Criminal Lawyers in New Albany, Indiana
Being accused of a crime – any crime – impacts your family, your finances, even your future in multiple ways. You don’t have to go through it alone. Our criminal defense attorneys can help.
A criminal defense lawyer is your first and last line of defense when charged with a crime. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Indiana, make your first call to McNeely Stephenson.
You may have been charged with a crime that was committed by someone else. Maybe a bystander misidentified you. There are many reasons why you may be innocent of a crime you’re charged with. A skilled criminal defense attorney can use police reports, crime scene evidence and other materials to build a powerful defense on your behalf.
We understand that sometimes you’re just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you or a family member has been charged with a crime, talk to one of our criminal defense lawyers based in New Albany. Having an experienced defense attorney on your side helps you fight for your rights and makes sure your voice is heard. Call the New Albany criminal lawyers at (812) 783-8639 for a free initial consultation, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a time to speak to our team.
The state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You need to know your rights and how to protect them. Once you retain a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, it is easier to navigate the criminal system and level the playing field – if not tilt it in your favor. But you must act quickly to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer in New Albany about your case and avoid the common mistakes many unwary defendants make that can have serious repercussions.
How a New Albany Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
At McNeely Stephenson, our defense attorneys do their own investigations into the facts of cases we handle. We don’t rely on second-hand information in police reports or other documents. By conducting our own investigation, we can determine whether evidence was improperly obtained, which may exclude it from consideration. We also examine whether evidence was handled properly through an established chain of possession; sometimes evidence has been corrupted by mishandling. We will consider all applicable laws and come up with a defense strategy that protects your legal rights and allows you to make choices on how to proceed. We also can look for legal arguments that may result in charges being dropped or reduced.
Our skilled criminal defense attorneys can represent you throughout the Kentuckiana area. They can negotiate a plea bargain agreement that may allow you to avoid jail time, or at least reduce it, if that is an option you want to pursue. If you go to trial, we can tell your side of the story to the judge and jury, expose the prosecution’s case and witnesses as unreliable and untrustworthy, and work to convince the jury that there’s reasonable doubt in the case, allowing for an acquittal.
These are all the ways that an experienced New Albany criminal attorney uses the law to protect you against unlawful prosecution.
Cases We Handle
The New Albany criminal defense attorneys at McNeely Stephenson can assist our clients in many different areas of criminal defense. We are highly experienced in a wide variety of legal disciplines. The following are just a few examples of the types of cases we handle…
A good defense begins as soon as the attorney receives the call from a client, so it is imperative that you contact our legal team immediately if you’ve been charged or suspect that you will be charged with a crime. The sooner the better.
There are a lot of attorneys out there to choose from, but all attorneys are not created equal. Frankly, some lawyers are better than others. You only get one chance to put your best foot forward and make the strongest possible argument in your defense. You don’t want to leave that chance in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer or a young attorney fresh out of law school. The more seasoned and experienced your criminal lawyer, the better your chances are that he or she has seen many times before the arguments that a prosecutor will make. Armed with this knowledge, your criminal attorney can anticipate the prosecutor’s moves and effectively counter his arguments. You want to make sure your criminal lawyer is every bit as skilled as the attorneys in the prosecutor’s office. Your freedom may depend on it.
Our New Albany criminal lawyers are some of the best and the brightest in Indiana. We will put every effort possible into the success of your case. For a free initial consultation about your case, call us at (812) 783-8639.
What to Do (And Not to Do) After Being Charged with a Crime
Criminal lawyers regularly see mistakes their clients made before retaining an attorney. People inadvertently say the wrong thing, or say too much, thereby providing the prosecution with evidence that will be used against them. Prosecutors can twist your words or take them out of context when building a case against you. When considering what you should and shouldn’t do immediately after being arrested and charged, think about the rights that people are read by police. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. These two statements contain very important information.
If you have been placed under arrest, remember that you should…
Stop talking to the authorities. There is nothing you can say that will help your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. You will be pressured to answer questions posed to you by the police. They will continue to prompt you for information, but it’s vital to know that you are not obligated to say anything you don’t want to say.
Ask for your attorney immediately. The authorities know that the game changes once an attorney intervenes. That won’t necessarily stop them from asking you questions, but you should remain silent and rely on the counsel of your criminal lawyer.
Be peaceful. Whatever you do, don’t resist arrest or be confrontational with the authorities. If you resist arrest or are hostile with the police, you could be making a bad situation far worse than it already is. Comply with the requests from police officers, but know that you should not speak at length about anything.
