How to Find an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer

Although no one ever hopes they'll need a criminal defense lawyer, the need arises more often than you might imagine. If you live in Indiana - whether in South Bend, Crown Point, Indianapolis, Valparaiso, or any other city or town - it's important to be able to find a good criminal defense attorney in your time of need. But how do you go about assessing the strengths of an attorney? Here are some tips to help you select a lawyer that meets your needs and circumstances.

Geographic Familiarity

While laws apply to the entire state, each Indiana county has its own approach to criminal justice. As is true for every state, there is some variation in law enforcement from area to area. Judges, prosecuting attorneys, and probation officers have quite a bit of leeway in how misdemeanor and felony cases are handled. It's important, then, to find a criminal defense lawyer or legal team that has experience in the geographic area where the crime was allegedly committed. Local approaches and procedures can affect the outcome of a case, and a lawyer who is familiar with those differences can work them to his client's advantage.

Type of Criminal Charge

Some criminal defense attorneys specialize in one type of criminal charge, such as crimes involving a weapon, or traffic ticket appeals, or sentence modification. The best criminal defense lawyers, however, have a broad range of experience in a variety of charges - everything from traffic ticket appeals to felony DUI to carjacking to homicide. Make sure that you select a lawyer who has a broad range of experience, and who is a seasoned trial attorney. Hopefully, the case will never go to trial, but if it does, you want to ensure that you have the best representation available to you or your loved one.

Fighting on Behalf of the Client

A good criminal defense lawyer takes a number of steps to ensure that his client obtains the most favorable outcome. The first step is to take the time to examine the facts of the case. An experienced attorney can see where the police investigation may have been weak, where the prosecution's evidence is lacking, and whether or not Indiana law has been correctly applied to the case.

The next step is to take proactive steps on the client's behalf. By offering a client's defense in the best possible light, and by acting in a timely manner, a good attorney can often have charges for the most serious crimes dismissed or lowered in severity. In contrast, the clients of lawyers who wait until the last minute are rarely offered the best outcomes.

Cost and Availability

When looking for an Indiana criminal defense attorney, cost may not be the primary consideration, but it does enter the picture. Some of the best lawyers offer free initial consultations for the specific problem you or your loved one are facing.

When making your choice, you have a right to expect that your lawyer will be available to you when you need him. Facing criminal charges can be frightening, depressing, and stressful. Knowing that your lawyer is available in a timely manner to answer your questions and address your concerns is of primary importance.

With the right Indiana criminal defense attorney, your legal troubles will soon be behind you or your loved one, and you can get back to enjoying life.

How to Search For Free Criminal Background Information and Online Criminal Records

If you are searching for criminal history and criminal records through nationwide databases of criminal records you need to know that though federal laws allow you access to this information state legislature does put limitation on availability and access. However there are sources which provide you with some information you can always search through federal prison records and also inmate locator services. There are many websites federal and state which provide criminal information, including sex offender pictures names and locations. You can try to do free criminal history checks by going through many sites. There also many websites with database access who for a fee conduct a search and provide you a report containing the data available based on each states legislature.

But depending on your needs such as an employer or landlord you need fast and reliable resources for your criminal background checks these paid services could provide you with the best results at the shortest time possible. Even if you are a household employee employer you could look into these paid services for reliability and ease and to protect your and your family's safety.

There are many companies in the business of compiling databases with criminal and public record data. They usually charge for providing their data to you either directly or through other online providers. If you have time you could usually search through free access links to gather as much information as possible about any criminal history. You need to identify which method is right for you.

What Criminal Attorneys Charge Is A Crime

If you've been falsely accused of a crime, it's likely you don't think any price is too high to pay for your freedom. But, when money does matter, it's important not to sacrifice the quality of your criminal attorney just to meet a budget.

If you are truly innocent, it's very likely a good criminal attorney can get you off. Going for a discount rate wouldn't be wise, but there are ways to keep costs at a minimum or even recoup them after a win in court. As long as you insist on finding a criminal attorney that displays some basic, but very important, traits, you should be okay with your hire even if his or her rates are less than others.

