Frequently Asked Questions about Criminal and Traffic Law

Indiana Defense Lawyer Jon HaggertyThe following consists of frequently asked questions about Indiana criminal and traffic law.


Why might I need a criminal attorney?

If you, a friend or a loved one have committed a crime, witnessed a crime or may be accused of a crime, you need an attorney. Your liberty is at stake.

We recognize that good people sometimes do bad things. It does not make them bad people. Usually, there is an underlying problem that when dealt with avoids future misconduct. We assist people in taking steps toward rehabilitation and avoidance of future misconduct.  At the end of this website are organizations in Marion County, Indiana, offering drug, alcohol and anger counseling treatment.

We will ensure that your rights are protected and that any punishment imposed is just.


What about speeding tickets?

One major traffic offense, coupled with nine speeding tickets in a ten-year period will result in a five-year habitual traffic violator driver’s license suspension.  Three major traffic offenses, such as DUI, driving while suspended, reckless driving, in a ten-year period will result in a ten-year habitual traffic violator driver’s license suspension.

It is most cost effective to let us avoid the traffic conviction than it is to hire us once you have become suspended to obtain a hardship driver’s license to travel to and from work only.  We will pull your driving license record while you are in our office and advise you of the proper course of action and the cost.


How much do your services cost?

We offer a free, brief phone consultation with an attorney. We usually can quote a flat total fee based upon the defense options chosen. Guilty pleas cost less than bench trials, suppression motions, and jury trials.

We require an advance fee, often referred to as a “retainer.” The retainer is usually half of the anticipated total fee. The total fee must be paid in full before the conclusion of the case. We will establish a payment plan for the balance of the fee, at the time we take the retainer.

The earlier you retain us in the process, the lower the retainer because of the longer period available to make payments. Be leery of attorneys taking small retainers without quoting an upfront total fee. You risk that attorney withdrawing from your case when you are unable to pay the fee balance, which was an amount you did not know.


List of Common Offenses

You can go to and put in the relevant code citations to read the relevant statute concerning the crime with which you are charged.  Below are a list of common offenses and the relevant code sites (this is not an exclusive list of our practice areas):

  • Altered Prescriptions IC 16-42-19-11 thru 19
  • Arson IC 35-43-1-1
  • Assaults IC 35-42-2-1
  • Battery IC 35-42-2-1
  • Bench Trials
  • Breath Test Refusal Hearings IC 9-30-6-10
  • Bond Reductions
  • Burglary IC 35-43-2-1
  • Check Deception IC 35-43-5-5
  • Confinement IC 35-42-3-3
  • Conspiracy IC 35-41-5-2
  • Conversion IC 35-43-4-3
  • Criminal Recklessness IC 35-42-2-2
  • Dealing Marijuana IC 35-48-4-10
  • Disregard of School Zone IC 9-21-8-52
  • Disregard of School Bus Arm IC 9-21-8-52
  • Domestic Battery IC 35-42-2-1.3
  • Disorderly Conduct IC 35-45-1-3
  • Public Intoxication IC 7.1-5-1-3
  • Driver License Reinstatements
  • Driving while Suspended IC 9-24-19-1 thru 4
  • Driving without Insurance IC 9-25-1-1 thru 7
  • Drug Possession IC 35-48-4-11
  • 35-48-4-8.3, 35-48-4-6, 35-48-4-14.5, 35-48-4-7
  • DUI/OWI IC 9-30-5-1 thru 17
  • Expungements Ic 35-38-9-1 et seq
  • False Reporting IC 35-44-2-2
  • Fleeing IC 35-44-3-3
  • Fire-arms Violations IC 35-47-1-1 thru 6
  • First Offender and Diversion Programs
  • Forgery IC 35-43-5-2
  • Fraud IC 35-43-5-4, 35-48-4-14, 35-43-5-8
  • Habitual Traffic Violator IC 9-30-10-1 thru 18
  • Harassment IC 35-45-2-2
  • Hardship Driver Licenses IC 9-30-10-9
  • Hearings
  • Home Improvement Fraud IC 35-43-6-1 thru 14
  • Identity Theft IC 35-43-5-3.5
  • Indecent Exposure IC 35-45-4-1
  • Intimidation IC 35-45-2-1
  • Invasion of Privacy IC 35-46-1-15.1
  • Jury Trials
  • Juvenile Crimes IC 31-37-1-2
  • Mischief IC 35-43-1-2
  • Neglect IC 35-46-1-4
  • Official Misconduct IC 35-44-1-2
  • Open Sentencing
  • Perjury IC 35-44-2-1
  • Paraphernalia Possession IC 35-48-4-8.3
  • Parole Violations IC 11-13-6-7 thru 9
  • Post-conviction Relief
  • Probation Violations
  • Probationary Driver Licenses IC 9-30-10-9
  • Public Indecency IC 35-45-4-1
  • Receiving Stolen Property IC 35-43-4-2
  • Reckless Driving IC 9-21-8-52
  • Residential Entry IC 35-43-2-1.5
  • Resisting IC 35-44-3-3
  • Sentence Modification
  • Shoplifting IC 35-43-4-2
  • Speeding IC 9-21-5-2
  • Stalking IC 35-45-10-5
  • Suppressions
  • Theft IC 35-43-4-2
  • Trespass IC 35-43-2-2
  • Voyeurism IC 35-45-4-5
  • Warrant Surrenders
  • Weapons Charges IC 35-47-1-1 thru 6
  • Welfare Fraud IC 35-43-5-7


