Indiana deputy prosecutors vigorously prosecute both serious and minor crimes.
It doesn’t matter if you are wrongly accused or simply made a mistake – the prosecutor will be focused on securing a conviction.
It is, therefore, the role of a skilled and proficient Indianapolis criminal defense attorney to analyze the evidence, evaluate the potential outcomes, and use every tool in his or her arsenal to advocate for you.
Indiana Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Clients Accused of Misdemeanors and Felonies
Your criminal defense lawyer is on your side, not the prosecutor.
By choosing the right defense attorney, you can present an intelligent defense, fight to maintain your innocence, adeptly negotiate with the prosecutor, or make cogent arguments about ethical or constitutional violations.
Eskew Law LLC has provided clients located throughout Indiana with compassionate advice and guidance, creative and innovative defense strategies, and an unrivaled dedication to justice.
If you were arrested for a crime in
- or any local Indiana city
Eskew Law LLC can assist you with fighting the charges.
To discuss your case with a reputable Indianapolis criminal lawyer, call Eskew Law LLC at (317) 316-3237.
Overview of Indiana Criminal Law
The Indiana General Assembly is responsible for enacting all criminal laws for the state of Indiana in Title 35 of the Indiana Code.
Title 35 defines various offenses, differentiates between misdemeanors and felonies, recognizes certain defenses, enumerates aggravating factors and sentencing enhancement factors, and provides sentencing ranges for crimes.
In addition, the Indiana court system also plays an active role in interpreting the law. Judges are tasked with expounding on the law by further explaining the elements of an offense or when certain defenses are available.
In layman’s terms, a crime is an action that is forbidden by the law. Crimes in Indiana are divided into misdemeanors and felonies, and these groupings are further broken up into classes.
The potential sentencing range is dictated by whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony and what class it falls under.
Indiana Misdemeanors Overview
Misdemeanors are less serious and often minor offenses that face up to one year in county jail. There are three classes of misdemeanors.
- Class A Misdemeanors: Up to one year in county jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- Class B Misdemeanors: Up to 180 days in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines
- Class C Misdemeanors: Up to 60 days in county jail and up to $500 in fines
Indiana Felonies Overview
Felonies are severe offenses that are often associated with serious physical, emotional, or financial injury to a complainant. Felonies face anywhere from six months to life in state prison or even the death penalty.
- Murder: 45 years to 65 years. The state may be able to try for life in state prison without parole or the death penalty and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 1 Felony: 20 to 40 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 30 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 2 Felony: 10 to 30 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 17.5 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 3 Felony: 3 to 16 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 9 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 4 Felony: 2 to 12 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 6 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 5 Felony: 1 to 6 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 3 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 6 Felony: 6 months to 2.5 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 1 year and up to $10,000 in fines
Indianapolis Felony Lawyers Working on a Variety of Crimes
Felony criminal charges are aggressively enforced and prosecuted at every stage of the process. A felony conviction will change a person’s life for years and decades to come.
Indianapolis felonies attorney Chris Eskew provides experienced representation based on the hundreds of cases he has taken to trial. At Eskew Law LLC, we understand the impact a felony charge or conviction can have on your life, and we provide thorough preparation, personalized attention and a unique approach to each case based on the facts, the evidence and your individual situation.
Felony Criminal Defense Built Around You
It is this simple: if you live in Central Indiana and have been charged with a felony then you need a reliable criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis, IN. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, you need someone on your side who can work to get the charges or sentence reduced, protect you against over-aggressive prosecution, and work to minimize the long term damage a felony causes.
Felony cases demand experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel who understand how to negotiate with prosecutors, evaluate evidence, thoroughly prepare a case and argue effectively in front of a judge and jury. Indianapolis felonies lawyer Chris Eskew can put an extensive career of criminal defense behind your case.
The maximum sentences, mandatory minimums, and sentencing ranges are all outlined in the Indiana Code.
However, judges often times have leeway to impose other sentences. These include reduced county jail or state prison sentences. In addition, there are other penalties that do not involve incarceration.
- Probation: Each county has its own probation department that supervises adults and juveniles who are ordered to participate in probation. For example, Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis has a large probation department. Probation is supervision in lieu of incarceration. After you are sentenced, a probation officer will be assigned to you. You will be released but must adhere to conditions set forth by the judge and your probation officer. These conditions may include fines and fees, drug testing, home visits, maintaining employment, weekly meetings, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, staying away from the complainant, and counseling or therapy. If you successfully complete probation, your case will be closed. However, if you fail to meet all of the conditions, you may have jail or prison time hanging over your head.
- Alternative sentences: Judges, especially with misdemeanors, can get creative with sentences. These sentences can be similar to probation without the oversight of a probation officer. For example, you could be ordered to complete community service, pay a fine, or suffer administrative consequences such as suspension of your driver’s license for a DUI conviction.
- Community Corrections sentences: Some crimes allow for the possibility to serve your executed time in the county community corrections programs. These programs include work release and home detention. You are able to earn the same jail credit serving these sentences as you would in prison or in a jail.
