Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on July 7, 2023.

what to do if you get arrested in Indianapolis

Note: the following blog article was updated in July 2023.

What Happens When You Get Arrested in Indianapolis?

An arrest is a scary experience for anyone. The whole process has you out of sorts, you wonder what your next move is. In this article, we walk you through the arrest process. After you post bail or you are released, your best bet is to contact a criminal defense attorney right away.

When someone is arrested in Marion County, the police will book them in through the Sherriff’s new system. They will check for open warrants, holds, or other pending cases. Police arrest many people on warrants. In this case, the system shows the pending case. Officers then book the person with this information.

If it is a new probable cause arrest, the system assigns the person an “MC” cause number. This type of cause number allows the judicial officer to conduct a hearing and make certain determinations. Once the prosecutor files the charges, the “MC” case number changes. Odyssey, the court’s system, generates a new case number for the charges.

What Happens After A Cause Number Is Generated For Your Case?

Once your information has been attached to either a pending cause number or an “MC” cause number, you will go in front of either a judge, commissioner, or magistrate. This judge will review the information to see if there was probable cause for your arrest. If no probable cause is found, you will be released on that cause which can take between twelve and twenty-four hours. If probable cause is found, the judge will then set a reasonable bond based on the information in the probable cause affidavit, your criminal history, and a bond matrix. After this brief initial hearing, you will be sent back to the jail to await your first hearing in the court you are assigned, unless your bond is paid or it has been decided that you will be released on your own recognizance.

Sometimes, the prosecutor will request seventy-two hours from the time of your hearing with the APC judge to conduct additional investigation and to file actual charges. The seventy-two hours does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or court holidays. These final charges will determine which Superior Court your case will be heard in. Keep in mind that the prosecutor can move to amend these charges by adding additional offenses throughout the pendency of your case.

The Bond Is Set and You Can Pay It, But How Do You Get Out?

If the judge sets a bond that you believe you or someone you know can pay for you, there are several things you should consider. First, a bond cannot be posted until you are seen in front of a judicial officer. This means that you cannot walk into the jail, pay your bond, and then walk out. Finally, even if you do pay the bond, some Judges may choose to increase your bond after it has been paid based on the charges that the prosecutor chooses to file against you. This will most likely happen if, for instance, your initial charge was a misdemeanor and the prosecutor chose to file a felony instead of or in addition to the misdemeanor. You should be advised by the judge that this may happen.

Your First Appearance in Superior Court

Typically, the initial judge will set your case for a hearing in one of the Superior Courts the following business day. However, as stated earlier, the prosecutor sometimes has seventy-two hours from the time of your first appearance in front of the initial judge to file charges. Therefore, the hearing scheduled in Superior Court may get pushed out until after the seventy-two hours. If the prosecutor chooses not to file charges and instead files a Notice of Intent Not to File, you should be released.

If the prosecutor does file charges, the staff in the Superior Court your case is assigned to will transfer all the information from the “MC” cause number through the Sherriff’s system to a new cause number based on your actual charges through Odyssey. This information may include your bond, the probable cause findings, any holds, pre-trial release conditions, and no contact orders. The Superior Court staff will then close out the “MC” cause number and dispose of the case, leaving only the new file with your new cause number and actual charges open. If the “MC” case is not closed, there will be issues further down the line if you are ever released from custody on your own recognizance or by paying a bond.

Once all of this is done, an initial hearing is held by the Superior Court your case is assigned to. Your case will remain open until it is disposed of through dismissal, pleading guilty, court trial, or jury trial.

What Are My Rights at the Initial Hearing?

Despite the depiction on popular crime TV, most people do not hire a lawyer immediately after arrest. After being charged with a criminal offense, a defendant will appear before the judge for an initial hearing and often does not yet have a lawyer. The initial hearing typically occurs within 48 hours if you are in custody. However, if you were arrested and released or posted a bond, your arraignment is usually scheduled within 20 days of your arrest. Notably, while many defendants have not yet hired an attorney at this stage, you have the right to an attorney at all stages of criminal proceedings.

Your rights at the initial hearing in Indiana are essential and every bit as relevant as they are in the later stages of a criminal case. At an initial hearing, it is common for the court to automatically enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. However, sometimes the court will specifically ask for your plea. If this is the case, you should almost always plead not guilty. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, so you should not offer additional information now.

If you do not already have one, the court will address whether you intend to hire a criminal defense lawyer or if you qualify for an appointed public defender.

Initial hearings may seem like nothing to worry about, but they can impact your case later. We always advise seeking the guidance of legal counsel immediately upon arrest.

Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help You

If you were arrested in Indiana, it is important to understand what happens next. Please do not wait until it is too late to seek legal advice. Getting the best outcome for each one of our clients is our only concern. Call us today or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Our skilled attorneys are ready to help you.

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Chris Eskew

Chris Eskew is the founding partner of Eskew Law. With over 15 years of experience, he focuses his practice on criminal defense, DUI defense, and family law. Chris is known for his dedication to his clients, his strong advocacy skills, and his commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes in legal matters. He is well-respected within the legal community and has earned a reputation for providing personalized and effective representation.