This past week an Indiana alcohol excise officer was arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated within Hamilton County. Of note from the perspective of a defense lawyer are arrests of this nature proceeding toward potential prosecution at all.

Hamilton county as well as other counties statewide have not been immune to the suggestion that local communities will bend over backwards to prevent a law enforcement officer from being held to account within a public prosecution. However, this perception has been altered somewhat by recent cases here demonstrating that law enforcement officials are not above the law.

Most notably, a relatively recent public prosecution of one particular local officer enabled to shake down Hispanic drivers within Hamilton County for an undetermined amount of time before being caught and prosecuted.  A customary willingness of local law enforcement agencies to accept sworn allegations of police officers without question often contributes to allowing bad cops to feel emboldened to act with impunity.

There have been many theories behind why police officers will not be held accountable for malfeasance to the same extent that an average citizen would.

While typical suggestions abound such as the desire for those within the local law enforcement community to, “protect their own,” I believe that public relations considerations often plays a more central component as to why so few such arrests are broadcast for public scrutiny.

Within the poor economic climate presently existing within our country, local public agencies must often clamor for the limited public expenditures available for distribution to respective governmental service agencies. Included among them are local sheriff’s departments and elected prosecutor offices. With each suggestion of criminal conduct among member(s) of a particular law enforcement agency comes inevitable challenges to entrusting such an agency with tax revenue often sorely lacking among various police agencies.

Further, with diminished funding comes the prospect of poor performance through lowered rates of arrest among police departments that must sometimes lay off officers and/or attempt to police their communities without a full complement of resources made available elsewhere.

Such realities have far too long been the result of a patronizing attitude toward the public by law enforcement and an unwillingness to believe that the local citizenry are intelligent enough to understand that the isolated criminal conduct of a lone officer is not customarily the reflection of a department as a whole.

Refreshingly, Hamilton county officers and local screening prosecutors in the most recent arrest of an Indiana law enforcement official were not willing to look the other way in sweeping the conduct of one of their own under the rug and away from public scrutiny. As such, I believe that the conduct of officers and prosecutors alike within this most recent arrest are worthy of commendation in allowing for the legal process to run its course irrespective of the suspect in question.

Whether the suspect under arrest is a powerless citizen, a wealthy philanthropist or law enforcement officer, all individuals are entitled to the presumption of innocence and the most vigorous legal defense possible. However, what is equally owed to Hoosiers within each county jurisdiction within our state is a recognition that no matter who may be the focus of a police stop, all under investigation will be subject to the same criteria for arrest and prosecution.

Each county within the state of Indiana customarily will have their own independent criteria by which to judge a defendant’s potential suitability for a program that allows one to avoid straight incarceration. While in some communities a respective probation department will be in control for all home incarceration and/or employment related alternatives to incarceration, this is not the case within Hamilton County.

At present the Hamilton County Community Corrections agency and not the probation department handles the approval process for one seeking to become eligible for an applicable alternative release sentence that allows one to potentially maintain employment and any other associated familial responsibilities.

Making the assumption that evidence is sufficient by which to sustain the viability of a criminal prosecution, a lawyers’s ability to keep up to date as far as the most recent eligibility considerations for all options short of incarceration are critical to the most successful outcome possible.

I say this in reference to a recent occurrence that I witnessed on the part of another lawyer who was advocating such an alternative sentence on behalf of his client within one of the Hamilton County Superior courts. The attorney in question had apparently negotiated an “open” plea sentence within one of the Noblesville courtrooms. This agreement had called for a “cap” of  time that would be the limit that his client could potentially serve in jail if the plea in question had been accepted.

The tragic problem that presented itself against his unsuspecting client was the fact that the lawyer, passionate as he may have been, simply did not know the practice of one of the Noblesville courts in question. In this instance it is customary in many other counties for an “open” sentence with a cap to mean just that; an ability to argue for any potential sentence under the cap that would meet with the judge’s approval. However, within the specific judge’s court at hand, an open sentence without a specific reference to an attorney’s ability to argue for where potential incarceration may be served (home incarceration/employment allowance) caused this judge to enunciate that the only alternative for his client was not whether straight incarceration was warranted, but only the amount of time up to two hundred and forty days that his client would be subject to imprisonment within the Hamilton County jail.