You’ve noticed a pattern so far; you should stop talking the moment you are placed under arrest. Your attorney knows what to say and what to do on your behalf. The more you talk, the harder it will be for your criminal lawyer to do his job. Don’t handicap his efforts to protect you by saying too much.
These rules apply to any correspondence you might have with the authorities, too. Don’t write down anything, and certainly don’t sign anything until you’ve consulted with your attorney. The police might ask to search your home or vehicle — you should not give them permission to do so. If they want to search your property, they should get a warrant. These are all the things a good criminal lawyer will instruct you to do.
You’ll also want to resist the temptation to make your case to the police. Trying to explain events or the thinking behind your acts only makes matters worse. If you’ve already been arrested, trying to explain is a mistake. In fact, the more you say, the more damage you’ll be doing. Let your attorney make your case for you.
Don’t hesitate to call the criminal lawyers at McNeely Stephenson at (812) 725-8224. We will get to work on your case immediately to make sure your rights are being protected.
In the Face of Criminal Charges, Your Freedom and Good Name Hang in the Balance
We don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot at stake here. Even a conviction for misdemeanor shoplifting can affect you in many ways. That’s because your criminal record is probably the most important indicator of your good name and reputation. With a good record, your job, education and life opportunities are limited only by your abilities and desire, while a bad record drags you down day after day, with little hope of a better life. Whether this is a first-time offense, or you’ve been arrested more than once, you don’t have to make your opportunities in life worse by adding to a criminal record.
Some of these “minor” misdemeanor black marks on your criminal record can include:
In Kentucky, a first conviction is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250 and 45 days in jail, or both. In Indiana, the same conviction comes with a $1,000 fine and up to six months (180 days) in jail.
In Indiana, theft of property valued at less than $750 is a Class A misdemeanor and the penalty is up to a year in jail and a $5,000 max fine. But in Kentucky, the lowest shoplifting conviction results in up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $500 if the value of the goods stolen is less than $500.
Second convictions in both states for all of the above offenses (and/or in the case of thefts of goods higher than the above amounts) could produce a felony charge.
First-degree sexual abuse in Kentucky is a Class D felony, and conviction brings a prison term of one to three years. But first-degree rape – the most serious of that state’s rape classifications – is a Class B felony. A 10- to 20-year prison term awaits the convicted.
In Indiana, sexual battery brings incarceration of 6 months to two-and-a-half years and a $10,000 fine. But if a weapon is involved, the prison sentence is a flat two-and-a-half years (plus a $10,000 fine).
As you can see, the black marks on a criminal record can add up fast, and this record follows you around wherever you go in life. No matter how hard you may try in the future to be a good citizen, you will always have to carry your criminal record with you. It’s better not to have a criminal record in the first place. That’s why hiring a skilled attorney is so important. The more talented and experienced your criminal attorney is, the better chance you have of keeping your criminal record clean.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
For the most part, felonies are much more serious crimes than misdemeanors, and they carry stiffer prison sentences and heftier fines. It’s never good news when the crime you’ve been arrested for is classified as a felony.
In Indiana there are three classes of misdemeanors — A, B and C. They range in possible punishment from sixty days to a year in jail. Fines range from $500 to $5,000. The more damaging or onerous the crime, the more serious the class of misdemeanor. Similarly, repeat offenses can cause you to face a more serious class of misdemeanor.
There are six levels of felonies. Prison time ranges from six months to two-and-a-half years for a level six felony. A level one felony can result in 20 to 40 years in prison. Fines can go up to $10,000. Though misdemeanors are considered “lesser” crimes than felonies, the consequences for misdemeanor charges can still have a significant impact on someone’s life.
In some cases, a skilled criminal attorney might be able to help lessen the charges against you. If possible, your criminal lawyer will seek to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Ultimately, your attorney works to achieve the best outcome possible in your case and to make sure that your rights are being protected. You don’t want to try to represent yourself in court, nor is relying on the public defender’s office your best option. If possible, it’s always best to hire your own personal attorney who will focus completely on your case and be accountable to you.
Call our criminal defense attorneys at (812) 725-8224 to put them to work on your case. Our team is dedicated to our clients, and we will seek every opportunity to help you through this challenging time. Our education, skill and experience can be your best advocate when you are facing criminal charges. We know the ropes, we’ve spent a lot of time in the courtroom, and we have established a lot of professional relationships in the legal field. We can put these things to work for you.
