evansville criminal defense lawyer
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ATTORNEY AT LAW
INDIANA UNIVERSITY BLOOMINGTON
Attorney Kurt Schnepper graduated from Indiana University University Bloomington in 1996, obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science and Public Administration and went on to Valparaiso University School of Law to obtain his J.D. in 1999;
Experience: Kurt began his career in 1999 working as an attorney in small law firm handling family law, business law, estates, probate, estate planning, guardianships, child support, custody modification, divorce, small claims, real estate contracts; in 2001 Kurt became a deputy prosecutor in Vanderburgh County and was introduced to criminal law. Kurt began in Misdemeanors Court handling drunk driving, OMVWI, battery, theft, shoplifting, public indecency, intoxication, drug possession cases including marijuana, paraphernalia
After a few months as a deputy prosecutor, Attorney Kurt Schnepper became a felony prosecutor completing his first jury trial in 2001. Attorney Schnepper went on to complete over 50 jury trials as a prosecutor, learning exactly what it took for the State to win at trial.
Attorney Schnepper left the prosecutors office to start his own private practice in 2003, focused on Criminal Defense and armed with the exact skill set necessary to be a successful Criminal defense attorney. Attorney Schnepper has tried over one hundred Jury trials, from lower level felonIes such as traffic violations as a habitual offender, drug possessions to much more serious matter of theft, burglary, drug dealing charges and violent crimes involving battery with deadly weapons as well as experience with sexual misconduct allegations (rape, child exploitation to molesting accusations).
1Attorney Kurt Schnepper obtained years of invaluable experience with murder cases, both as a prosecutor and as defense. Attorney Schnepper has been retained or selected by various Judges around the State and appointed lead defense counsel in murder, life without Parole and Death Penalty cases; most notably as a member of the Legal Defense team who was successful in convincing a jury to spare the life of a person convicted of multiple brutal murders. (State v. Daniel Wilkes (2009) )
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Search And Seizure Rules In Indiana Criminal Law
Nearly everyone has heard of Miranda warnings, but not everyone understands exactly what they mean or that there are other important cases pertaining to Indiana search and seizure law: Miranda, Pirtle and Gant.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966)
Miranda v. Arizona is probably the most well known case of the three. Most people have heard of Miranda warnings, whether they have had any experience in the criminal justice system or not. Turn on any crime show on TV, and you’ve likely heard a police officer read someone their Miranda rights, the most common version being,
“You have the right to remain silent.
You have the right to an attorney. ...”
But why do the police read these rights?
In Miranda, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination extends to the police interrogation of a suspects, and that law enforcement officials must advise suspects of their right to remain silent and to obtain an attorney during interrogations while in police custody. If they do not advise suspects of these rights, any statements that arise from police questioning must be suppressed, or excluded from trial.
Pirtle v State of Indiana, 323 N.E.2d 634 (1975)
While Miranda generally deals with statements and was decided in the US Supreme Court, Pirtle deals with police searches and was decided by the Indiana Supreme Court.
In Pirtle, Robert Pirtle was being questioned by officers. One officer read him his Miranda warnings, but he did not waive his rights. Later, another officer asked Pirtle for consent to search his apartment and evidence was found. He later argued that the consent to search was not voluntary because he had asked for an attorney and any evidence should be suppressed.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that once a person is in custody (not free to leave), if they are asked to give consent to search, they are entitled to the presence and advice of counsel prior to making the decision whether to give such consent. The right, of course, may be waived, but the burden is on the State to show that such waiver was explicit, and, as in Miranda, the State will be required to show that the waiver was not occasioned by the defendant’s inability to afford an attorney.
Now, when the police want to ask for consent to search and the person is in custody, they must read the Pirtle warnings and inform the person “you have the right to require that a search warrant be obtained before any search of your residence, vehicle or other premises. You have the right to refuse to consent to any such search. You have the right to consult with an attorney prior to giving consent to any such search. If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to have an attorney provided to you at no cost.”
Arizona v. Gant, 556 US 332 (2009)
Arizona v. Gant was another US Supreme Court case. This is a more recent case and changed how and when the police can search a person’s vehicle after an arrest.
Prior to the Court deciding Gant, when someone was arrested after being stopped while driving, the police would conduct a search of the vehicle incident to arrest. This led to people often being stopped for something fairly minor, such as driving while suspended, being arrested, and then the police conducting a full search of the vehicle to try and find evidence of other crimes, such as drugs or illegal guns.
In Gant, however, the Court ruled that the police may only search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to an arrest only if it is reasonable to believe that the arrested person might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest.
Thus, if a person is arrested for only driving while suspended and is in custody, away from the vehicle, if the police want to search the car they would need valid consent or a warrant. Unless there is reason to believe there is evidence in the car related to the offense the person was arrested for, they can no longer search every car after every arrest.
After years of experience as an attorney for the Indiana Department of Child Services, Kurt is uniqely qualified to help families who have been contacted by DCS or have a pending Child in need of Services matter. In many cases there are various other, less intrusive, measures that will ensure the Court of a childs safety without the ongoing involvement of the Department of Child Services or that of the Court.
Contact our office at any stage of involvement and to find out what we can do for you!
CALL TODAY and schedule your free consultation 812-518-2080
A criminal record can create lifelong consequences, whether the record is for having been arrested or convicted (or both). For example, employers and landlords commonly ask job and rental applicants whether they've been convicted any criminal offense. Employers may not hire, and landlords may not rent individuals who answer "yes" to these questions, and until recentley a person's criminal history followed them through all eternity.
The good news is that if you've stayed out of trouble for an extended periord of time, 7 years in most cases, you may be able to get an arrest or conviction expunged, and deleted from your record forever.