In this instance absent an allowance for a continuance to remedy the terms of a potential negotiated agreement within Hamilton County, a client will be left without potentially critical alternatives to incarceration due entirely to an ignorance of the procedural process for securing such alternative sentencing alternatives within Hamilton County. I was thankfully able to suggest some measures to this attorney that I believe had ultimately resulted in a modification of the originally proposed agreement that will not necessarily enable for an alternative sentence to incarceration be secured, but at least preserved the ability for argument in favor of such an outcome.

Further, understanding the often changing criteria for acceptance by the community corrections agency within Noblesville is essential to properly preparing a client for the interview process by which to secure written approval as a pre requisite to a judicial sanction that allows for home monitoring or employment release from a secure facility so as to maintain employment/familial responsibilities.

Expungement or sealing one’s criminal background record can be an incredibly useful tool. Expungement is the process by which your criminal record is effectively, but not actually, erased. Your arrest record is removed from the records of the arresting authority and from the official records of the state police. Additionally, your name is taken off the index that the circuit court has to keep. Even further, your employers and law enforcement officials cannot see that you had a criminal record. Your physical and electronic records are not actually destroyed. Nevertheless, the effect is to hide your criminal past from others. This is an especially helpful tool for those with prior convictions.

Through expungement, the law is attempting to differentiate between habitual criminals and citizens who maybe just made a mistake. As anyone with a criminal record knows, the ramifications of committing or being convicted of a crime can last long after the court-ordered punishment is over. Is it really fair that a hardworking, honest person suffer for a mistake he made years ago?

Indiana expungement laws have undergone a few changes in the last few legislative sessions. There were several updates to the expungement rules in 2013 that were further modified in 2014. Although there are a lot of nuances and requirements to expunge your record, this is meant to give you an overview of the purpose and method of Indiana criminal record expungement under the new laws.

Here in Indiana, not every crime can be expunged. There are certain crimes that the Indiana State Legislature believes are too serious to ever be removed from someone’s record. The crimes that cannot be expunged are the kind of crimes that you would typically expect that our representatives believe other people deserve to know you committed in the past. Pursuant to the Indiana Code, the following people generally are not eligible for record expungement:

  • An elected official convicted of an offense while serving his or her term or while as a candidate for public office;
  • A person convicted of a felony that caused another person serious bodily injury;
  • A person who committed a felony homicide offense;
  • A person who was convicted of a sex crime;
  • A violent offender; and
  • A person convicted of official misconduct, which generally means an official that abuses his or her position as a public servant.

The requirements that must be met for a criminal record to be expunged vary based on the level of the crime. There are many levels of crime in Indiana. The levels are divided up based on the seriousness of offense. The two overarching categories of Indiana crime are misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and within each group there are more and less serious offenses. The major difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is that a misdemeanor is never punishable by more than a year in prison.

The very first step to get any criminal record expunged is to wait. There is always a waiting period after you finish serving or completing your sentence before you are eligible for record expungement. In keeping with the varying levels of seriousness of crimes, the waiting period for serious crimes are longer than for less serious crimes. In that waiting period, you cannot be convicted of any other criminal activity. If you are, then your waiting period starts over.

Once you have satisfied the waiting period, then you have to fill out an application in accordance with the correct statute. The Indiana Code section pertaining to expungements is IC 35-38-9. If it is not filled out in perfect accordance with the statute, it can be rejected without a hearing. After your application is filed, the prosecutor may object. If so, there will be a hearing in which both sides present their case. Finally, a judge will determine if your record will be expunged.

How a prospective juror among the general public or judge will perceive alleged criminal conduct will often depend upon whether a visual recording of a given event is obtainable. Where a crime has not been recorded, the alleged misdeeds of one accused are left in the hands of those free to determine whether a criminal conviction is warranted.

