Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyers

Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving Indianapolis and Beyond

Fort Wayne criminal defense lawyer

If you’ve been arrested or accused of a crime in Lafayette, West Lafayette, or Tippecanoe County, Indiana, you need a criminal defense lawyer. Eskew Law can help. Our Lafayette criminal defense lawyers are experienced practitioners who can help you get through whatever charges you might be facing. Cases we can assist with include:

  • DWI/OWI,
  • Drug crimes,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Gun and firearm possession,
  • Property crimes (burglary, robbery, theft, trespassing, fraud),
  • Crimes against a person (violent crimes, assault and battery, domestic violence, criminal recklessness, vehicular homicide, murder, attempted murder, child molestation, confinement and kidnapping, stalking),
  • Misdemeanors,
  • Disorderly conduct,
  • Probation violations,
  • Traffic violations,
  • Sentencing enhancements, and
  • Expungement.

Our criminal defense law firm believes that every person accused of a crime deserves high-quality representation. We will fight for your freedom, financial security, and family. Don’t wait. Contact us as soon as you’ve been arrested or you believe you may be under investigation. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options.

Outstanding service! I couldn't be happier with the results.

– Ralph

How Eskew Law Can Help You Throughout Your Case

If you’ve just been arrested, you probably want to know what happens next and how an attorney can help. Eskew Law’s attorneys will help you each step of the way—from arrest to sentencing.

Protecting Your Rights From the Beginning

Your arrest is typically the very start of a criminal case. It is always best to remain silent if you’re arrested. You can give basic information about your identity. Police will also check if you have any prior criminal history or outstanding warrants. At this stage, you can ask the police officers if you can contact a criminal defense attorney. You do not need to help the police—wait for your attorney to arrive and let them speak for you.

In Indiana, once a criminal complaint is filed against you, you appear in court. The first court appearance is the initial hearing or “arraignment.” This hearing must happen promptly after arrest. In some cases, if you already have an attorney, they may be able to waive your appearance at the initial hearing. This depends on the case and circumstances, but an attorney can make the request.

During an initial hearing, you will be informed of the charges against you and be able to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Most people enter a “not guilty” plea at the initial hearing. This is especially important if you have not yet hired an attorney or had one appointed. This will allow you and an attorney, once appointed, to go over the case and help you determine the best course of action. If you have already hired an attorney, your attorney will speak on your behalf in court.

Investigating Your Case

After the initial hearing, the attorneys begin gathering more information about both sides of the case in a process known as “discovery.” Prosecutors must provide your attorney with information and evidence they have against you. They must also give your attorney any “exculpatory” evidence—evidence that is favorable to your case or negates your guilt.

In discovery, your attorney will also have the chance to dig deeper into the facts of your case. Your attorney may conduct an investigation by tracking down and speaking with witnesses, deposing witnesses (asking them questions on the record), having forensic evidence analyzed, and engaging expert witnesses. This information may be used as further evidence to build a solid strategy to defend you.

Filing Pre-Trial Motions

Once the discovery process is complete, the attorneys will meet in court before the judge. Your attorney can help manage the case by filing certain motions and arguing their merit before the court. Some motions that your attorney may advance on your behalf include:

  • Motion to dismiss. Your attorney can file this motion if they believe there is not enough evidence to prove you are guilty or if there is a legal or procedural error in the case.
  • Motion to suppress evidence. If evidence was obtained illegally or improperly, your attorney can argue to suppress the evidence (keep it out of the case).
  • Motions to include or exclude testimony. Your attorney can also argue motions to include or exclude certain testimony of witnesses or experts.

As motions involve rather technical procedures, it is critical to have an experienced attorney on your side to adequately protect you and prepare for a possible trial. A good attorney will be able to assess the evidence that has been gathered and can file the proper motions to help shape, or possibly dismiss, your case.

Negotiating with the Prosecutor

As the case proceeds and your attorney understands the evidence fully, there is room for plea negotiations with the prosecutor. This means that your attorney and the prosecutor can discuss resolving the case without going to trial. A plea agreement typically involves the defendant pleading guilty to a certain crime in exchange for the prosecutor dismissing or reducing other charges. Your criminal defense attorney will know when to have these discussions. Your attorney will also advise you of what the agreement involves, what the repercussions might be, and whether it makes sense to accept or not based on the strength or weakness of your case.