Should money be an issue in hiring a criminal attorney, consider these things:

* Stay clear of the 'best of the best' if you can't afford them. Instead, settle for a criminal attorney that displays the traits of a good criminal defense lawyer. This means someone with years of experience in the law, a person who has perhaps also been a prosecutor and maybe even someone with a minimal (but existent) track record in trial courts. Newer criminal attorneys are likely to cost less, but that doesn't mean they'll be awful. Trial experience and former prosecution work are vital traits in that they ensure the criminal attorney you're thinking of hiring knows his or her way around a criminal case.

* Consider going with the attorney provided you by the courts if: that attorney has a good track record, shows a genuine concern about you and your case, really seems to believe your side of the story. If these three things are not present, you might want to try and hire a criminal attorney on your own if it's at all possible. Public defenders can be fantastic lawyers, but that doesn't mean all of them are - just like private criminal attorneys.

* Find a lawyer with a good background who is willing to wait on payments until the case's outcome is decided or is at least willing to work with you. Some lawyers will work on a retainer that's fair and wait to recover costs for false arrest at a later date.

* Plan to recover costs if you clearly are not guilty of the crime you've been accused of.

As you look for a criminal lawyer, remember there are certain traits to look for. You want a criminal lawyer who:

* Has experience in the field.

* Understands how the prosecution works.

* Is versed in trial law, as well.

* Is open with the lines of communication and clearly listens to you and your input on the case.

* Treats you like a person and not a 'criminal.'

* Keeps you apprised of the case as it progresses.

* Fights for your side without prejudice.

Finding a good criminal lawyer can be a costly venture, but there are ways to keep it more affordable without sacrificing quality. If you make sure experience and communication are present with your criminal lawyer, you should be okay even if you haven't been able to hire the 'best of the best.'

The Criminal Law Process

The criminal process begins with someone being arrested with probable cause that they have committed a crime. Next, they are booked at a police station. After that, the matters are turned over to the prosecutor.

A prosecutor will then file charges if he or she believes there is enough evidence. If there is, the defendant will make his or her first appearance in front of a judge. The judge will inform him of his rights and charges.

The next step is the prosecutor will submit the allegations to the grand jury for an indictment. Indictments are largely successful in being procured. Afterwards, the defendant will have an arraignment to plead guilty or not guilty. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will go to trial. The defendant has the choice to a jury trial or a bench trial. Usually the defendant will elect to be tried before a jury.

The defense counsel and prosecutor will now begin what is called discovery. Discovery is the collection of evidence and other information to prepare legal strategy and the case the lawyers will present at trial. Typically, the prosecutor's evidence must be freely presented to the defendant's counsel. However, this rule does not work the other way around.

The defendant has a fifth right to remain silent - even at his or her own trial. This silence is not to be construed as any form of guilt by the jury. As soon as both sides rest there case, the jury will deliberate and come back with a verdict. If the defendant is guilty, the next phase will be the sentencing of punishment.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

One of the most stressful events that can occur during a person's life is the act of being charged with a criminal offense. Beside the embarrassment and damage that can be caused by bad publicity, the reality that one may have to face a trial and eventually even possible incarceration can cause one to lose sleep for days. Sometimes, especially if the defendant is truly innocent, that person may think that the mere act of telling the truth in court will easily lead to the dismissal of the case. Things, unfortunately, do not always work this way.

The legal system is complex. Attorneys go through a very intense and difficult three year course of study where they get an overview of the law. A good criminal defense lawyer will have taken classes pertaining to courtroom behavior and etiquette. An experienced defense attorney will be comfortable working in the criminal justice system and will know many of the parties involved. It is very important to have knowledgeable and qualified legal representation.

A criminal defense lawyer is important from minute one. If a person is accused of any criminal offense, the first thing they must do is ask to call their attorney. A good defense lawyer will promptly respond. If the defendant is incarcerated, the lawyer will work to quickly free him from jail.

Next, the defense attorney will make sure that his client will say or do nothing that will further complicate the situation. The rule that states "anything you say can and will be used against you," is to be heeded. The defense lawyer will counsel his client and tell him what information to divulge. The lawyer will know which authorities should be spoken to and which facts concerning the case should be made public.

Sometimes, the practice of plea bargaining can be utilized. With this scenario, a district attorney may offer a deal so that the defendant can plead guilty to a lesser crime and therefore avoid a lengthy trial. Sometimes a plea bargain can turn a felony into a misdemeanor--a much less damaging accusation. A good defense attorney is absolutely necessary if this process is desired. Individuals should never attempt to complete a plea bargain on their own.