The non stop media accounts of professional football player Ray Rice’s battery against his wife has demonstrated the power of the visual in mobilizing public attention. In this particular circumstance the national football league saw fit to suspend Rice for two games from his professional employer the Baltimore Ravens, as a result of a plea agreement reached within Atlantic City New Jersey. This suspension was allegedly based upon the results of their investigation into the matter. Although the public opposition to the original suspension was vocal, the opposition tended to focus upon those with the most self interest in reforming a culture that tolerated domestic abuse.

However, with the release of a new public video clearly showing Rice’s punch to his wife’s face, public outcry on a far greater scale has developed. Why is this so? After all should a punishment handed down against one culpable of domestic violence be different merely because we see the event on video? Is the heinousness of hitting a woman in the face somehow worse by virtue of the fact that we in the public can witness the crime in question? The unfortunate reality is that as a visual society, we choose to allow our minds to rationalize what we choose to believe about a situation unless confronted with the reality of a video depiction.

This reality is especially significant when assessing the defense of criminal cases. Potential jurors as well as presiding court judges may very well allow a visual documentation of a criminal event to impact their conclusions as to guilt and sentencing. When no video depiction exists, the picture painted of an event within a criminal courtroom will be that of attorneys each seeking to influence a trier of fact.

For example, prior to the release of this video many had claimed did not exist, fans of the Baltimore Ravens football team actually gave Ray Rice a standing ovation upon his joining the team at pre season training camp. I choose to believe that this initial roar of approval of Mr. Rice by fans of the Baltimore Ravens was more the result of questioning the extent of Rice’s guilt, than an endorsement of domestic violence.

The conduct of such fans is one that reinforces my belief that those deciding outcomes within criminal cases will often see events as they choose to see them.  In the absence of contrary visual evidence, these fans, clamoring for a winning team in their hometown were willing to suspend a rational belief as to what went on within the elevator where this crime was committed.

However, when later confronted with visual evidence of what domestic violence looks like in practice public indignation became widespread and ongoing. Almost as though a collective public guilt has consumed people who had otherwise been willing to look the other way as to Rice’s conduct.

Within owi prosecutions the potential existence of video car cameras is an ever present source of investigation. Although in my experience the visual recordings possessed within these cases is not nearly as dispositive or passion provoking as a battery committed against a woman, they often serve as a helpful aid in demonstrating the reasonableness of a suspected drunk driver’s conduct.

In the final analysis even video evidence is not always determinative of a given issue. Each of us can slant what we are observing to fit the outcome we seek. However, where undisputed video evidence exists indicating a crime that has united the scorn of those who have seen it, the sanctioning authorities responsible for punishing Rice have clearly dropped the ball.

By and large the focus of attack when confronting an impaired driving prosecution will be centered upon issues bearing upon case evidence. Thankfully, it is not often the case to focus upon safety issues thrust upon those suspected of criminal offenses through the means of an automobile stop.

Some time back, the Hamilton County community was shocked to learn of the criminal extortion of hispanic motorists by one particular officer threatening manufactured traffic or even criminal violations unless demanded monies were paid. In this specific case the community was well served with the ultimate prosecution of the officer in question. However, for many defense lawyers such as myself, incidents like these have always given rise to significant questioning as to the extent of such police practices both within Hamilton County as well as throughout the state.

It may be a sensational news story to learn of the acts of misconduct of a particular traffic cop who gets caught. The broader more underlying issue is the extent to which such police misconduct is perpetuated without public attention or notice. Cloaked with the presumption of credibility within a local community, police officers possess an inherent ability to cause irreparable damage to public confidence when their misdeeds go unaccounted for.

As stated above, the most common means by which defense attorneys are in position to hold officers to account is through the discrediting of their law enforcement stops. Over time, should enough police stops and arrests be discredited, both the respective prosecuting attorney’s office as well as supervising police agency will have serious questions as to the continued employ of a given officer. Thankfully, it is most notably police practice that is questioned toward securing a criminal conviction and not the criminal conviction of the arresting officer themselves.