Even if you are sentenced to incarceration, you may receive “good time credit.”
You may also be released early on parole. Parole is similar to probation in that you will be assigned to a parole officer for a certain number of months or years and will be required to follow certain conditions.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney
When you are facing serious penalties for a misdemeanor or felony offense in Indiana, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance from an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer who is competent in the courtroom, proficient at negotiation, and skilled at thinking outside the box.
After an arrest, your first thought may be to hire the first or cheapest Indianapolis law firm you find. This decision is too important to make emotionally.
You need someone who is smart and able to fully analyze and evaluate cases.
You need someone like Chris Eskew, Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney.
With years of defending, not prosecuting, Indiana clients, Eskew Law LLC understands that the most important part of representing someone accused of a crime is strategy and experience.
Thinking intelligently and with your goals always in mind allows our firm to make smart decisions that reflect your personal priorities.
Entrust Your Future in the Hands of a Skilled Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
To schedule a consultation with Eskew Law LLC, contact us today.
During your initial consultation, our experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys will review your arrest, explain the law, discuss your options, and begin formulating a strategy to defend against the charges.
We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana.
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
Criminal defense attorneys (private and court-appointed) research the facts, investigate the case against their clients, and try to negotiate deals with their adversaries (prosecutors). These deals might include reduced bail, reduced charges, and reduced sentences. Because of a number of factors—political and public pressure, overcrowded jails, overloaded court calendars—deal-making has grown in importance and has become an essential element in unclogging the criminal justice system.
Criminal defense attorneys also examine witnesses, help formulate a plea, analyze the prosecutor’s case, assess the potential sentences (and the likelihood of a particular judge awarding such a sentence), review search and seizure procedures, question witnesses, and gather evidence. Defense counsel can also advise on potential immigration consequences or other consequences of a plea, conviction, or criminal record.
Defense counsel also provide more personal services by giving the defendant a reality check as to the possible outcomes and by helping the defendant to deal with the frustrations and fears resulting from being thrown into the criminal justice system. And of course, if no plea deal can be made, the defense lawyer represents the defendant at trial.
Cost of Legal Representation
A huge factor when it comes to legal representation is the defendant’s financial status and whether the defendant can afford private counsel.
Private criminal defense attorneys charge either on an hourly basis (expect to pay $150 an hour or higher) or by a fixed or set fee. They are prohibited from charging contingency fees, which are payments that depend on the outcome of the case. If the defendant is indigent (cannot afford private counsel), the court may appoint a government-paid public defender or panel attorney.
Some—but not many—folks have enough money so that paying for a lawyer isn’t a financial strain. But arranging for legal representation often isn’t as straightforward for those who fall in between these groups of people.
The bottom line for judges is that the right to free (government-paid) defense counsel generally kicks in whenever an indigent defendant faces a jail or prison sentence. If there is no possibility of incarceration—for example, a judge states on the record that she will not sentence the defendant to jail time—then the defendant might not be entitled to free counsel (depending on state law).
Note that the right to free representation does not mean a right to the lawyer of choice. A defendant who’s been appointed counsel normally doesn’t get to pick and choose in the way that a paying defendant does.
Is a Private Attorney Better Than a Court-Appointed Attorney?
Defendants sometimes believe that private attorneys possess a distinct advantage over the overworked public defender’s office or panel attorneys who are paid a minimum fee. But do private attorneys provide better representation than court-appointed government-paid defense counsel?
Many private attorneys are former prosecutors or public defenders. Based on studies that evaluate the outcomes of having a private versus court-appointed attorney, data seems to indicate that the results for defendants are often the same. For example, one study indicated that defendants represented by private counsel and public defenders fared similarly in conviction rates and sentencing (although those represented by panel attorneys fared worse). Such statistical evidence is not always reliable or clear because of complicating factors. For instance, clients represented by private counsel often have short or no prior criminal records, while indigent defendants are twice as likely to be repeat offenders. What is also unclear—and what creates one of the biggest uncertainties of the criminal justice system—is whether private attorneys can negotiate better plea deals than court-appointed counsel.
Ultimately, the experience, skills, and commitment of the particular attorney at hand—regardless of whether he or she is a public defender, panel attorney, or private lawyer—are the best indicator of the quality of the representation.
Self-Representation (Pro se)
What is clear is that being represented by a lawyer is almost always the best option. Nevertheless, some criminal defendants represent themselves. The decision of whether a defendant can self-represent is ultimately made by the judge, not the defendant. The judge is required to determine the defendant’s competency. That’s because a defendant who cannot provide a competent defense cannot get a fair shake, even if the defendant is adamant about not accepting the services of a court-appointed attorney. When determining whether a defendant can go pro se, a judge will consider factors such as:
the seriousness of the crime
the defendant’s language skills and education
whether the defendant understands the nature of the proceedings, and
whether the defendant is knowingly giving up his right to counsel.
What does a criminal defense lawyer do?
