Tenacious Criminal Law Attorney Serving Indianapolis
A criminal conviction, even for a minor offense, can leave a lasting impact on your life. Consequences can persist long after any penalty you receive, hampering your ability to pursue jobs, education, and housing. Since so much is at stake, you should seek the guidance of a criminal defense lawyer at Smith & Rayl if you have been charged with a crime in the Indianapolis area. Susan Rayl is familiar with the wide range of options available to defendants. She has helped Indiana residents fight charges ranging from misdemeanors, such as shoplifting and marijuana possession, to the most serious felonies, including murder, burglary, and sex offenses. Ms. Rayl also has amassed experience in the areas of appeals, post-conviction relief, sentence modification, probation violations, diversions, and expungements.
Protect Your Rights Against the Prosecution
People facing criminal charges have many tools at their disposal. Aggressive prosecutors may try to intimidate you, and law enforcement sometimes cuts corners in assembling the evidence needed to secure a conviction. With a skilled defense lawyer on your side, you can hold prosecutors at bay and exploit any flaws that emerge in the case against you. Every element of a criminal charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant. This is a high standard to meet, and it is the task of your attorney to hold the prosecution to it.
A defense lawyer often will argue that certain evidence should be excluded from consideration. For example, the police must get a valid warrant in most situations before searching your home or car. The warrant must be supported by probable cause that criminal activity is involved. If an officer searches your house without a warrant, or gets a warrant without probable cause, your attorney can ask the judge to exclude any evidence that the officer seized. In many situations, the charges will fall apart if vital evidence cannot be introduced. In other situations, weakening the prosecution’s evidence will place a defendant in a more favorable position during the plea bargaining process or in going forward to trial.
Your lawyer also might challenge the credibility of witnesses for the prosecution. For example, people hostile to a defendant might try to offer false testimony as revenge for a personal grudge. People can make honest mistakes in identification as well, sometimes caused by the stress of witnessing a crime.
Unfortunately, a judge or a jury can make a mistake. When this happens, you may appeal your sentence to a higher court. A defense lawyer will be able to make nuanced legal arguments at the appellate level to show that court why the original decision was misguided. In addition, your attorney can help you try to reduce your sentence if the penalty imposed by the trial court was too harsh.
If your conviction and penalty are sustained, and all your rights to appeal have been exhausted, there remains the possibility of going back to the original trial court and filing a petition for post-conviction relief, a procedure that allows a convicted person to request a new trial. Grounds for post-conviction relief are limited, but they include some situations in which new evidence is discovered after the trial and some types of ineffective assistance of counsel.
After your sentence has been served, you may be able to have your conviction expunged from your criminal record. It is also possible to expunge an arrest that did not result in a conviction. This can erase the stain of a criminal record when you are seeking employment and trying to rebuild your life. Getting an expungement can be complicated, however, so you will need the advice of a seasoned attorney to give yourself the strongest possible chance at a positive outcome.
Fight Criminal Charges With an Indianapolis Lawyer
Even if the prosecution seems to have a strong case, knowledgeable defense counsel can work closely with you to find its weakest areas. If you face the charges on your own, by contrast, you may not be able to fully protect your rights. In such a serious situation, you will benefit from a candid conversation with experienced criminal defense attorney Susan Rayl. We take pride in representing defendants from Indianapolis, Marion County, and throughout Indiana. To discuss the details of your case with us, call (317) 964-6000 or complete our contact form today.