If all else fails, the criminal case may go to trial. Again, this is where the knowledgeable services of a defense attorney are so necessary. It may look easy on television, but the trial process can be fraught with pitfalls for the untrained and the uninitiated. Attorneys know court procedures. They know the judges and the bailiffs. They may actually have tried numerous cases before the same judge. All of this experience is critically important.

If the defense attorney is successful in court the case is dismissed and the defendant can go free. This is obviously the best of all worlds. If the defendant is found guilty, there is still an important role for the defense attorney. Sometimes judges have great leeway in sentencing. A positive campaign engineered by the defense attorney can many times result in a much lesser sentence for the defendant. Again, the attorney has been down all of these roads before and can be a great asset.

The old joke--"a person who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client," can unfortunately be very true. There are many things a quality defense lawyer knows that can help his client. Anyone accused of a crime should get the best legal representation possible. Any money spent will be well worth it if a better outcome is attained, and the use of a quality criminal defense attorney will go a long way toward that better resolution.

What If I Want To Change My Criminal Law Attorney?

Because the stakes are so high when going to court, few relationships are stronger than the ones between a person who has been charged with a crime and their attorney. The fact that your freedom may be on the line not only when faced with a criminal charge but also because various penalties including long-term ramifications and financial. Having a strong and trusting relationship with your attorney will make the resolution of your case that much more important to your attorney. Not only is an open and honest relationship crucial from the beginning but also throughout the process so that a favorable resolution to your case is more likely.

What are your options if you are not happy with your present attorney?

Emails that are not returned, calls ignored; these are some of the signs that your lawyer is not giving you the best possible representation in advocating for your rights. Many times clients are never informed about the status of their case, what the next steps are and are virtually left in the dark. This makes dealing with criminal cases more difficult and if worse comes to worse, it is sometimes best to cut your loses and find a better lawyer. The one thing that you should remember is that you are always free to fire your lawyer because a lawyer's job is to give the client the best representation possible from the beginning to the end and if a client feels like he or she is not getting the best representation, they always have the option to find an attorney who can.

There are certain ways that you must handle issues like this to ensure that your defense is not put into jeopardy. Normally, if a case is fairly new, the risk of problems stemming from changing lawyers is less of a risk. As an example, if you wait until the eve of trial to get a new lawyer, the new lawyer may find it difficult to mount a strong defense in time and the result may be unfavorable. It is in your best interest to voice any dissatisfaction with your attorney as soon as possible so that your new attorney has plenty of time to prepare before court.

How do I go about changing lawyers?

It is fairly easy to get a new attorney by just visiting with another lawyer and explaining your case. When you find an attorney you like, he will only need to prepare a "Substitution of Attorney" form then, your new lawyer will collect all the case information and file the form with the court.

Tips on How to Find Yourself Qualified Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers

Nobody ever wants to think about the probability of having to face the judge and jury for something he may or may not have done wrong. However, if you do happen to find yourself in a bind for a criminal act you may or may not be guilty of, it is important that you get yourself prepared and you can only do that if you find yourself a qualified federal criminal defense lawyer. This task can be daunting especially since there are so many criminal defense attorneys out there. Therefore, it is vital that you are able to find one that is best suited for your needs and your financial situation at the time.

Probably one of the most important things when looking for a lawyer is trust, but that is easier said than done. How do you know you are able to trust one of the many defense attorneys that are available? The tips you will find here should be able to guide you in finding the right lawyer for what you need.

It does not matter whether your case will be a plea bargain or will be going to trial. You still need to make sure that the lawyer you choose is qualified to handle a federal case and has experience trying cases in front of juries, even if it does not go to trial. Knowing the lawyer has this experience is important to your case. An attorney who is not experienced in federal law is going to have problems. The lawyer must recognize any strengths or more importantly weaknesses in your case that could hurt or help you.

Make sure that the lawyer you pick does not practice a variety of different types of law. You definitely do not want a lawyer that one day is handling a divorce. Then on another day is taking care of a personal injury case and then comes to your criminal case hearing. This type of lawyer does not have enough specialized knowledge to take care of your particular case in a well-rounded way.