Criminal defense lawyers are responsible for representing clients who are being charged with a crime. In addition to representing you in court or negotiations, they typically perform a range of duties, such as investigating the circumstances surrounding the case and analyzing the evidence, educating you about your options and developments on your case, enlisting the help of expert witnesses to strengthen your case, and more. Generally speaking, they are there to help you achieve the best possible outcome, using their resources and knowledge.
Criminal defense lawyers represent cases such as:
- Driving on a suspended license
- Drug charges
- Domestic violence
- Traffic violations
- Violent crimes
- Weapons charges
- Sex crimes
How do I know if I need a criminal defense lawyer?
If you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation by law enforcement, you need a criminal defense lawyer. No matter how minor the crime, the consequences you could be facing can have a lasting impact—from disqualifying you from jobs to restricting your freedoms. Having an attorney on your side can protect you throughout the process and help you achieve the best possible outcome. So, if you are charged with a crime, you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?
The cost of criminal defense attorneys varies significantly from case-to-case and lawyer-to-lawyer. This is because certain cases may require more time and resources. Criminal defense lawyers may also charge differently based on their expertise, location, and firm’s fee structure. Based on the intensive legal help required for criminal cases, your priority should be finding a reputable defense lawyer with a proven record, even if they cost more.
That said, Consumer Law Group believes that high-quality legal help should be more accessible, which is why we offer free consultations and strive to make our fees affordable.
How do I find a good criminal defense attorney in Illinois?
Finding a criminal defense lawyer is not a task that should be taken lightly. When searching for a criminal defense attorney in Illinois, you should prioritize the following factors:
- Focus area: Is criminal defense one of their focus areas? How long have they been practicing criminal law?
- Their reputation: Do they have positive reviews from past clients and colleagues?
- Their success rate: Do they have a history of helping clients achieve favorable outcomes?
- Communication: Are they responsive? Do they communicate clearly and listen to your point of view?
- Experience: How many years have they been in practice? How long have they been representing cases like yours?
- Location: Can you commute to their office easily? Will collaborating with them in person be possible?
The last thing you want to do is settle when it comes to your defense. Our criminal defense attorneys in Chicago are knowledgeable, have established proven defense strategies, and are dedicated to serving our clients’ best interests.
What are the 4 categories of criminal defenses?
There are a variety of defense strategies that a lawyer can use, depending on the circumstances. Typically, the various defense strategies can be grouped into four general categories:
- Justification: The defendant was justified in their actions. This could include self-defense or being under duress.
- Excuse: The defendant committed the crime, but they are not at fault for their actions. This could include reasoning such as age or a mental health disorder.
- Alibi: The defendant could not have committed the crime because they were not present. The alibi defense typically relies on a witness to corroborate their whereabouts.
- Procedural: The defendant is not liable for the charge brought against them because there has been some misconduct within criminal procedure. This could include unconstitutional behavior by those both in and outside of the courtroom.
Based on the circumstances surrounding your case, your criminal defense attorney will determine which strategy provides the best opportunity to minimize the consequences of the charge or eliminate it altogether.
What are the types of criminal defense?
Within the four general criminal defense strategies, there are many types of criminal defense that may be used in your case, such as:
- Intoxication (voluntary or involuntary)
- Mental illness
- Illegal search and seizure
- Defense-of-property or others
- Mistake of fact
Among these, and many others, there is the statute of limitations, which can be used if the time window to bring the charges forward has passed. Your criminal defense attorney will recommend the best strategy based on the specifics of your case and which defense they think has the best chance of reducing or preventing sentencing.
What should I do if I or someone I know gets arrested?
If you or someone you know gets arrested, you should hire legal counsel as soon as possible. Until your lawyer is present, you should take advantage of your right to remain silent to avoid incriminating yourself. Once you have been detained, invoke your rights by saying you would like to invoke your right to remain silent and ask to speak with your attorney.
How should I ask my lawyer about a criminal case?
When it comes to your case, there can be a lot of uncertainty, which means you’ll likely have a lot of questions. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are a few questions you should ask your criminal defense attorney:
- What should you do? (Is there anything you can do to help lessen your sentence?)
- What evidence is there against you?
- Do they believe a plea bargain is your best option?
- What defense strategy do they think offers the best outcome? (What are the pros and cons of this defense?)
- Are you eligible for any sentencing alternatives?
- How long do they anticipate negotiations or a trial will last?
- What are the anticipated costs?
Does Consumer Law Group handle cases involving federal agencies?
Consumer Law Group does not handle cases involving federal agencies, other than those pertaining to immigration law.
What if I am not a citizen and I am charged with a crime?
The legal procedure followed for crimes committed by non-citizens depends on immigration status and the type of charge against you. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are entitled to a defense, so you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Depending on the severity of the outcome, a criminal charge could have serious consequences when it comes to your immigration status—individuals may be subject to deportation, or even permanent prohibition from re-entering the US—so you may also need the help of an immigration attorney. In addition to being a criminal defense law firm, Consumer Law Group also represents immigration cases.