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Porter County & Lake County Criminal Defense Lawyer

The philosophy of the Law Office of Andrew L. Bennett, P.C. is to understand and be responsive to our clients’ needs in Porter County and the surrounding counties, which includes respect to the person and the court process. We are devoted to providing exceptional legal representation, striving for the best possible outcome for each and every client we represent. The attorney and staff at Law Office of Andrew L. Bennett, P.C. delivers this to our clients by maintaining a strong report with our clients, other legal professionals and the bench. Additionally, by managing our clients' cases in an efficient, caring and proactive manner, including communicating with our clients consistently through letters, phone calls, emails and text, we look to achieve the end result desired by our clients.

Andrew L. Bennett is an experienced Valparaiso criminal defense and OWI / DUI trial attorney, with 20 years practicing law. His trial experience includes high level felony drug cases, Reckless Homicide cases, felony OWI cases including serious bodily injury and felony fraud cases as well as numerous misdemeanor cases. The majority of his first 16 years of practice was spent as a deputy prosecuting attorney where he concentrated on OWI/DUI cases including OWI Causing Death cases. In his capacity as a deputy prosecuting attorney, Andrew Bennett would routinely go to crash scenes at all hours of the day or night. Additionally, many times throughout the year he would conduct training for law enforcement officers in the areas of OWI case law and fatality scene investigation, case law on reasonable suspicion and probable cause, search & seizure, and also courtroom testimony. He also participated in law enforcement training in the areas of NHTSA Field Sobriety Testing, the use of the ECIR II which is used to obtain a breath test in an OWI case, Drug Recognition Expert training, trail practice skills. This has provided him with a unique experience as compared to most defense attorneys and great insight into and knowledge of the criminal justice system. Andrew Bennett knows how to analyze a case from the perspective of both the prosecution and the defense to determine what evidence is critical to the best outcome possible. He understands the position of the prosecutor and knows how to negotiate your case and will assist you in deciding if it makes sense to take your case to trial.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense in the greater Valparaiso area includes defense of individuals charged with criminal activity. Misdemeanor crimes range from Class C misdemeanor to Class A misdemeanor having penalty ranges from a few months to a year in jail. Felony criminal activity ranges from Level 6 to Level 1 felonies, and Murder. Felony convictions can result in jail sentences from a few years to decades in prison. Many crimes also have consequences in addition to incarceration. If you are convicted of a felony or a Domestic Battery charge or some other crime that has a Brady disqualifier you will lose the ability to carry a firearm. Defenses to a battery charge include self-defense, if your use of force was reasonable to the situation. Other defenses include entrapment, duress, abandonment as well as others. Defenses, however, need to be raised at a specific point in the progress of your case and having an experienced criminal defense lawyer, such as Valparaiso Criminal Defense lawyer Andrew L. Bennett, may make the difference between having the defense available or having it waived.

Drug Crimes

Drug Crimes range from simple possession to dealing, manufacturing or trafficking controlled substances. Drugs cases can involve narcotics, schedule I through V controlled substances, legend drugs, or possession of syringes and paraphernalia. Many drug crimes have strict penalties including license suspension, increased penalties for either being within 500 feet of a school or park, or enhancing circumstances. There are defenses to drug cases that an experienced criminal defense attorney can discuss with you if you find that you have been charged with a drug crime in or near Valparaiso, Indiana.

OWI/DUI

The state of Indiana has strict penalties for drunk driving including license suspension, mandatory community service obligations or jail. This also includes harsher penalties for subsequent convictions, having a minor person in the car, or causing serious bodily injury or death. A blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher is operating while intoxicated (per se). A conviction of operating while intoxicated (impaired) does not only include alcohol, it also includes driving under the influence of illegal substances, over the counter medication, or prescription drugs that impair the driver's ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. You should consider your OWI charge very seriously, a conviction will have long lasting consequences that will not only affect your driver’s license, but also your future, your personal freedom and your employment. If you live in a community near Valparaiso, you shouldn't hire just any attorney, consider an attorney who has the knowledge and skill in this technical and complicated area of law. Hire an OWI / DUI attorney who knows the courts in Northwest Indiana to include Lake, Porter, La Porte, Jasper and other surrounding counties.

