Do I need an attorney if I am contacted by DCS about my children? Yes. Your right to parent your child is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But, just like any other right in life, it is not absolute. For example, parents can discipline their children (known as the parental privilege) but do not have carte blanche to abuse or neglect their children. When a child is in a detrimental home environment or is found not having their basic needs met, then the State can become involved to protect the child. These questions ...
February 6, 2019CD
Probably. Divorce is unique in civil suits because the parties likely will continue to know each other (particularly) if they have children and interact into the future. With a divorce if you lose custody, child support is wrong, or the property is not properly divided or completely divided, you need to appeal to protect your future rights. This blog explores why you should consider an appeal in divorce and paternity cases. Where children are involved (divorce or paternity), if child custody is at issue, the parent who does not prevail should consider an appeal if there are viable issues. Just waiting ...
January 15, 2019CD
“You have the right to remain silent” is a phrase most have heard, whether it be from a television show or personal experience. This phrase is from what is known as (a part of the) Miranda rights. Miranda rights are a centerpiece of the American legal system and arise out of the United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. When exactly does an officer have to read an individual their Miranda rights? And what happens if an individual is not read their Miranda rights? The short and simple answer is that— it depends. As is generally the case in ...
November 27, 2018CD
Probably not, at least right away. Ultimately, yes. Much of what lawyers and clients do in the legal system is far removed from the courtroom. However, where litigation is involved, the stakes are often high—in terms of loss of freedom, money/property or children. This type of litigation is a client’s life. A court loss is traumatic and sometimes leads to an appeal. All appeals are important but sometimes litigants just want “to go to the supreme court”. This blog covers few cases that automatically go to the Indiana Supreme Court versus the Court of Appeals and covers how a case ...
November 20, 2018CD
The Rules of Appellate Procedure are intended to be very specific, time-sensitive, and speedy for justice and make the Indiana Court of Appeals one of the most efficient in the Country. The average appeal follows certain precise Appellate Rules that typically do not fluctuate in terms of when you are required to initiate your appeal – thirty (30) days after a “final” order is issued by the trial court. No rules are perfect. This blog covers for unique situations or anomalies that are not always apparent in the final-rule order and impact when you can appeal; you must know and ...
November 7, 2018CD
“Paraphernalia” is a strange word, but one that most of us have heard at some point in our lives. But what exactly does it mean? And what are the legal consequences involved if it is criminal contraband? The term paraphernalia is used in many contexts and has varying legal consequences depending on circumstances, such as, whether you are in possession of paraphernalia or whether you manufacture paraphernalia. In the (penal) drug world, possession of paraphernalia in defined as possession of “an instrument, a device, or another object that the person intends to use for” (1) introducing drugs into one’s body; ...
November 6, 2018CD
Under Indiana law, you can be convicted of possession of illegal drugs (or other contraband such as a gun) found during the search of a passenger vehicle, even if you are merely the passenger. This concept is called constructive possession and is used to charge and convict both drivers and/or passengers when there is no way for the State to prove direct ownership or control over the drugs or who knew the illegal items were in the car. This is not a new legal concept. To balance innocence, in cases of constructive possession, the State is required to prove the existence ...
October 24, 2018CD
“You have the right to an attorney” is a common phrase most everyone has heard. But what is the significance of this phrase? And how far does this right extend? An individual, in criminal proceedings, always has the right to an attorney. This right is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The importance of this right is that it ensures the defendant is not subject to unfair coercion on the part of the state or government. As such, police officers are required to “advise” individuals of their right to an attorney in certain situations. One such ...
October 18, 2018CD
All parents have the fundamental right to the care, custody, and control of their child(ren).1 Basically, this means parents can raise their children in their own way--even if most people disagree with their style. While this is a fundamental constitutional right, it is not absolute. When a parent presents a risk or danger to a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing, DCS may file a Children in Need of Services (CHINS) case and the Court opens a CHINS case. The CHINS process is designed to allow an investigation into suspected abuse and neglect and provide the parents (and children) with services ...
October 4, 2018CD
If you are divorced, and your children plan to attend college, the divorce court can order you to contribute to college expenses after the children turn eighteen.1 If your dissolution decree does not address the division of college expenses, there is significant potential for argument and litigation over what amount each parent should pay; how the child will contribute; and what expenses will be included in an order to pay college expenses. Indiana courts have wide discretion over the amounts that each parent may be required to pay, as well as what types of expenses will be included. This blog ...
September 12, 2018CD