Criminal Lawyers in New Albany, Indiana
Being accused of a crime – any crime – impacts your family, your finances, even your future in so many ways. If you or a family member has been charged with a crime, talk to our criminal lawyers in New Albany, Indiana. Having an experienced defense attorney on your side helps you fight for your rights and makes sure your voice is heard.
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 which can have serious repercussions.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Your Case
A criminal defense attorney will do his or her own investigation into the facts of the case. Based on those facts, there may be legal arguments that may result in charges being dropped or reduced. If evidence was improperly obtained, it may be excluded from consideration. A criminal defense attorney will consider applicable laws and come up with a strategy that will allow you to make choices on how to proceed. The attorney can negotiate a plea bargain agreement that may allow you to avoid jail time, or at least reduce it. If you go to trial, an attorney can tell your side of the story to the judge and jury, expose the prosecution’s case and witnesses as unreliable and untrustworthy, and may convince the factfinder that there’s reasonable doubt in the case, allowing for an acquittal.
How We Can Help
The attorneys at McNeely Stephenson can assist our clients in many different areas of criminal defense. The following are just a few examples of the types of cases we can assist you with…
- Drug Possession Defense
- DUI Defense
- Indiana Expungements
- Kentucky Expungements
- Possession of Stolen Property Defense
- Robbery Defense
- Traffic Violations
- Underage DUI Defense
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. Our criminal lawyers in New Albany, Indiana will put every effort possible into the success of your case.
In the Face of Criminal Charges, Your Freedom and Good Name Hang in the Balance
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. With a good one, your job, education and life opportunities are limited only by your abilities and desire, while a bad one drags you down day after day, with little hope of a better life.
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.
Conviction of a felony means time in state (or federal) prison, supervised probation (if you’re lucky to be released early), fines that take years to pay, and a black mark that makes you un-hireable for most professional jobs.
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 10-20 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).
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
In Indiana there are three classes of misdemeanors — A, B and C. They range in possible punishment from sixty days to a year in prison. Fines range from $500 to $5,000.
There are six levels of felonies. Prison time ranges from six months to two-and-a-half years for a level six felony to 20 to 40 years for a level one felony. Fines can go up to $10,000.
Understand Your Rights as a Citizen
We have many rights under the U.S. Constitution, including protections against …
- Unreasonable searches and seizures,
- Self-incrimination (the right to remain silent), and
- Double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime).
We also have the right to …
- Legal representation,
- A speedy trial,
- Confront witnesses against us,
- Reasonable bail, and
- Not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Floyd County Criminal 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 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.
Our Criminal Lawyers in New Albany, Indiana 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.
If you or any member of your family has been arrested or charged with any crime, get help today. We’re here 24/7 and all you have to do is contact us. Protect yourself with the seasoned, experienced criminal trial lawyers of your New Albany legal team.