Specialized Driving Privileges

If your license is suspended you may qualify for a specialized driving privilege. The specialized driving privileges law (I.C. 9-30-16-et al) recognizes the ability to drive is essential to maintain employment, the economy and to prevent individuals from having to rely on social services due to the loss of employment. Specialized driving privileges (SDP) give you the ability to drive to and from work, medical appointments, essentials for your kids, grocery store, and for almost any legitimate reason. This statute has taken the place of the older hardship/restricted license laws, which were more rigid and narrow.

Traffic Infractions

The state of Indiana operates on a point system for traffic violations. The severity of the infraction dictates the points assessed to your driving record. Points range in value between 0 and 8 points. If you’re found liable for a violation which carries points, those points will stay on your driving record for a period of 2 years, however the judgment will always remain on your record. There are two different types of violations in Indiana: moving and non-moving. A moving violation is a violation committed while you are driving the car. A non-moving violation is any other citation, such as a parking ticket or equipment violation. The BMV may suspend your license for accumulating too many points. Additionally, of you fail to appear for a court hearing the court could impose a default judgment and suspend your license. If you have been cited with a traffic violation in Valparaiso as well as the surrounding communities, seriously consider speaking with an attorney before paying ticket.

License Clean-Up

The Indiana BMV takes traffic offenses seriously and drivers who receive 3 major violations or 10 moving infractions, to include at least one major violation, in a 10 year period can be deemed a habitual traffic violators (HTV). This means a driver could lose their driver’s license for up to 10 years. Having your driving record cleaned-up is a good way to keep your insurance rates lower and most importantly to avoid losing your license. Consider consulting with an experienced traffic attorney to see if your license can be cleaned up.

Expungments

Expungement involves the sealing of a criminal record after the expiration of the required time period or when an arrest is unlawful or does not result in a conviction. Initiated through a court process, the result of expungement is that a person’s criminal history is, for most purposes, erased or sealed. After an expungement, with limited exception, you do not have to report your criminal history to an employer, landlord or others. Getting a job often means that your potential boss will review your criminal or driving record, and renting an apartment often means going through a criminal background check.

Many times it has been said that an attorney can handle any type of legal matter. While this is true, any attorney can represent a client with any legal matter, with some limited exceptions; just because an attorney can does not mean the attorney should. When looking for an attorney to properly represent you in your OWI / DUI or criminal case, care should be taken to determine if the attorney has the required knowledge and experience to fully represent the client. To put it another way, you wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for a brain tumor, even though they are both doctors. If you’re in Northwest Indiana and you are looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney, a knowledgeable lawyer to represent you in your OWI/DUI case, or an attorney to help with traffic infractions including getting your license valid, look to the Law Office of Andrew L. Bennett, P.C. to provide your legal representation. At the Law Office of Andrew L. Bennett, we will guide you through the criminal/court process every step of the way. We can be reached at (219) 228-8886 or use our contact form online to set up a free confidential consultation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
When I first had my issue I went through the pain staking search of who to represent me. I went through a number of people before reaching Mr. Bennett. When I asked Mr. Bennett about costs, he was quick to offer a payment plan without even knowing anything about my financial situation. This was important, because my case had the potential to incur additional costs soon after hiring him... Kevin P.
★★★★★
I hired Andrew after receiving a speeding violation in Porter County. He did an outstanding job and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney to discover your options, even if it is "just" a moving violation. Thanks again Mr. Bennett. John
★★★★★
We have nothing to be upset about with Andrew he is wonderful lawyer And person who actually cares about u and your case. He responds fast and makes time for your schedule. We needed someone desperately to appear in court with my husband and he went that day and helped my husband in a violation probation and has answered all our calls and questions. He is very kind and I am forever grateful for all his dedication and outstanding work... Christy
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