In addition, it is important to note that if you come across an attorney that makes specific promises for your case probably cannot be trusted. No one, not even an excellent lawyer can make specific promises of what will happen in any particular case. All criminal cases are unique and not even one is identical so it is impossible to make any type of promise. If an attorney makes you any kind of hard to believe promise, they should be marked off your list and you should keep looking.

Any good and competent federal criminal lawyer should be able to explain the charges against you without any problems. What the DA has to do to prove the case as well as what the evidence can do to you in a trial. The attorney should also be honest and up front with you about what the consequences will be should you happen to lose the case and be found guilty for whatever the crime might be. The lawyer should not be afraid to be boldly honest and to the point.

Even though a lawyer that is affordable is probably a big concern, it should not be your top concern over a qualified lawyer. There is a lot at stake when you are facing serious federal charges and you should be more concerned about whether or not your attorney has compassion and complete understanding of federal laws over how much they will be charging you.

It is important not to be afraid to discuss the fees. A good attorney should be able to give you the amount that it will cost at the time of your first consultation. Whether or not it will go to trial, the lawyer should be able to give you a flat quote on how much this is going to run you overall.

It is very important that you pick a legal counsel that is able to discuss your case with you in a language that you can understand. You need to have an attorney that has the ability to break everything down for you into simple terms. You should understand everything that has to do with what you are being charged with and what all of it will entail for your case. You also need to make sure that the lawyer you choose is willing to answer all of your questions, has time to return all of your phone calls and that he or she will give you updates often on how the case is going.

Rehabilitation in Criminal Law

In short and plain terms, rehabilitation basically means the path to restore a criminal to a useful existence in society. This path is often paved with hundreds of hours of therapy, pertinent education and more.

To truly restore a perpetrator to good condition so he or she can operate efficiently in the real world again requires time and a lot of analysis. The right decisions need to be made from the start with regards to the proposed rehab plan. The main assumption made by the advocates of rehabilitation is that a person is not criminally inclined for life, and that it just takes the right process or processes to straighten out the mind of the convicted person.

The main purpose of rehab, then, is to prevent the recurrence of a crime that has previously been committed. This prevention of habitual offending is the cure that is likely to allow the state in which the convict is situated to present the man or woman back to society with a confident outlook. Being able to once again contribute to himself or herself as well as the greater society is the achievement that is to be expected (or at least hoped for) after lengthy rehabilitation schedules.

Where does punishment fit into all this? There are two schools of thought on this note. The first is that certain punishment, such as community service, probation orders and any other forms of punishment are complementary to the rehab plans ordered by the court and sanctioned by the state.

The other side of the coin is the exact opposite. It could actually be bad for the convicted person to be subjected to a lengthy jail term that is much longer than the schedule for rehab. Think about it - the likelihood of a prisoner coming out of a penitentiary after 15 years in confinement with rosy cheeks and a smile on his face is pretty slim, isn't it? More likely, he has it in for society now, no longer being on the same wavelength as the people in the real world he left behind many years ago. This is the danger of long prison terms for non-violent crimes. For violent offenders, the longer the jail time the better - at least this is how many people see it.

For more information on rehabilitation law, check your local library for your city's past criminal cases and the resultant jail terms and rehab schedules. This will be the best resource to understand the law in your local area.

Look For These Vital Qualities When Selecting a Criminal Attorney For Embezzlement Charges

If you've been accused of embezzlement in the Miami, Florida area, please realize this is a serious crime that can result in stiff penalties including a long prison term. The services of a Miami criminal attorney are necessary to ensure proper representation in court if your charges result in a trial. Some Miami area attorneys also serve the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas if you live closer to these cities.

Know the Various Charges and Possible Outcomes

Embezzlement is defined as a crime that breaches the confidence and trust of a company or individual to gain or misuse properties or money. There are several types of embezzlement, including certain cases of mail theft by a postmaster or mail carrier. Title 18, Chapter 31 of the U.S. Code describes the different types of embezzlement. Embezzlement is often labeled as a "white collar" felony, and the severity of sentencing depends on the amount of money or value of items stolen as well as the person's position in a company or organization. As a broad term used for a number of crimes, the word embezzlement may be used to refer to identity theft, check fraud, property theft, and credit card fraud.

The Miami or Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney you choose should be ready and able to help with the type of embezzlement charges you are facing. Question the attorney about his/her experience with your type of case. How has he/she fared in previous similar trials? How many clients have been able to avoid a court trial altogether through settlements or plea bargains? Ask the tough questions now so you'll feel confident with the Miami criminal attorney you choose.