However, recent events in Ft. Wayne bear noting as those that touch upon the regrettable reality that in some instances those suspected of drunk driving must take great care to not only safeguard their future liberty but their safety as well.

This past week a police officer serving the Ft. Wayne community and empowered to conduct traffic stops was convicted of rape. Not only was this officer convicted of rape but the facts of the case are such that this supposed officer of the law admitted to committing this sexual offense following the arrest of a woman for drunk driving.

Apparently seizing upon the opportunity to prey upon the woman who had registered a high intoxication level following a blood draw at a local hospital, this officer took it upon himself to take her to a local park following her hospital observation whereupon he committed the rape convicted of.  Again the question bears repeating as to how many such occurrences take place nationwide where officers of the law are enabled to take advantage of those allegedly impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol.

The combination of societal trust extended towards those entrusted to protect and serve, countered with the disdain to which many in the public direct toward those accused of impaired driving leads too many officers to become tempted at stretching the truth of a given impaired driving investigation. In extreme instances that temptation has lead to the commission of crimes against those they will assert are not to be believed.

Understand the dangers lurking toward those who may become the target of some in law enforcement who may seek to use one’s alleged impairment to discredit any version of events they may later put forward. Whether involved within a criminal prosecution or the victim of a crime during the course of a traffic stop, it is incumbent upon everyone to take note of potential dangers and use all social media and other mobile devices at their disposal to alert loved ones and/or trusted legal counsel as to their whereabouts at the first sign of police investigation.

For those pursuing a legal education, one of the most commonly recognized undertakings are legal examination questions that throw every conceivable fact pattern at an aspiring lawyer. In many instances, the test questioning is of a ridiculous nature, never to actually occur within a real life setting. However, it is felt that by training students in the art of quickly analyzing a fact pattern full of various legal issues, the student will be best served with needed understanding. More specifically, a professor will be best able to assess a student’s comprehension as quickly as possible.

Recently, a current events fact pattern occurred that reminded me of these arduous test examinations only experienced within one’s legal education.

It seems that two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team were recently stopped pursuant to a stop for impaired driving. Apparently, the driver of the vehicle, allegedly without being questioned, blurted out that he was not drunk driving. In fact, he purportedly suggested, his vice of choice was Marijuana and that although he had smoked his possessed pot hours earlier, he was no longer high. Inarticulately mounting his legal defense supposedly without being prompted, he asserted to the cop that since he had not been drinking alcohol he saw no reason for any further examination as to a potential drunk driving charge against him.

While it is always wise to view with suspicion the recitation of events made by an arresting police officer, especially when targeting a noteworthy individual, it is a worthwhile exercise to provide a brief comment to reinforce why those questioned for any criminal offense need the consultation of legal counsel prior to uttering a word in their own legal defense.

Within the realm of dui defense practice the issue of Miranda advisals or self incrimination does not arise in nearly as many circumstances as other areas of potential crime. The reason being as expressed elsewhere is due to the reality that the most significant evidence mounted against one accused of impaired driving is most often that not relying upon the words expressed of a suspect. Most significantly, it is the alleged monitoring of driving activity, performance of impaired coordination testing and/or results of breath or blood testing that is most legally significant to a prosecutor in securing case convictions.

More to the point, the above referenced factors are based not on what a criminal suspect says, but what their performed actions and bodily evidence indicates.

However, in the case circumstances above, if one is to provide an unsolicited admission to a law enforcement officer in regard to the use of drugs that may have not otherwise have been determined from a breath test result for alcohol, one has opened themselves up to legal peril.

If the arresting officer’s account is to be believed, not only was the football player in question apparently ignorant on the law, but his inarticulate words stated in his own defense were so misguided as to lend creedance to a suggestion that he was in fact under the influence of drugs at the time of his vehicle stop.

The lesson to be learned once again is this; driving while high is the same as driving while intoxicated in Indiana. Once again, one does not need to be proven to have consumed alcohol to be convicted of dui. I personally believe that the term, “drunk driving” has been the biggest culprit in misleading the general public as to a seeming distinction between the use of alcohol versus drugs when attempting to understand impaired driving charges.

