The Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton County
With each subsequent stage of the criminal justice process, the stakes increase for the accused. The gravity of the consequences you face becomes increasingly real, and your life becomes consumed with fear and anxiety. The only way to mitigate this is to ensure that you’re being represented by the best, most experienced criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County. You want an aggressive, but creative lawyer who will stand by your side and be your advocate, regardless of the charges you face.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our founders, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, are former prosecutors who know both sides of the criminal justice system. They understand the Hamilton County courts, and spent years honing their skills in negotiation as well as inside of the courtroom. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we take a team-based approach to criminal defense cases. This means that your Hamilton County criminal defense attorney will have ample resources and time to thoroughly investigate your case, consult with experts, and ultimately, see your case through to the best possible outcome.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, dedicated criminal defense attorney to minimize your potential penalties and protect your rights and future, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form.
The Importance of Hiring the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton County
In Indiana, all criminal charges are classified as either misdemeanor or felony offenses, followed by another classification that denotes the severity of the offense. For example, the least serious classification is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of 0-60 days in prison and a fine of up to $500. The most serious classification is a Level 1 Felony, which carries a penalty of 20-40 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Uniquely, in Indiana, murder has its own classification, and carries the harshest penalties of criminal offense: 45-60 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and even, the possibility of the death penalty.
While some crimes have minimum sentences and others have advisory sentences, a practiced and skilled criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County will know how both the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines and the courts typically treat the specific charges made against you. Given this knowledge, they can put forth a strategy that presents you with the best chance of having the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether.
Navigating the Criminal Justice Process with a Hamilton County Defense Attorney
Most people understand that every criminal case in Indiana begins with a legal arrest, but what happens next? The answer is: a variety of things happen before and after a criminal trial, and skillfully navigating that process is key to best preparing yourself to secure the optimal outcome in the criminal case against you. That’s why retaining the services of the best criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County is so crucial. In order to protect your rights and your freedoms, you’ll need an experienced attorney to guide you through the complex maze that is the Indiana criminal justice system.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton County During Pre-Trial
What happens before a criminal trial in Indiana takes place can make or break your chances of maintaining your freedom. In fact, most skilled attorneys believe this stage of the criminal justice process to be the most crucial. It’s during this time that they are able to participate in discovery, advise their client on a preliminary plea, and file requests for pre-trial motions. Ultimately, all of these legal activities will help your criminal defense attorney build the strongest criminal defense strategy possible.
The first thing a criminal defense attorney will do following the initial hearing is engage in discovery, alongside the prosecution. Discovery is a process in which the two opposing parties exchange information about the witnesses and the evidence they plan to present at trial. The discovery process is crucial to defense attorneys, as they will begin to fully understand the case that the prosecution plans to make.
There are several types of discovery methods that your defense attorney in Indiana may choose to utilize, including:
- Obtaining depositions (out-of-court statements, given under oath, by a person involved in the case) in the form of written transcripts, video tapes or a combination of the two
- Issuing subpoenas (written order issued by the court) for books, records, or other documents for inspection
- Requiring that the other side’s evidence to be submitted to a physical examination
- Requesting a document be submitted for examination to determine its authenticity
During the discovery phase, but within the first 20 days following the initial hearing, your attorney will help you decide which plea you’d like to enter. More often than not, this will be a “not guilty” plea, since that is what is required for the case to move forward to trial. It also shifts the burden to prove guilt to the prosecution, and leaves the door open for your criminal defense attorney to negotiate a favorable plea agreement.
Generally, favorable plea agreements are ones where the prosecutor agrees to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor. Other favorable plea agreements may include dismissing the charges if certain conditions are met; or when the sentence is reduced far below the maximum sentence. However, regardless of how favorable the terms may be, it’s crucial that defendants speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County prior to entering into a plea agreement.
Finally, before the criminal trial begins, your Hamilton County criminal defense attorney may want to file a request with the judge to make a legal ruling. This is called a pre-trial motion. Common types of pre-trial motions include:
- Motion to Discover. By filing a motion to discover, one party seeks to have the court order the other party to provide them with discovery information.
- Motion to Dismiss. This motion is a request asking the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that it is not legally sound, even if all the facts are proven true. Full grounds for a motion to dismiss can be found in Indiana Code 35-34-1-4 and is further explained in Indiana Code 35-34-1-8.
- Motion in Limine. This request to the court is made by attorneys when they would prefer that certain testimony be included or excluded in the case, or the court take a particular course of action when adjudicating the case.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton County During and After Trial
If your case does go to trial, your criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County will put their defense strategy into action. While every strategy is case-specific, your attorney may utilize defenses based in Indiana Code, the US Constitution, or the Indiana Constitution. In some cases, your defense attorney may believe that the prosecution lacks the evidence (or that their evidence may be found admissible by the court) to reach a conviction and may tailor the strategy around that element of the case against you.
However, even with the best legal representation possible, some cases will still result in a guilty verdict. If you are convicted, your Indiana criminal defense attorney will guide you through the sentencing process and argue that you deserve as minimal a sentence as possible by providing evidence of your case and character. In some situations, your attorney may also be able to negotiate alternative sentencing or probation.
Following conviction, your criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County can also begin to evaluate possible grounds for appeal. Indiana appeals are a highly specific and complex area of law, and therefore defendants require a highly skilled team of Indiana criminal appeals lawyers to gather evidence regarding any errors that were made in the case, and ultimately, to successfully argue the appeal.
Some of the more experienced criminal defense attorneys in Indiana may also begin to advise whether you might be eligible for post-conviction relief. Indiana post-conviction relief proceedings allow defendants to challenge a legal aspect of the trial, conviction, or sentence. These proceedings are unique and must comply with the Indiana Post Conviction Rules, making representation by a knowledgeable defense attorney a must.
For those that were convicted of crimes in Indiana in the past, you may be eligible for expungement after a certain period of time has passed (depending on the severity of the conviction). Expungement in Indiana allows individuals to seal the records relating to the arrest, charge or conviction, offering them better opportunities and protection from discrimination in employment, housing, and more. To learn more about expungement, see our Indiana Expungement FAQ.
Want to Speak with the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton County Today?
When you need a criminal defense attorney in Hamilton County, you need someone who is invested in the work of securing the best results for you. Whether that is dismissal, reduction of charges, or a not-guilty verdict, your attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP will be there, right alongside you. From our initial free case consultation to the courtroom, all the way through appeal, our attorneys will continue to fight and advocate for you.