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Indianapolis Law Blog

Preliminary hearings in DUI cases

If an Indiana driver is caught drunk while behind the wheel, chances are they'll get arrested. The accused will then have to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. Pleading guilty is an admission that the charges are right, leading the accused directly to sentencing. Should the defendant wish to plead not guilty, they will have to attend a preliminary hearing before their case goes to trial.

In a nutshell, a preliminary hearing is sort of a trial before the trial where a judge listens to the case from both the prosecutor and the defense attorney and then decides whether there is enough evidence for the trial to move forward. In other words, the judge has to decide whether the prosecution has amassed enough evidence to convince a jury of the culpability of the defendant and whether this evidence will hold up in trial after the defense has tried to discredit it.

RHI (Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana) Sports Program Spirit of Sport Breakfast

Kelly.jpeg"Recently, Robin L. Kelly attended the RHI (Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana) Sports Program Spirit of Sport Breakfast with other area family law attorneys, showing support for the hospital's critical mission of providing personalized, compassionate care that enables individuals to regain hope and independence after life-changing injury or illness."

Dividing home equity when a marriage ends

Married couples in Indiana who choose to get divorced will likely need to figure out what to do about the marital home. The first step in making a decision is determining how much the home is worth. That can be done by getting an appraisal, and each spouse should get their own appraisal to ensure that it is done in an accurate manner. Once the home's value has been determined, a couple can choose how to split the equity.

One common method of doing so is to sell the home and split the proceeds. If one person wants to keep the home, the loan can be refinanced to take the other spouse off it. During the refinance process, equity can be pulled out of the home and split with the person who is leaving. The final option is to share the property until it makes more sense to sell or refinance.

How drug convictions may affect students

Students in Indiana who are convicted of drug-related crimes could find that the conviction affects their ability to get federal financial student aid. Students who are getting aid in the form of a work-study program, loans or grants at the time of the incident leading to the conviction could lose their eligibility.

When filling out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, students will be asked whether they have ever been convicted of a drug-related offenses while getting federal student aid. If they were, they will have to complete a worksheet to find out if their eligibility is affected. If the conviction happens while the student is receiving aid and the student received any financial aid during the ineligible period, there could be a requirement to pay it back.

Indiana has strong penalties for driving under the influence

Safe driving to avoid accidents is paramount to the people of Indiana. To this end, severe penalties have been instituted for those driving under the influence. Besides possible jail time, the economic costs can be staggering.

For most drivers in Indiana, a DUI can occur if the driver's blood alcohol content, or BAC, is more than .08 percent. There are two exceptions to this law. Commercial drivers with a BAC over .04 percent can be convicted of DUI. Those under the age of 21 with a BAC of more than .02 percent are considered driving under the influence.

Military disability benefit payments and divorce entitlements

Following a divorce in Indiana, certain marital assets are usually split. However, asset division is slightly different for soon-to-be exes of military veterans, especially when disability benefits are involved. There have been recent revisions in how a service member's retirement pay is handled during a divorce, but disability benefit pay division is handled differently.

Under certain conditions, a veteran must waive their retirement payments in order to become eligible for disability benefits. This calculation is also based on the number of dependents a veteran has. Waving retirement benefits can also affect a spouse during a military divorce since disability benefits of this nature aren't divisible in the event of a split. Because of this unique characteristic, some military veterans opt to waive retirement benefits for added protection. Plus, disability benefits are also tax exempt.

Family hopes for stricter school bus laws after crash

An Indiana mom who lost her kids in a school bus stop crash in October is fighting for tougher school bus laws. Along with lawmakers, the family is supporting stricter laws against drivers who pass buses when their lights are flashing and their stop arms are extended.

On October 30, 2018, Brittany Ingle’s three kids, a nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old twin boys, were struck and killed as they crossed a highway to board their school bus. The cross arm on the school bus was extended and the bus lights were flashing, but the driver claimed she didn’t realize she was approaching a stopped school bus and didn’t see the children until they were right in front of her.

Understanding a drunk driving arrest

People in Indiana may wonder how drunk driving arrests take place. In many cases, drivers are pulled over by police in a traffic stop after police observe driving irregularities. Police may suspect that the driver has been drinking to a point beyond the legal limit and administer a roadside breath test; if this test is positive, the suspected drunk driver may be arrested and taken to the police station for an official breath test that is admissible in court. In other cases, the driver's behavior did not bring police attention, but they were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint established by local police, especially during major events like New Year's Eve or large sports celebrations.

Being arrested for drunk driving does not mean that a person is guilty. There are a number of issues that may render the results of the breath test inadmissible, or a suspected drunk driver may never be given a proper breath test at all. In some cases, the police officer charged with administering the test may not have been trained on the proper way to conduct a breath examination.

What to do about credit card debt in a divorce

When a married couple in Indiana decides to get a divorce, one thing they will have to work out is what to do about joint debt. Credit card companies are not subject to the provisions of the divorce decree. Therefore, creditors may pursue jointly held debt from one spouse if the other one does not pay even after the divorce.

The best solution is to eliminate any joint debt. This might mean paying off the debt before the divorce is final, or it could mean canceling any joint cards. If an ex-partner files for bankruptcy on debts that are still technically in the name of both spouses, creditors could come after the other spouse for interest and penalties in addition to the original debts.

PTSD blamed for increases in veteran drinking and drunk driving

When veterans come home to Indiana, they sometimes struggle with mental health problems arising from post-traumatic stress disorder. Multiple studies have shown clear links between depression caused by PTSD and binge drinking. A new study from the American Addiction Centers has measured a recent increase in drinking among veterans and incidents of drunk driving.

From 2013 to 2017, researchers calculated an overall increase in binge drinking of 1.6 percent among veterans. The study noted that female veterans experienced a 3 percent increase in excessive drinking. Although female veterans are drinking more, their male counterparts were much more likely to be caught driving while intoxicated. When the researchers looked at the number of veterans labeled as drunk drivers since 2014, they identified a rise from 1.6 percent of veterans to 2.5 percent.

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