Had it not been for this NFL player’s words, it is possible that an on site portable breath test only suitable to detect the presence of alcohol would have allowed for the player to proceed on his way. However, once impairment through drugs is suspected, a resulting blood draw must commence so as to secure evidence to prove the presence of drugs. Having handed this officer the evidentiary means by which to find probable cause to proceed with an off site blood examination, this individual assured himself of future legal proceedings.

While miranda is not often a central point of discussion when attacking alleged dui allegations for the reasons stated above, if one is to voluntarily incriminate oneself without being questioned allegedly due to a misguided understanding of the law, even the best defense lawyer cannot always help you.

I was recently interviewed by a reporter from the Indianapolis Star as to my thoughts in regard to the recent arrest of a police officer. This particular police officer had been arrested for his second dui offense with case proceedings forthcoming.  Her inquiry revolved initially around the circumstances of this arrest and whether a portable breath test on the scene is admissible in court. Further, from the tenor of her questioning she had been additionally attempting to uncover whether based upon the officer’s alleged action’s during the course of the arrest, this officer had any particularized knowledge as to how to deprive a future prosecutor needed evidence against him.

From what had been initially conveyed to me, this officer spent a great deal of effort refusing to submit to the portable breath test (PBT) that he had apparently been commanded to submit to. The reporter had wanted to know the significance of an individual’s refusal to submit to such a portable breath test during the course of a drunk driving investigation in Indiana.

Unlike a certified “chemical” breath test that is administered typically within a jail setting or police station, a portable breath test administered on location of a specific dui detention is not a test that is admissible within a court of law. Further, at the present time there is no tangible sanctions against one who refuses compliance with a police order to submit to such a test. If there is no rationale basis behind the submission to such an apparatus, what is the purpose behind it?

Although the result of a portable breath test is not admissible as evidence within a court of law during the course of a drunk driving prosecution, it is relevant as just one among many potential factors in providing “probable Cause” to a police officer. This probable cause will provide a legally sanctioned justification as to a determination of whether a suspect will be further detained and transported to a relevant facility for the purpose of submission to subsequent certified breath testing that is, in fact, admissible within a court of law.

As a result, a portable breath test result above the legal limit of .08, though not legally able to be used as evidence, is one of a litany of potential factors that can justify an officer’s course of conduct in the detention of one he or she believes has committed a drunk driving offense resulting in an actionable prosecution. In many instances where a traffic stop has been initiated not based upon an impairment type traffic offense such as broken tail light, suspended vehicle registration, etc, the results of a pbt test administered on the scene can take on an even heightened importance as to a later judicial determination of whether probable cause existed for the transport of the accused to submit to a certified breath test at an off site location.

Once probable cause has been determined that an individual’s actions at the scene indicate the presence of impairment, either through the performance of sobriety testing in the field and/or observed driving activity, legal requirements kick in to be imposed against one suspected of drunk driving as to non compliance with providing a breath test sample. It is at this point that unlike submission to a pbt test, a suspect’s failure to submit to a certified breath test will result in the automatic suspension of one’s driving privileges from between one and two years in addition to whatever court ordered license restrictions are later imposed. This suspension I might add will be legally required even if later found not guilty of a drunk driving offense unless later terminated by a presiding judge.

Many legal battles have been initiated in regard to the timing of a police officer’s implied consent advisals that are required to be read to one being asked to submit to the certified breath test. Unlike prior to a pbt test, these advisals to be read and understood prior to a certified test request are specifically required so to inform a potential suspected drunk driver of the potential repercussions of refusing to provide a certified breath test sample.

In some instances, negligent police officials will suggest that implied consent readings were communicated prior to a non admissible pbt test and not thereafter. In such instances, I have been able to thwart a dui prosecution by asserting that failure to submit to a portable breath test does not mandate the imposition of a mandatory license suspension and therefore does not require implied consent advisals at that point of an investigation.

