In the event criminal charges have been brought against you by the State of Indiana, through the local Prosecutor, it is important that you know and understand your constitutional rights under both Indiana and Federal Law.
Attorney Ned Tonner has represented hundreds of criminal defendants for both misdemeanor and felony charges in numerous counties in Northwest Indiana. Not only is attorney Tonner a former federal law clerk for a federal judge in Hammond, Indiana, but he is also a former public defender in both Jasper and Tippecanoe counties. He has successfully defended criminal defendants in jury trials for both misdemeanor and felony charges and has appeared as a guest lecturer at an attorney seminar in Indianapolis entitled, "Planning Your First DUI Defense".
Initially, there are several important issues to address:
Charges - You have the right to be informed of the charges that have been brought against you and to be informed of the possible penalties and fines that may be assessed in the event a conviction or a judgment is eventually entered against you. This occurs at the initial hearing, where the Court informs you of the actual charges and the possible fines and penalties. Generally, there are time requirements as to how long you may be incarcerated before your initial hearing must be held before the Court.
Bond - You have certain rights in connection with the posting of a bond. Typically, a defendant's bond is set in accordance with a particular Court's schedule. Some courts have a bond schedule, others don't. There are also different types of bonds. A cash bond allows you to eventually apply your cash bond towards fines, fees and Court costs. You should consult with your attorney before posting bond to understand the different types of bonds that may be available.
Retainer - Our firm sets the price to retain attorney Tonner based the severity of the charges, the number of different charges and the facts and circumstances of your particular case. Typically, a set charge will be quoted before retention, which includes all representation, except as to particular motions to suppress evidence or jury trials, which require considerably more attorney time. The vast majority of cases do not result in a jury trial, but are resolved through the entry of a plea, or other disposition. Additionally, payment plans are available. In order to assist our clients, our firm provides for payment by credit card.
Discovery - Once retained and our firm enters its appearance, we enter into the discovery phase of the criminal proceeding. Attorney Tonner will receive all police reports, witness statements or any other discovery that the State of Indiana intends to introduce in its trial against you. The purpose of receiving discovery is to ascertain whether there are any possible defenses to the charges brought against you. There are several important questions to address. Were you properly stopped or detained by the officer at the scene? In the event of a custodial interrogation, were you properly given your Miranda rights before questioning began? How credible are the witness statements against you? In an alcohol related case, were you properly given blood alcohol and field sobriety tests? These are important questions to answer; yet each case presents its own unique facts and circumstances.
Negotiation - In the event an examination of the State's evidence reveals no obvious defense, our firm then begins negotiating with the Prosecutor's office. This may require several meetings and may take several weeks. In the event a plea offer is received, you, as the client, will be informed of the State's offer and will have the opportunity to either accept or reject the offer. In the event you accept the offer, a written plea agreement is entered into between the State of Indiana, you and your attorney. The plea agreement is then presented to the Court for its approval. In the event the Court accepts the plea, a judgment of conviction is entered at that time. In the event the Court rejects the plea agreement, your prior constitutional rights, which include a right to a jury trial in all felony cases and in some misdemeanor cases, will be fully reinstated.
The facts and circumstances of each criminal case are different and require individual analysis. It's important that you work closely with your attorney in all aspects of your case.
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