What to Expect if You've Been Charged with a Misdemeanor: An Overview
Welcome and thank you for your trust. The attorneys and staff at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C., recognize that facing a criminal charge is a stressful event. Feelings of fear, nervousness, anxiety, confusion, helplessness, remorse or anger are common when you are accused of a crime. Our objective is to make sure you understand the nature of the crime or crimes with which you’ve been charged, and to ensure that you understand all applicable laws and their consequences, as well as your options. Remember, you are not alone. In a typical year in the Allen Superior Court, Traffic and Misdemeanor Division, the State files over 10,000 misdemeanor cases! Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty of the crime charged. Even if you believe you committed an offense, you still might have a number of options.
The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C., have represented hundreds of men and women charged with one or more violations of Indiana’s criminal code. Each of us has tried numerous cases before juries and judges within the Allen Superior Court, Misdemeanor and Traffic Division. Whether you intend to proceed to trial or plead guilty in the event a favorable plea bargain can be negotiated, we can help you. Our experience and commitment to criminal defense enables us to provide you with vigorous representation.
“Even the intelligent and educated layman has small and sometimes no skill in the science of law. He is unfamiliar with the rules of evidence… he lacks both the skill and knowledge to adequately prepare his defense, even though he has a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings…” Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 68-69 (1932).
The Indiana criminal code is a complex body of law. The criminal justice system and process can be overwhelming for those charged with a crime. The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. are well aware of the relevant criminal laws and procedures that affect your case.
There are three levels of misdemeanors: Class A, B and C. Class A misdemeanors are punishable up to one (1) year in jail, whereas Class C misdemeanors are punishable up to a maximum of sixty (60) days in jail. The following chart sets forth the range of penalties for each class.
|A Misdemeanor||0-365 days in jail||1 year in jail||$5,000|
|B Misdemeanor||0-180 days in jail||180 days in jail||$1,000|
|C Misdemeanor||0-60 days in jail||60 days in jail||$500|
We invite you to tour our website to learn more. Please contact our office to speak with an attorney about your situation. You will not be charged for the telephone consultation.
A basic overview of the Allen Superior Court, Misdemeanor and Traffic Division, process is described below:*
- The State of Indiana files a criminal charge against a Defendant.
- The Defendant is arrested and/or surrenders to an arrest warrant.
- The Court determines the conditions of the Defendant’s bail bond.
- The Defendant appears in court for her Initial Hearing.
- A preliminary plea of not guilty is entered and the Defendant is asked if she wishes to hire an attorney; the attorney develops a plan that might include taking depositions or interviewing potential defense witnesses, the filing of applicable pre-trial motions (such as a motion to suppress evidence) and a thorough investigation of the alleged incident.
- When applicable, the Defendant may choose to either plead guilty, accept a recommendation to the Pre-Trial Diversion Program (if applicable) or proceed to trial (either before a jury or judge).
* This information is merely an overview of the process. Individual cases might vary.
** Pursuant to I.C. 35-33-7-3, if the prosecuting attorney requests additional time to evaluate the case to determine the appropriate charge(s), the court must continue the initial hearing for up to 72 hours, excluding intervening Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. You should discuss any questions with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The first step in misdemeanor court is your Initial Hearing. This hearing can actually be quite quick. However, you will not be the only person with a court date scheduled for 9:00 a.m. in the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division. It is quite common that many other people (sometimes hundreds) will also be given a court date on the same date and the same time as yours. Defendants who are represented by attorneys will usually have their cases called first, but please keep in mind that your case might be called after 9:00 a.m.
At your Initial Hearing, the Court (judge or magistrate) will advise you that you have the right to retain counsel, that you have the right to assigned counsel (public defender) if you are indigent, the right to a speedy trial, the amount and condition(s) of bail, your right against self-incrimination and the nature of the charge(s). The Allen Superior Court, Traffic and Misdemeanor Division, will play a videotaped recording of your rights on the morning of your Initial Hearing. Also at your Initial Hearing, the court will enter a preliminary plea of not guilty on your behalf. Most Initial Hearings in the Allen Superior Court, traffic and misdemeanor division, are scheduled for 9:00 a.m.
You should plan to arrive several minutes early to ensure that you view the videotape replay of the advice of rights. The judges typically schedule future court dates two (2) weeks out from the date of your Initial Hearing. However, you should make sure to listen to the judge when he or she announces your next court date and should write that date for your records. As soon as you get home, put the date in your calendar and place a reminder in a place where you will not forget it. If a Defendant misses a court date, the judges will typically order a warrant for the Defendant’s arrest. Accordingly, you must always appear in court for your court date unless your attorney specifically advises you to do something different. If your court date conflicts with a previously scheduled vacation or business appointment, please discuss this with your attorney to see if this scheduling conflict can be resolved. The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C., will make their best efforts to get you in and out of court as quickly as possible on your scheduled court dates.
We hope this information is helpful. We look forward to working with you and thank you for choosing us to represent you.
The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C.
- Albert Anzini
- Greg Miller
- Bart Arnold
- Jeff Terrill
The information contained herein is intended to provide a basic overview of what a criminal defendant might experience when facing a misdemeanor charge within the Allen Superior Court, Traffic and Misdemeanor Division. The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. are not guaranteeing results in any individual cases and the information contained herein is intended as a general guide and overview. Additionally, the laws and procedure are subject to change. Accordingly, you should always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal advice and guidance. The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. also represents individuals accused of misdemeanors and/or felonies in counties throughout northeast Indiana.