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Indianapolis Criminal Defense Law Blog

Get a second opinion regarding appealing a criminal conviction

When you decided to go to trial and let the court decide your fate, you might not have expected that the court would actually convict you. You've probably heard from one source or another that the possibility of appealing a conviction exists. In truth, you can only appeal your conviction under certain circumstances.

Many people believe that they can file an appeal for any error, irregularity or defect that may occur during the trial. However, if the error failed to substantially or materially affect you or your rights, it doesn't provide you with grounds for appeal. The law considers errors that fall into this category as "harmless errors." So, what isn't considered a harmless error?

One of Prince's opiate prescriptions was in another man's name

Internationally renowned entertainer Prince Nelson Rogers died a year ago last week. Surrounding the anniversary of his death came some news that may shed some light on how the performer suffered before he died.

Prince died of a fentanyl overdose on April 21 of last year. Although an overdose isn't automatically suspicious, law enforcement decided to look very carefully into the 57 year-old's death in order to discover how he came to use fentanyl, an unusually strong opioid medication. Although that investigation isn't over, some of the results have now been released.

AG Sessions shuts down forensic evidence reform commission

DNA evidence may not be perfect, but it has one truly critical application: Exonerating people who have been wrongly convicted. Since 1989, the Innocence Project says, DNA evidence has led to the exoneration of 349 people. Those people had served a total of 4,763 in prison for crimes they didn't commit. Forty-six percent of the time, their convictions were obtained, at least in part, because the prosecution presented forensic evidence that was misapplied.

In 2012, the Justice Department admitted that numerous, wrongly convicted people were sitting in prison despite the FBI knowing the evidence in their cases was flawed.

Is the IRS targeting innocent businesses for alleged fraud?

Hollywood dramatizations have sometimes referenced the ten thousand dollar reporting requirement that applies to banks. Such depictions often involve characters depositing illegally earned income. Yet a series of deposits just under that threshold may also draw IRS scrutiny.

Specifically, the Bank Secrecy Act allows the IRS to look for a pattern of deposits just under $10,000. The activity might be viewed as structuring, a term used to identify potential money laundering or other illegal activity. Unfortunately, a recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded that the IRS’s Criminal Investigation unity might not be utilizing the intended authority conferred by the Bank Secrecy Act.

White collar criminal defendant agrees to a guity plea

Authorities punish crimes involving fraud very seriously. A defendant accused of defrauding $2 million from two-dozen investors across the country, including an Indiana farmer, recently learned this truth the hard way.  The man has been sentenced to 15 years for his schemes, plus another three years under supervision.

According to the allegations, the man told his victims that they would be investing in farmland. However, he never made any land purchases. Authorities claim the man spent investors' funds on items like expensive cars.

An officer requests that you exit your vehicle: Should you?

You're driving along an Indiana road with a few friends. You've all been working and studying hard, and you've been looking forward to spring break. It's finally here, and you can't wait to kick back and enjoy some good food, company and local nightlife. In fact, thousands of other young adults your age are likely doing many of the same things this time of year.

As always, if you plan to drive a motor vehicle to reach your social destination, it's best to familiarize yourself with state traffic laws ahead of time. Nothing can bring your spring break fun to a halt like getting pulled over by police and charged with a drug crime.

Will a sexual assault conviction put you on the registry?

A recent update to Indiana’s state sex offender registry underscores the serious consequences of a sex crime conviction.

The update resulted in the compilation of the 25 most wanted offenders in 17 counties across the state. The individuals allegedly have failed to comply with their requirements of the registry. Without that monitoring, state officials view the individuals as a potential danger to the public.

What is considered a violation of probation in Indiana?

A criminal conviction is undoubtedly upsetting; however, it does not have to destroy your future. If you are able to negotiate or otherwise receive a more lenient sentence, you can still maintain some semblance of normalcy in your life, especially if it allows you to avoid incarceration.

This is why it can be such a relief to be placed on probation and not behind bars. That being said, you must understand that probation is still very serious, and you must still follow strict rules. If you do not, you risk violating your probation and having it revoked. 

Drug crimes may implicate both state and federal charges

Officials across the country have been mounting large-scale drug stings. Last week, a force involving federal, state and local law enforcement officers served arrest warrants on over 40 suspects in a nearby jurisdiction. The suspects are accused of various drug crimes, including dealing. Of particular note is the preparation that went into the sting: Authorities began their investigation about six months in advance.

If you have been arrested on drug charges, it is important to understand the types of charges you may need to defend against. The specific charge generally depends on the type of drug, the amount, and whether misdemeanor, felony or even federal drug charges apply.

Do long-term care facilities mishandle claims of sexual abuse?

A recent article exposed a disturbing statistic: Since 2000, over 16,000 complaints of sex crimes have been reported in long-term care facilities across the United States. The data, collected by the Administration for Community Living, tracked only complaints where state long-term care ombudsmen became involved in the case resolutions.

However, it is important to distinguish unsupported allegations from substantiated claims. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services maintain a database of abuse complaints. That data indicates that 226 nursing homes have been cited for failing to protect residents from substantiated instances of sexual abuse between 2010 and 2015. Records of unsubstantiated allegations were not kept. Similarly, state agencies generally will not release an alleged perpetrator’s name until the allegations against him or her have been substantiated.

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