Hamilton County is not like other Indiana counties when it comes to DUI defense. Those in the know will tell you that Hamilton County has its own unique rules and policies that must be followed in order to secure the best defense possible.
Far too frequently, I have had to take over the legal defense of a client who had retained an out of county attorney for their Hamilton County legal defense. Unfortunately, such a lawyer will apply the practice of their own county to a Hamilton County case, much to the detriment of a client who deserves better.
I would strongly encourage review of my page on Avoiding Bad Lawyers to avoid become a victim of a lawyer not equipped to effectively handle the legal defense of you or one you care for.
Hamilton County is known as one of the most difficult on DUI case sentences in the state of Indiana. A familiarity with the views of each of the three superior court judges in Noblesville is critical to achieving successful results. With over 25 years of experience in Hamilton County I know what steps to take and when to take them in order to put my clients in the best position to succeed.
There is nothing inherently wrong about a lawyer taking on cases directed against a client who has been charged with an offense not customarily within his territory of practice. In fact, a significant number of my legal cases involve the defense of prosecutions outside of Hamilton County.
However, a significant problem arises when an attorney’s inexperience within a particular county court results in a client being potentially being taken advantage of. As many unfortunate people have learned over the years, Hamilton County is not always one that follows the norm in regard to how defense cases are handled.
Whether it be in regard to case procedure, pre conditions to allowing certain case outcomes or judicial philosophy as to appropriate sentences within criminal cases, as an attorney with over 25 years practicing within Hamilton County, I am uniquely positioned to navigate this county’s unique standards to a client’s advantage.
Conversely, a failure to understand how to best use the procedural process here to a client’s benefit can limit potential alternatives otherwise available. Unfortunately, in most such instances of lawyer inexperience, the legal remedy most often chosen by an attorney is to file what is called a “Withdrawal” of appearance on the client’s behalf. In effect such a legal filing asks the presiding judge to relieve the attorney of further responsibility within a given criminal case. Although the lawyer may be permitted to exit a case, the client who had entrusted faith in that individual attorney is left to scramble for suitable counsel to rectify a potentially weakened criminal defense.
Of particular anguish are those cases where sufficient time has elapsed whereby the presiding judge will not allow an attorney to withdraw his or her appearance on a client’s behalf. It is then that the person charged is left to find competent legal counsel on short legal notice willing to take over representation of a case where legal remedies otherwise available may have been compromised.
On many such occurrences financial considerations in securing alternative counsel can prevent the retention of successor counsel; or counsel mindful of preserving a good reputation may be unwilling to defend one whose chance of success has been reduced by the work of the former out of county legal counsel.
Mindful of such realities I would suggest in no uncertain terms that one charged with a criminal offense in Hamilton County thoroughly vet the knowledge and experience level of a lawyer they may be considering; not only as to experience in defending criminal prosecutions, but just as importantly knowing how to best defend the legal interests of those charged within a Hamilton County criminal courtroom.
Hamilton County Court Procedure
The Hamilton County criminal court system has its county seat in Noblesville, Indiana. The legal significance of this location is that most all felony and misdemeanor cases are heard within the County Courthouse in Noblesville. Carmel City Court, located in Carmel Indiana, is a criminal court enabled to hear misdemeanor cases only. However, at the present time, all criminal case filings other than non dui traffic offenses are heard within one of the Superior Courts in Noblesville. As a result, whether a criminal offense you have been accused of occurred in Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Sheridan or Noblesville, your case (other than a misdmeanor traffic offense) will be heard within one of the County Superior Courts in Noblesville.
Just as the court system in Hamilton County is centered in Noblesville, the County prosecutor is as well. No matter whether the investigative police agency is located in Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, etc. all criminal cases are ultimately brought to the prosecutor’s office in Noblesville for review.
If the criminal offense charged is a felony, the accused would need to appear for the Initial Hearing whether one has retained an attorney or not. At this Initial Hearing held for all felony prosecutions, the Defendant is to be advised of the criminal charges, the Defendant’s address is confirmed, bail and/or the conditions of pre trial release is discussed and the identity of legal counsel is put on record. Thereafter, the case would be re assigned to a different, randomly assigned superior court for what is called a “Pre Trial Conference.”
Once again, depending upon the court the case has been assigned to, the experienced attorney will know to advise a client as to whether a future appearance will be required. This Pre Trial Conference is most notably assigned to address “discovery” issues. These issues can include deadlines for the prosecution to disclose information to the defense attorney including proposals that may be able to resolve a case favorably prior to trial.
Unlike other counties in Indiana, in Hamilton County criminal cases cannot usually be concluded at a pre trial conference even when an agreement has been reached. In most cases courts here require for case settlements on either a pre determined guilty plea hearing or on occasion on a “bench” trial date for a misdemeanor case where a jury is not present.
Depending upon the court assigned to, some judges are reluctant to relinquish control over a Defendant’s sentence to another county. This is particularly so in cases where a defense or dui attorney in Noblesville or Carmel may otherwise arrange alternative sentencing options for people residing in another county or state. As a result your criminal defense attorney must have the experience necessary to fashion options that require any probation terms to be fulfilled outside of the county where warranted and in cases unable to be dismissed without trial.
The reputation of Hamilton County Indiana as one that is less lenient when it comes to criminal sentencing options is often well founded. How one secures the most favorable outcome often depends on the defense attorney’s knowledge of local court procedure, judicial philosophy of the judge assigned to your case and a working relationship with the prosecutors within Hamilton County.