWI/DUI).  Field Sobriety Tests include the following:  

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (follow pen with eyes);
  2. 9 Step Walk and Turn;
  3. One-leg Stand;
  4. Backward Count;
  5. Romberg Balance Test;
  6. Recitation of Alphabet; 
  7. Finger-to-nose; 
  8. Finger Dexterity Test; or 
  9. Roadside Portable Breath Test (this does not include the breath testing device at the police station or sheriff’s department).

Only tests 1-3 have had any studies to show they have any correlation to alcohol and the human body.  There have been zero studies to show that any of these tests help police officers to determine if the test subject has used any legal or illegal drug.

Should I submit to a chemical test (breath, urine or blood)?

The short answer is YES.  If a police officer advises you that they have probable cause to believe you have operated a vehicle or boat while intoxicated and requests you to submit to a chemical test, you are required to submit to the chemical test. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your driving privileges will be administratively suspended. Further, the police officer may seek a warrant whereby you will be required to submit to a chemical test.  If a warrant is obtained, the police officer will take you to the local hospital or other appropriate facility to have your blood drawn according to the statutory requirements.

I was arrested for drunk driving; why is the court requiring me to have the ignition interlock device (“blow machine”) in my vehicle if my driver’s license is suspended?

In LaPorte County, the courts require you to have the Ignition Interlock Device equipped in your vehicle (as a condition of bond) if you:

  1. Are charged with felony Operating While Intoxicated;
  2. Allegedly refused a chemical test; or
  3. Tested 0.20% alcohol concentration equivalent or greater.

What are my rights if i’m accused of violating my probation?

If a person is serving on probation, that means the person has already been convicted of a criminal offense.  Therefore, the person does not enjoy the same constitutional protections afforded to defendants prior to a criminal conviction.  However, if you are alleged to have violated your probation, you do enjoy the following rights:  

Written notice of the claimed violations;

Disclosure of the evidence against me;

An opportunity to be heard and present evidence;

The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses;

A neutral and detached hearing body;

The right to an evidentiary hearing whereby the State of Indiana would be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that I violated my terms and conditions of probation;

In the event hearsay is used against me, that the State demonstrate good cause for utilizing the hearsay, i.e., the hearsay bears substantial guarantees of trustworthiness; and,

The right to the assistance of counsel.