In sum, there is no legal requirement in Indiana at this point for a suspected drunk driver to submit to a portable breath test (unlike a certified test). As a result, absent additional incriminating factors indicating potential impairment at the scene of a traffic stop, I cannot suggest that it is in one’s best legal interest to submit to such a non admissible test that will serve no better cause than to provide potential probable cause for a dui arrest.



Unfortunately, the procedures for resolving criminal cases differ from county to county within the state. This reality can lead to frustration for many who have been made aware of options presented to friends and neighbors to resolve an open criminal case that have not been made available to those within Hamilton county.

There can be many differing reasons as to why pre trial options to conclude a case may be presented by a prosecutor to one individual and not another. The strengths or weaknesses of a certain criminal prosecution may play a role. The experience and/or relationship a defense attorney has with the prosecutor with responsibility over a given case may also play a part. However, for certain types of offenses the types of case resolutions made available by a given prosecutor may be more defined by what the specific county prosecutor will allow in regard to the resolution of specific types of cases prosecutions.

In regard to potential settlements of first time drunk driving cases within Hamilton County, “withheld” prosecutions are not available unlike some counties within the state. Although only offered by a small minority of state prosecutors within Indiana, such a resolution would often allow for a case to be dismissed upon the fulfillment of certain conditions such as counseling, community service and the like. In many instances such a resolution would allow for the cessation of any outstanding license suspension that would have been placed into effect.

Some other counties that do not offer withheld options for drunk driving cases may allow for a resolution to an amended count of Reckless Driving for first time defendants. Although such an outcome can result in a class B misdemeanor conviction (higher than a conviction to operating above .08) unlike an associated drunk driving penalty a reckless driving conviction would not compel a judicially ordered mandatory license suspension. Absent any excess points to one’s Indiana driving record such a reckless driving conviction could contribute to, a first time offender could be able to avoid any undue hardship of a mandatory license suspension with an otherwise clean driving record.

Unlike first time offenses such as Possession of Marijuana, Public Intoxication and even first offense Battery prosecutions that may in fact qualify for some form of withheld prosecution treatment at the present time within Hamilton County, drunk driving cases do not. In my experience I do not anticipate this policy stance to be altered in the foreseeable future.

The present prosecutor within Hamilton County, Lee Buckingham, was a former dui prosecutor within Noblesville under the prior administration of Sonya Leerkamp. As is customary in such circumstances policy stances of one administration tend to carry on to the next. Such is the case in the area of first time drunk driving cases prosecuted within the Noblesville courts of law.

The lesson to be taken from this information is that it essential for you and/or your attorney to be properly versed on all policy stances of a given prosecutor’s office so as to most efficiently assess all avenues for a successful resolution to one’s criminal case. More importantly, not understanding such positions will too frequently undermine any respect an assigned prosecutor may have for the designated legal representative you have entrusted your future to.

Through proper and experienced understanding of the Hamilton county courts of law, a lawyer must know how to properly navigate a client’s case in Noblesville where a pre trial dismissal on the evidence presented is not necessarily assured. A lawyer ill prepared to meet that challenge within Hamilton county will too often choose to withdraw his or her appearance on a client’s behalf, leaving an individual’s future in significant doubt.

Please be aware that I have uncovered that from May 30 through May 31 the Indiana State Police will be conducting widespread stops without probable cause within central Indiana. Areas affected include the whole of central Indiana so please be on guard for the possibility of indiscriminate checks to all motorists.

As many students are off from their educational pursuits for the summer, it is my belief that such operations are strategically planned to coincide with summer break so as to ensnare as many as underage drinking and driving suspects as possible.

While the exact location for the checkpoints is thus far undetermined, I would advise extreme caution and self awareness in regard to the consumption of alcohol and driving during the above referenced period of time. On my dui questions answered page you will find a link to find updated information in regard to statistics involving the emerging usage of these checkpoints within the central Indiana area.