What rights should I be aware of if and when I am stopped by a police officer?

Traffic LawyerYou have the right to remain silent with respect to any information that could be incriminating.

You do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle, and if asked for consent, you are within your rights to withhold consent.  However, officers do have a right to take actions, such as searching your car without a warrant if they have a reasonable basis for believing that a crime has been committed, such as if they can easily see drugs in your car.  They may also have a valid basis for searching your car if you are being charged with a crime while operating your car.  The police may also have a valid basis for searching you, even if you do not consent to the same.

The bottom line is that you always have the right to refuse to consent to allowing a search of your vehicle or your person; however, the police may be a legal right to do so, in some cases without having to obtain a warrant.  If you refuse consent and the police tell you they are going to search your vehicle or you anyway, you should let them and not interfere with their search.  If the search was wrongful, in most cases all evidence obtained will not be admissible in court.

You should never be physically threatening or verbally abusive to a police officer, even if they are violating your rights. You should obey all commands of police officers, as failing to do so can be a cause for arrest.

If you are being arrested, you should fully comply with an officer’s attempt to take you into custody.  Failing to comply with an officer’s commands or efforts to take you into custody, even if these actions are done in violation of your rights, could lead to additional charges. The time to dispute an officer’s wrongful acts is not in the street, it is at court.

You should be mindful that many, perhaps most, traffic stops are now videotaped with audio.  You should expect that these tapes could be used in court; therefore, be respectful at all times.  You may wish to assert a statement of your constitutional rights, as follows:

Statement of Constitutional Rights: Officer, I mean no disrespect, but I understand my rights. I have the right to have an attorney present during my questioning. I have a right to refuse to consent to any search of my body, and personal effects without a warrant. I wish to exercise all my rights. If I am under arrest, I wish to invoke and exercise my Miranda rights and I am allowed the opportunity to obtain the advice of my attorney. If I am to be taken into custody, I request a reasonable opportunity to make arrangements to secure my own property. I do not consent to any impoundment of my property. If I am not under arrest, I want to leave. If I am free to leave, please tell me immediately, so that I may go about my business.


What are my most fundamental rights?

  • Right to remain silent and to testify (or refuse to testify) at trial, if you choose
  • Right to confront and cross-examine witnesses
  • Right to subpoena witnesses
  • Right to an attorney
  • Right to a speedy trial
  • Right to require proof beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Right to be free from warrantless search


What are the Miranda Rights?

The Miranda Case held that if you are in custody (not free to leave) and being interrogated by law enforcement, then anything you say cannot be used against you unless you are advised of your constitutional rights and your right to have an attorney present.  The Pirtle Case extended this advisement to consent to search cases.


What is suppression?

Evidence obtained illegally (without a warrant or under a warrant exception) is inadmissible at trial and may be suppressed by a court on a motion by the defense attorney.


Sources for drug, alcohol, anger and other counseling services.

Visit this website for a complete list of providers in central Indiana:


We Can Help

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime it’s important to contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately. We offer a free telephone consultation so that we can learn about your legal matter and explain the best option for your situation.

Blackstone Professional Center
8122 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46217
Phone: 317.786.2225
Fax: 317.786.5263

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