Possible Legal Consequences of an Embezzlement Conviction

Another quality to look for in a criminal attorney is that he/she be able to discern the possible legal consequences for your particular charges. Ask your attorney to explain the worst-case scenario as well as the least possible sentencing so you'll be prepared to face either side of our justice system.

If convicted of an embezzlement crime, you could face a long prison term, parole or probation, a mandatory court order to attend counseling, loss of your rights to be bonded as a business owner or employer, restitution to any victims involved, and other court ordered fines. Even if you don't have to serve time in prison, embezzlement can still mar your career and reputation for life.

Whether you're facing minor embezzlement charges (just hundreds of dollars) or immense embezzlement charges (where thousands or millions of dollars are involved), you'll need the guidance of a knowledgeable, experienced Miami criminal lawyer to help minimize the damages to you and your family. Look for a Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach criminal lawyer that specializes in white collar crime cases to ensure the best possible defense.

When Falsely Accused...

If you've been falsely accused of embezzlement, the right Miami criminal attorney can help you prove innocence. There are a number of ways to do this. One, your lawyer may be able to prove there was no relationship or position of trust between you and your accuser. Two, you may have already owned the property or money in question. Three, attorneys can sometimes show that there is insufficient evidence for a conviction. Lastly, he may be able to show that your actions were consistent with the agreed upon relationship between you and the accuser.

Other qualities to look for when choosing a criminal lawyer:

* Listens carefully to your needs and explanations
* Asks lots of questions to dig deep into the case
* Makes procedures and questions that might come up in court very clear to you and other involved parties
* Looks for every possible means within the law to help you receive a favorable outcome
* Understands the importance of early preparation
* Works with you in your financial situation to reduce the burden

If you're not sure where to start your search, go online and type in keywords specific to your needs. For example, type "West Palm Beach criminal lawyer," "Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer," or "embezzlement lawyer in Florida" to find a lawyer based on your charges and/or location. This will narrow your search, and help you find the websites of various lawyers so you can compare their services online. Make a few calls and notice the professionalism and mannerisms of the receptionist. This is your first impression of any firm and a starting point. Now you're ready to meet with a criminal lawyer or maybe even a few to make your final determination.

Though there are no guarantees when faced with embezzlement charges, hiring a reputable criminal attorney in the Miami area will definitely ease the burden.

Civil And Common Laws Information

In a criminal case, the government generally brings charges in one of two ways: either by accusing a suspect directly in a "bill of information" or other similar document, or by bringing evidence before a grand jury to allow that body to determine whether the case should proceed. If there is, then the defendant is indicted. In the federal system, a case must be brought before a grand jury for indictment if it is to proceed; some states, however, do not require indictment.

Once charges have been brought, the case is then brought before a petit jury, or is tried by a judge if the defense requests it. The jury is selected from a pool by the prosecution and defense.

The burden of proof is on the prosecution in a criminal trial, which must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. The prosecution presents its case first, and may call witnesses and present other evidence against the defendant. After the prosecution rests, the defense may move to dismiss the case if there is insufficient evidence, or present its case and call witnesses. All witnesses may be cross-examined by the opposing side. The defendant is not required to testify under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, but must answer the prosecution's questions if he or she takes the stand. After both sides have presented their cases and made closing arguments, the judge gives the jury legal instructions and they adjourn to deliberate in private. The jury must unanimously agree on a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

If a defendant is found guilty, sentencing follows, often at a separate hearing after the prosecution, defense, and court have developed information based on which the judge will craft a sentence. In capital cases, a separate "penalty phase" occurs, in which the jury determines whether to recommend that the death penalty should be imposed. As with the guilt phase, the burden is on the prosecution to prove its case, and the defendant is entitled to take the stand in his or her own defense, and may call witnesses and present evidence.

After sentencing, the defendant may appeal the ruling to a higher court. American appellate courts do not retry the case; they only examine the record of the proceedings in the lower court to determine if errors were made that require a new trial, re-sentencing, or a complete discharge of the defendant, as is mandated by the circumstances. The prosecution may not appeal after an acquittal, although it may appeal under limited circumstances before verdict is rendered, and may also appeal from the sentence itself.