Representing You at Trial

If you can’t reach a plea agreement, you have the right to a trial. The trial is where your criminal defense attorney defends you and tells your story in court. The prosecutor will also make their case against you. A strong defense attorney will protect you in court by objecting to improper questioning or evidence.

Two types of trials may occur. A trial in front of a judge who will decide the matter is a “bench trial.” Most trials you think about are “jury trials” where your case goes before a jury of people who decide your guilt or innocence.

At trial, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the jury or judge determines that the prosecutor did not meet that burden and you are found not guilty, the case is over. If not guilty, you can go home and the case against you is gone. Lastly, if the jury or judge finds you guilty, the next step is sentencing.

Advocating for You at Sentencing

If you’ve been found guilty of the crime, you then face sentencing. This means the court imposes a punishment for the crime you have been convicted of. The sentence will be somewhere between the statutory minimums and maximums. Your attorney can still defend you and advocate for you at this stage. An experienced attorney can argue that you deserve a lesser sentence or alternative sentence based on your circumstances.

Filing an Appeal

If you are convicted and sentenced, you may be able to appeal your case. This means that your attorney can have your case reviewed by a higher court. Your attorney can argue that substantial legal errors were made in your case. Appeals can be hard to win. But when they are successful, it can result in a new trial, a reduction in your sentence, or having the conviction reversed.

Through each step of the criminal justice process, a knowledgeable attorney can help protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.

Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyer FAQs

What Are the Consequences of a Criminal Record?

A criminal record can have many repercussions for you and your way of life. Outside of serving time in jail or paying fines, some other consequences may include:

  • Employment. A criminal conviction may prevent you from obtaining or keeping a job. Many employers require background checks before hiring an employee, and some employers may terminate your employment if you get a conviction during your employment.
  • Housing. Many landlords run background checks before renting to a tenant. Having a criminal conviction on record may make it more difficult to find housing.
  • Voting. A felony conviction may lead to losing your right to vote for some time.
  • Driving. Depending on the offense, your license may be suspended or revoked. You will not be able to drive without a license.
  • Reporting. You may have to report your conviction to your employer, neighbors, and nearby schools if convicted of a sex offense. This may hinder where you can live and work as well.

Make sure you talk to an attorney about how a criminal charge against you or a criminal conviction could impact your way of life. Understanding the potential consequences can help you make informed decisions about your case, such as whether to take a plea agreement.

How Long Does a Criminal Case Take?

Every case is different, and it is difficult to say exactly how long your case will take. Generally, criminal cases can be resolved within a few months. Some cases can take more or less time depending on the facts and circumstances involved.

What Is an Expungement?

In some instances, you can seek to seal your record of criminal conviction. With a sealed record, employers, landlords, or licensing organizations won’t see your criminal conviction. Only the court can see your criminal history. The Indiana Legislature has a legal process for sealing your criminal record called “expungement.” With an expungement, you may face fewer challenges with housing, work, or licensing. There are specific requirements about what crimes and records qualify for expungement. Be sure to consult with an attorney to learn if your record has expungement potential.

Contact Our Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyers Today for Help with Your Criminal Charges

As soon as you are under arrest or think you might be under criminal investigation, contact Eskew Law. By hiring our experienced Lafayette criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible, you may avoid a criminal conviction or mitigate negative consequences. Eskew Law has attorneys who have served as public defenders, have handled hundreds of jury trials, and are savvy negotiators. Let our team help you through this complicated process. We can be a valuable resource and will zealously defend you. Contact us today to help you with your criminal charges.

Next Steps

1. Consultation Meet with the attorney to discuss your legal issue. This initial meeting helps you understand their expertise and decide if they're the right fit.
2. Agreement Review and sign a retainer agreement. This contract outlines the services, fees, and other essential terms.
3. Documents Gather and provide all relevant documents related to your case. This step helps your attorney build your case efficiently.
4. Communication Set expectations for how and when you'll communicate with your attorney. Clear communication ensures that you stay informed throughout the process.

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