Please be cautious and aware that the use of these checkpoints is for the intended purpose of ensnaring impaired drivers without normally required probable cause for a traffic stop. Whether the use of such checkpoints  should be legally sanctioned is another matter entirely. Although lawyers like myself have lead the charge to eliminate and/or reduce the indiscriminate use of such checkpoints and the corresponding potential for abuse such practices permit, their use in Indiana has been declared constitutional.

As a result, I would not suggest that one in any way familiar with constitutional practice rest on the assumption that probable cause dictates of the constitution will necessarily support any legal challenge to an arrest prompted by the use of such a checkpoint.

For any further discussion on the use of these checkpoints or any other legal issue bearing upon traffic detention and arrests taking place within Indiana please feel free to reach out for my assistance at any time.

Hamilton County criminal courts are often much different than other county courts in regard to the requirements necessary to qualify for alternative sentencing options that can shield a productive person from potential incarceration.

Absent “aggravating” legal factors (legal facts within a case that call for more severe punishment as a matter of law) clients that I protect within Noblesville for first time misdemeanor owi offenses are not often subject to the need for what is termed “Community Corrections Sentencing.” ( I am not in position to speak to the results of other lawyers or public defenders).  Such sentencing is the general term to classify two different forms of alternative punishment to incarceration applicable within DUI cases that are not eligible for dismissal.

The first form of alternative punishment to incarceration is labeled “House Arrest” or “Home Detention.” Such a sentencing requirement will confine the individual to a certain radius within the home when not at work or fulfilling the terms of any and all probation requirements such as community service, alcohol counseling, etc. A bracelet is customarily affixed to the ankle of the individual to track the individual’s location, with a home phone line adapted to meet the requirements of the monitoring apparatus.

The individual must pay on a daily basis for this sentencing alternative with the amount varying on a sliding scale factoring the income of the individual in question placed on the home detention program.

“Work Release” is a more restrictive option than home confinement yet still offers the opportunity for an individual to maintain employment. As opposed to returning to one’s residence following daily employment, one serving a Hamilton County work release sentence must return from employment or any and all probationary obligations each day to sleep at the work release facility within Noblesville. In my experience one of the true obstacles in such a circumstance is an individual’s ability to secure transportation to and from the facility to daily employment with the expectation that the individual’s driving ability will be restricted.

Overcoming such hurdles in the performance of a community corrections sentence is often just half the battle in Hamilton County. The initial challenge is the ability to secure judicial approval for such a sentence irrespective of whether a designated prosecutor has agreed to such a sentencing option.

Unlike other counties it is an absolute requirement that written pre approval for community corrections be obtained within Hamilton County before sentencing. Further, unlike other counties and depending upon the Noblesville court assigned, Hamilton County judges are extremely reluctant to allow for such a sentence to be served in another county jurisdiction. In plain english this could mean that in order to avoid a term of incarceration, an individual may have take up temporary residence within Hamilton County.

Knowledge of the Hamilton County Community Corrections department approval process is essential to all options becoming available for a client in need and to having a person released from such confinement as soon as legally possible. For example, earned jail credit time for both Home Detention and Work Release will be preserved as long as the sentence has been classified executed jail time and not sentenced as a condition of probation in court. In other words if the house arrest or work release is classified as incarceration for sentencing purposes the ordered sentence will be reduced by half.

Depending upon the Hamilton County Courtroom even Misdemeanor dui convictions can result in potential jail time depending upon whether one has a prior criminal history of any kind. For example, at the present time within Hamilton County Superior Court 6 it has been the general judicial policy that one with a dui misdemeanor with a prior conviction years earlier is presumptively subject to a 100 day period of executed jail time irrespective of when the prior conviction has occurred.

Although I have been successful in altering such a judicial stance for my clients in select cases within this court and others within Hamilton County, it is imperative that a lawyer representing a client be well versed in how to adhere to the procedural requirements necessary to even qualify for the alternative judicial treatment of community corrections sentencing. In so doing it is the hope good people otherwise destined for prison or jail can either eliminate or reduce the prospect of a complete jail/prison confinement altogether.