The experienced attorneys and staff at Hand Ponist Smith & Rayl, LLC are dedicated to giving each client the personal service that they deserve and to boldly advocating for each client’s best interests. Hand Ponist understands that the litigation process and other legal concerns can be daunting and stressful. However, our law firm strives to ease the burden as much as possible for each of our clients. We want each client to feel that their case is important and that our firm is a part of their larger family support system. Regardless of whether you need an Indianapolis criminal lawyer or representation in a civil matter, we intend to be with you at every step of the way.
Prosecutors must prove crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a tough standard to meet. There are three classes of misdemeanors, and they are punished by a maximum of one year in jail. Felonies can be punished by a term of at least six (6) months of incarceration. Criminal convictions can have lasting consequences that persist for years after a sentence is served, limiting your ability to obtain education, jobs and housing. We have helped Indiana residents fight criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies like murder and sex crimes. We also handle appeals, petitions for post-conviction relief and expungements of arrests and convictions.
In Indiana, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. If you are caught driving with a alcohol concentration equivalent (ACE) that is at least .08 gram of alcohol per 210 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood, you can be charged with a per se Operating While Intoxicated (OWI also known as DUI or DWI). If you are under age 21, the legal limit for your ACE is .02. You can also be charged with an OWI if a controlled substance or its metabolite, including for marijuana (THC), methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine or other substances shows up in your system (blood or urine sample). The sentence for a OWI conviction in Indiana depends on your ACE level, the nature and number of any prior convictions, the age of any passengers and if anyone was injured in a crash. Our Indianapolis criminal attorneys can investigate the events that led to a OWI charge and fight to keep your record clean.Traffic Violations
Many people feel that they may as well just pay a traffic ticket after being cited and move forward. However, when you pay a traffic ticket, you have plead guilty. Traffic violations can seem minor and not worth fighting, but as they accumulate, they can have far-reaching consequences. Most will result in points on your driver’s license. Points on your driving record can cause your license to be suspended, can make your car insurance rates go up and eventually can cause you to become an Habitual Traffic Violator. Convictions for some traffic tickets can affect your ability to get a job, especially one that involves driving. For some traffic violations, you may even face jail time and sizable fines. Also, your traffic violation may be used in a civil lawsuit if the violation caused an accident.Family Law
Our attorneys are experienced in the sensitive matters related to the dissolution of a marriage. The most commonly asserted ground for divorce in Indiana is an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship. You do not need to show fault to get a divorce. However, even when fault is not used to obtain a divorce, the proceedings can be acrimonious regarding any of the related family law issues that must be resolved, such as child custody, property distribution, child support, or spousal support. Indiana is an equitable distribution state, in which assets obtained both during and before a marriage may be subject to division after a divorce. In Indiana, child custody is determined according to the best interests of the child.Civil Litigation
Civil litigation covers most disputes that do not involve criminal charges. Broadly speaking, these lawsuits may involve torts or contracts. Personal injury lawsuits, for example, are tort-based. They can be brought based on medical malpractice, slip and falls, and motor vehicle accidents. By contrast, in a contract case, the defendant allegedly has made and failed to honor a binding promise to the plaintiff. Contract disputes often arise in the context of business litigation. In addition to serving as Indianapolis criminal lawyers, our attorneys handle civil litigation in state and local courts.Estate Planning and Probate
Estate planning is crucial. With appropriate estate planning, you will need to consider who should receive your property after you pass away. If you have children, you will need to consider whom you wish to raise them if the child’s co-parent and you pass away before they are adults. You also will need to consider who should take care of you if you become incapacitated, such that you cannot make your own decisions. There are three types of estate administration in Indiana: supervised, unsupervised, and small estates. In supervised estate administration, a personal representative must be appointed, and the court needs to approve the sale or distribution of property. It is less expensive to have unsupervised administration. Small estates of $50,000 or less need not be administered, and their assets can be transferred through affidavits.Education Law
Our partner Joel Hand leads Hand Ponist Smith & Rayl, LLC’s education law practice. Mr. Hand previously held a secondary education teacher’s certification in Indiana. He can counsel and represent educators, administrators, students, and parents. All students identified as qualifying for special education services in the U.S. have a right to Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and have other protections under Indiana Article 7. Among other things, our firm can help make sure that a special education student gets a proper Individualized Education Plan (IEP) under IDEA. We also represent students in hearings and appeals of suspension and expulsion disciplinary matters, represent schools and school boards, and represent educators in hearings and appeals related to teacher’s license suspension, revocation, and reinstatement.Lobbying
It is important to choose an advocate who can effectively and ethically present your interests to elected and appointed officials at the city, county or state level of government. In Indiana, any person who is paid at least $500 to contact a member of the legislative branch to influence the outcome of legislation must register as a legislative lobbyist. Mr. Hand has been a registered legislative lobbyist since 2011 who has experience working for individual clients in the Indiana State House and for state agencies on legislative issues. He can effectively present your interests to elected and appointed officials, and he is widely respected on both sides of the aisle. Over the years, he has helped with crafting many pieces of legislation and has successfully lobbied against legislation that his clients found adverse to their objectives.Business Law
We represent businesses and nonprofits in transactions and litigation. During the business formation process, we can help clients determine which business structure would help them best meet their objectives. The structure of the business, whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, S-corporation, or C-corporation, can affect issues important to a business’ long-term success, such as taxation and liability. Sometimes Indiana is the best place for a client to organize their business. In other cases, it may be wiser to organize under the statutes of another state, such as Delaware if the business owner wishes to take advantage of Delaware’s corporate law. We invite you to visit our business law site to learn more about our representation in this area.Consult an Experienced Criminal or Civil Attorney
Litigation can be daunting. We try to ease the burden for our clients, and we stand with each client at every step of the way. Whether you need a criminal attorney in Indianapolis or assistance with a civil matter, you can discuss your next steps with the attorneys at Hand Ponist Smith & Rayl, LLC. We represent clients throughout Indiana. Call us at (317) 964-6000 or complete our online form.