Kasich Law Offices

[ Main Page | Family Law | Personal Injury | Appeals | General Legal Services]

A Brief Overview of
Indiana Criminal Procedures

If you are charged with a crime against the State of Indiana, unless it is a traffic offense, it will generally be contained in Title 35 of the Indiana Code. I have also included some additional information about driving while intoxicated offenses.



In Indiana, if a police officer observes you committing a crime, he or she can arrest you and take you to jail. In fact, you may be held for 72 hours without charges being filed if the police have reasonable cause to believe that you have committed a criminal offense. Indiana Code 35-33-7-3

Return to Contents

Police Questioning

If you are stopped by police or are invited or brought to a police station you should be aware that the police will probably want to ask you questions. You should be very careful about answering police questions orally or in writing or on video. It is true that whatever you say may be used against you. Under our laws, it is the State of Indiana which must prove guilt of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you speak to the police about what happened you may actually help the State's case against you. Even if you are innocent, your admission that you were the driver or that you were present at the scene of the crime may become the only way that the State can prove an essential ingredient of its case. You or a relative will rarely be able to talk the police out of laying a charge. While honesty and co-operation are normally good character traits in our society, answering police questions or volunteering information may prove harmful to you in the final resolution of your criminal case. You should be willing to identify yourself and physically co-operate if you are arrested. Be polite and professional. If you decide to answer a question you should do so truthfully. Lying to police does more damage to your case than telling the truth, if you decide to speak at all.

Page me AT ANY TIME at 219-791-8015 for free emergency legal advice either before going to the police station or at the police station. If you can't reach me and you can't leave a message on my voice mail at 219-662-1818, I would suggest that you tell the police that you have NOTHING to say to them until you talk to an attorney.

Return to Contents

Pre-Trial Release/Bail

If you are placed under arrest, in most cases, a bail is set pursuant to a pre-determined schedule and/or pursuant to a Court's assessment of your "flight risk" depending upon your criminal record and/or the severity of the crime charged. Bail is supposed to be set in an amount that will make you NOT want to miss Court. In considering a bail reduction, the Court can consider various factors. Indiana Code 35-33-8-4 Whether you post bail or not, if you don't appear in Court on the date and at the time specified by the judge, a bench warrant will be executed for your arrest and you may be charged with the offense of failure to appear. Once arrested you will find it difficult to obtain bail.

Return to Contents

Court Hearings

Your first appearance in Court will probably be what is called an "initial hearing." Indiana Code 35-33-7-5. At that time, the Court will advise you of your rights, will read the charges against you, and will probably determine whether you will be hiring your own attorney or whether you require one appointed at the state's expense.

If you are charged in the felony courts in Lake County, you will then have a "state's discovery" date approximately two weeks after the initial hearing. At that time, the prosecutor is supposed to produce a list of witnesses against you as well as copies of any any statements or other evidence that has been obtained by the police or by the prosecutor's office.

Two weeks after that, you will have a "defendant's discovery" date at which time you and your attorney shall advise the prosecutor of any witnesses, any alibi, any statutory defenses (such as self defense or coercion), Indiana Code 35-41-3-1, et seq. and any other evidence that you plan to introduce at trial.

The next date is the "omnibus date," Indiana Code 35-36-8-1, during which you will advise the Court if that you intend on going to trial or on entering into a plea agreement with the prosecutor. If you advise the Court you are going to trial, the Court will then set the matter for a pre-trial conference and a trial date.

In many Indiana counties, however, the Omnibus Date IS the trial date.

Return to Contents

Jury Trials

Under Indiana law, you are AUTOMATICALLY given a jury trial if you are charged with a felony. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 22, you MUST advise the Court IN WRITING of your demand for a jury trial at least ten [10] days prior to the first scheduled trial date. If you do not, you waive your right to a jury. BE CAREFUL - many courts deem the "omnibus date" to be the "first scheduled trial date!"

If you are charged with murder, or an A,B, or C Felony, you will have a jury of twelve plus any alternates the Court may allow. If your are charged with a D Felony, a misdemeanor, or an infraction, you will have a jury of six plus alternate(s).

Return to Contents

Return to Criminal Defense, Juvenile Offenses, and Traffic Law Page

Driving While Intoxicated/DWI/OWI/DUI

The Indiana laws dealing with driving while intoxicated, which is also called driving under the influence, operating while intoxicated, DWI, DUI, or OWI, can be found in Indiana Code 9-30-5-1.

In my mind, there is no other criminal act that has caused so many state legislatures to pass so many laws whittling away at a driver's rights than the offense of driving while intoxicated. If you are convicted one of this offense in Indiana, in addition to any criminal penalties assessed, the Court SHALL recommend suspension of your driving privileges for at least 90 days and up to two (2) years. Indiana Code 9-30-5-10. If you have a prior conviction for DWI, you can be charged with a D Felony. Indiana Code 9-30-5-3. An attorney that you hire should review the probable cause for the traffic stop, the type and results of field tests that you may have performed, and whether the technical requirements for the breath or blood tests were followed. Your blood alcohol results, which are usually the most powerful evidence against you, could be inadmissible if the law enforcement officer did not follow proper procedures.

While the law, at this time, does not give you the right to consult with counsel prior to your participating in field tests or in blood alcohol testing, you may be able to convince an officer that you need to consult with an attorney before you perform any field tests, eye tests, or even the breath, blood, or urine tests. It is MY suggestion that, whenever a police officer advises that you have a right to counsel (meaning a lawyer) say "YES! I want to contact a lawyer IMMEDIATELY." To the best of your abilities, use that opportunity to consult with a lawyer of your choice so that you can obtain immediate advice about your obligation to provide breath, blood, or urine samples, refusal of physical tests, and your right not to make any statement that might later be held against you.

Once released you should immediately retain the services of a lawyer to defend you. Make notes of what happened using my "DWI Checklist"

Choose a lawyer with experience related to this area of criminal law.

In fact, unless you are confident that you will be able to perform all field tests to the satisfaction of the investigating officer, I would recommend that you politely refuse to perform any such tests. Why help the officer obtain evidence against you?

Under the implied consent law of Indiana, Indiana Code 9-30-6-1, you MUST cooperate with a law enforcement officer if you are asked to take a chemical test for the presence of alcohol in your system. Any such test MUST be given to you within three [3] hours of the investigative stop. Indiana Code 9-30-6-2.

The usual fee for an alcohol-related driving offense is about $1500.00 to $2000.00 up to and including the first scheduled trial date. Additional trial days, expert evidence from a toxicologist, extensive preparation respecting hardship applications, and unreasonable delay motions cost more. Disbursements for breathalyzer room videos, transcripts, and other out-of-pocket expenses are also extra.

Once retained, an experienced criminal law trial lawyer will request discovery from the State of Indiana and police of all relevant materials including all documentation, breath or blood test results, and videos. He or she will review these materials looking for technical defects. He will then meet with you to discuss your options.

There will be preliminary hearings that your lawyer will need to attend. In the end, your lawyer will either present you with an acceptable plea agreement for your approval, or you will go to trial and test the State's evidence against you before a judge and/or jury.

Return to Criminal Defense, Juvenile Offenses, and Traffic Law Page

Schedule an Appointment with Attorney Kasich
Return to Kasich Law Offices home page

This is an advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the state of Indiana only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

WARNING: All information contained herein is provided solely for the purpose of giving basic information only. It should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You should seek and consult with your own professional legal counsel before relying upon any of the information contained herein.

© Copyright 1997, 1998 Gojko Kasich, Crown Point, Indiana