If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you have certain constitutional and statutory rights. Failure to retain an attorney may result in a loss of these rights. Depending on your case, failure to retain an attorney may result in excessive fines, loss of driving privileges, or lengthy imprisonment. Even a judge would tell you to retain an attorney to protect your rights and secure a favorable outcome to your case.
I have practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke Counties for going on 18 years. Contact my office for an appointment. Your initial consultation is free, and I offer reasonable rates and payment plans. Do not delay — protect your rights! Call (219) 738-2222 now to schedule your free initial consultation.
If you received a letter from my office, or another attorney's office, advising you that criminal charges were filed against you, the following FAQ section will answer your immediate questions. For more detailed answers to your questions, call (219) 738-2222 and schedule your free initial consultation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How did you find out about my charge? A: This information is available to anyone over the Internet. Sometimes it requires a pay subscription to access this information, but it is readily available to anyone. See my "Links of Interest" section for the websites that cover Northwest Indiana.
Q: How do I know this is really me? A: All the information on the letters you received came from the Clerk of the Court. If the letter contains your name and address, then it’s you.
Q: How can I be charged with a crime if I was never arrested? How can there be a warrant for my arrest? A: If the police see a crime being committed, like a DUI, they pursue and arrest the perpetrator. If the police are called to the scene after a crime was committed, like a theft, they investigate the crime, write a report, and turn that report into the prosecuting attorney identifying the individual suspected of committing the crime. If the prosecutor believes enough evidence exists to charge the suspect with the crime, the prosecutor files paperwork with the Court and asks that the Court issue a warrant for the suspect’s arrest, or a summons for the suspect to appear in court. If the letter indicates there is a warrant for your arrest, then YOU are the suspect in this case. In the case of a summons, you probably received letters from attorneys before the summons, but the summons is on its way.
Q: What’s the difference between a summons and a warrant? A: A summons is an order from the Court, ordering you to appear in court at a certain date and time to answer for the charge(s) against you. A warrant is an order from the Court to all law enforcement officers to find you, arrest you, and deliver you to the county jail where you will be held until you are brought before the Court at an initial hearing. If you fail to voluntarily appear for a summons, then the Court may issue a warrant for your arrest.
Q: I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me. A: That may be, but someone told the police it was you and you did do it. The police believed them and so did the prosecutor. This situation will not go away or resolve itself somehow. You cannot hide from it. You cannot call the police or prosecutor and explain it. If you choose to ignore this situation, it will likely turn out badly for you.
Q: Do I really need an attorney? A: If your appendix is going to burst, do you really need a doctor? If the electrical wiring in your house is a fire hazard, do you really need an electrician? If your car won’t run, do you really need a mechanic? The answer to all these questions is, YES. While you have a legal right to represent yourself, the Court will not cut you any breaks simply because you do not know what you’re doing. So unless you have the legal expertise necessary to represent yourself, I would suggest retaining an attorney.
Q: Can I get a free attorney? A: You have a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney if you face any jail time, so every Court has public defenders. The Court will only grant you a public defender if you are indigent, which in most cases means you are unemployed, have no savings, no property, no car, or anything else of value. If you posted a cash bond, most courts will say you do not qualify for a public defender because the cash bond has value, and it doesn’t matter who posted it, it’s your bond. However, you should also consider the old adage: “You get what you pay for.”
Q: What will it cost to retain you as my attorney? A: The cost of retaining me as your attorney depends on a number of factors: the severity of the crime with which you are charged; your prior criminal record; whether you were on probation or parole at the time of the offense; in what county the offense took place; did you make any statements to the police; and most importantly, what actually happened that led to you being charged. I realize that no one plans to be charged with a crime, so they are not usually prepared for the cost of defending themselves. For that reason, I offer payment plans as low as $250.00 per month. I offer a free initial consultation where we discuss your case, I explain what I believe can be done with your case, and I will quote you the price of my retainer which usually consists of a down payment and a monthly payment plan.
Q: Do I have to meet with the attorney to retain him? A: While it is a good idea for us to me in person to discuss your case, and while this initial consultation is free, it is not absolutely necessary. You can schedule a “telephone appointment” which works like a regular appointment, but instead of coming into my office, you call, and I will be available at the scheduled time to speak with you. Retaining me over the phone only works if you have a credit card or debit check card allowing you to make the retainer payment over the phone. If you cannot make payment over the phone, then you should come in for your appointment, because I will not begin work on a case until the down payment is received.
Q: Does the person charged with the crime need to be present for the initial consultation? A: While I often have parents, spouses, and relatives retain me on behalf of another who is not present at the initial consultation, I will need to speak with the person charged as soon as possible, so often we schedule a follow-up appointment for that person to meet later. If the person charged is in jail, I will visit them in jail to discuss their case. However, I cannot visit anyone in the jail until I am retained to represent.
658 West 700 North · P.O. Box 1334 · Portage · Indiana · 46368