It’s not uncommon for people to come to Indiana for a night, a weekend, or a special event–and run into legal trouble, usually after a bit of drinking. Perhaps you’ve gotten slapped with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)charge, Indiana’s DUI. Or maybe you got into a fight and were arrested for disorderly conduct.
Whatever the charge, you have to face the consequences of your actions, which means following Indiana procedures, even if you’re not an Indiana resident. Here’s what you’ll most likely need to do next.
1. Call a criminal defense lawyer
If you’re out of state resident arrested for a crime in Indiana, it becomes more important than ever to have a good Indiana criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can explain the process that lies ahead, advise you on the legal strategies and defenses, and represent you in court. If you cannot afford an attorney, then the court will appoint one for you.
2. Attend an initial hearing
Within 48 hours of your arrest, you’ll attend an initial hearing, where a judge will determine whether the police had probable cause to arrest you, tell you the charges against you, and set bail. You can also enter a guilty or not-guilty plea at this time. It’s critical to have an attorney to advise you at this point. If you don’t, you should plead ‘not guilty’ until you have an opportunity to speak with an attorney. You can change your plea to ‘guilty’ later if there is the best course of action for you.
3. Post bail
If necessary, arrange to have a family member, friend or bond agent to post bail so that the police can release you from jail.
4. Stay in close contact with your attorney.
You can’t just post bail and leave the state, thinking there’s nothing more to be done. The court will probably require your presence at court dates in the future. Your attorney can keep you notified about these dates. If you can’t attend, your attorney can represent you there or work out a plea deal, if possible.
Note that if you ignore a court date and don’t have an Indiana attorney to represent you, the court may open a warrant for your arrest. As you certainly don’t want this to happen, stay on top of the proceedings and follow the instructions your attorney gives you. That way, you can end this phase of your life faster and put the incident in the past.