Understand Your Rights as a Citizen
Know your rights and take advantage of them. Never speak at length to the authorities, and always call an attorney if you are placed under arrest.
Defense Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
Sometimes, our legal system can fail the innocent. Mistakes, faulty testimony, and coerced confessions can produce wrongful convictions. Sometimes, mistakes lead to a person’s arrest. If the arresting officer had no “probable cause” to search a person or his property, any evidence from that search is constitutionally inadmissible.
Also, many appeals arise out of sentencing errors. Indiana and Kentucky laws have sentencing guidelines for particular offenses, providing maximum or minimum penalties. The judge has discretion in fashioning a sentence for one who is found guilty and considers factors such as the defendant’s character, criminal record, family situation, and other circumstances.
What Qualities Should You Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You should find a criminal defense lawyer you can trust to handle what may be one of the most important crises you’ll face in your lifetime. Look for experience, knowledge and the drive to do what’s necessary to protect your rights. Is the attorney good at negotiating plea bargain agreements? Is the attorney skilled at telling his or her client’s story in court? Is the person persistent in the face of setbacks? Empathetic and understanding of clients? Is the attorney someone you’re comfortable working with?
Should You Represent Yourself?
An experienced criminal defense attorney knows what he or she is doing when protecting your rights and enabling you to get the best outcome possible. If you represent yourself, you won’t know what you’re doing. You could make serious mistakes that will make your situation worse, not better. Did the police or prosecution make mistakes that provide you with valid defenses? Is a plea bargain or going to trial the best option? Without a criminal lawyer, you won’t know the answers to these questions. Our criminal lawyers in New Albany, Indiana, have the knowledge and experience to provide you with a strong, successful defense.
An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system generally includes law enforcement, the courts and the corrections system. We have a network of criminal justice systems at the federal and state levels, and it includes special jurisdictional courts like military courts. Criminal laws vary from state to state and between the states and the federal government, although they are all based on the U.S. Constitution. The federal criminal justice system handles cases that cross state lines or cover issues Congress has decided are of national interest. State courts normally handle cases of illegal activities that happened within the state’s borders.
Understanding the Mindset of the Prosecution
Ideally the mindset of the prosecution is to make sure justice is served. That should mean that only those actually guilty of a crime are convicted of it, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the prosecution just wants a conviction and a case closed, without looking too deeply into the situation. The prosecution will tell a story to the judge and jury of a bad actor whose denials are not to be believed, someone who has caused harm and needs to be prevented from doing it again. The prosecution will want to use all the evidence possible to support its claim and minimize the defendant’s constitutional rights to help make a conviction easier.
Your Personal Record and Good Name
Anyone who has been arrested for – or charged with – a crime encounters many surprises. A DUI conviction means the person’s car insurance premiums skyrocket. And if the convicted person has a joint insurance policy with family members, all can be forced to pay higher premiums. A criminal record could also disqualify people from working for some businesses, holding professional licenses, renting a car, or living in nice rental homes or apartments.
Teenagers and young people can often learn these consequences too late. Even a minor drug conviction could endanger one’s ability to receive federal financial aid for college; it could even deny them admission to many top-shelf colleges and universities.
How Criminal Charges Affect People’s Lives
As you can see, there are many consequences facing someone charged with a crime. The existence of a criminal record can have many implications. These include…
- Jail or prison time
- Community service
There are many other “collateral” consequences of criminal charges that aren’t directly related to the punishments doled out by the state. These include…
- Limited housing opportunities
- Limited employment opportunities
- Difficulties obtaining loans
- Limited educational opportunities.
Though these consequences are things that no one wants to experience, it’s important to know that you might be able to lessen the impact of a charge by hiring an attorney that will look for every advantage in your case. Criminal charges are scary for everyone, but they do not necessarily spell doom throughout the rest of someone’s life. With the proper guidance and legal representation, all hope does not need to be lost.
Our Criminal Lawyers Are Skilled Litigators
Fortunately, anyone with a criminal record has some recourse after being charged with a crime. Indiana and Kentucky allow people with arrest or conviction records to have their records expunged, although the terms often vary, depending on the degree of the crime committed.
Every case is unique. Our team knows that we need to go into every situation to build a defense that meets the specific needs of a client. We are our clients’ ally throughout the entire process. We will provide support and aggressive, dedicated representation to position our clients for the best possible outcome.