Frequently Asked Questions

  • Frequently Asked Questions About the Criminal Justice System

How do I file charges against someone?

Criminal charges generally begin with an investigation by a police agency. The Hendricks County Prosecutor's Office will conduct investigations regarding bad checks through our Bad Check Program. However, most other criminal activity will be referred to a police agency.

How do I get a No Contact Order?

The Hendricks County Prosecutor's Office may obtain a No Contact Order for the victims of violent crime as part of filing charges. Where appropriate, witnesses will also be covered by No Contact Orders. Without the filing of charges, or where no crime of violence is involved, a private citizen can obtain a Protective Order through the Hendricks County Clerk, whose offices are located in the Courthouse in Danville. The Clerk has an information packet which will assist a person to obtain a Protective Order. There is a Court cost which must be paid as part of filing for a Protective Order through the Clerk.

What is the status of a case? Can you tell me my next court date?

Your best source of information regarding future Court dates is your attorney, or the Court itself. Court schedules are created by the Court staff, and are subject to change; the Court possesses the most current information on its own.  Most cases have current information posted online at mycase.in.gov. 

Can I talk to the Prosecutor about my case?

That depends on your status in the case. Are you a victim or defendant?

If you are a defendant, the Prosecuting attorneys are ethically forbidden to speak with defendants about their cases; the only exception is in the Courtroom when the Judge is presiding over the case.

 If you are a victim, you are entitled, and should be able, to speak to the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney handling the case. However, Prosecutors have many other cases to handle. While your case is important to our office, you should keep in mind that the Prosecuting Attorney's time is his or her most cherished asset. You can relay information to our to our Victim’s Advocates team who will communicate your questions to our Victim’s Advocates team who will communicate your questions and concerns to the prosecutor.

Can I get a Prosecutor's explanation of a law or get legal advice from a Prosecutor?

The Hendricks County Prosecutor's Office cannot give legal advice on civil matters; all civil legal questions should be referred to a competent private attorney.

What is a warrant?

A warrant is an order signed by a judge authorizing the police to arrest a person believed to have committed a crime.

What happens after a person (the defendant) has been arrested?

The defendant is brought before the court for an initial hearing. The defendant is given a copy of the charging information. The charge is read out loud by the judge. Normally, the judge automatically enters a plea of "not guilty." A bond is then set; a determination is made as to the defendant's ability to pay for an attorney. If the defendant is unable to pay for an attorney, the court will appoint one. Finally, the court will set pretrial conference and trial/jury trial dates.

What is the difference between a bench trial and a jury trial?

A bench trial is a trial before a judge without a jury. A jury trial is a trial before a judge with a jury consisting of either 6 or 12 jurors (with alternates).

What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order which instructs the recipient to appear in court or at a deposition at a designated date and time.

What happens if I ignore the subpoena and/or otherwise fail to appear in court as ordered?

The court may issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear.

How will I know if the trial date has changed?

We will attempt to notify you as soon as we become aware of any changes. However, your subpoena provides you with a contact person and telephone number to call the day before you are scheduled to appear in court. At that time you will be informed if the trial date has changed.

What happens if the defendant either pleads guilty or is found guilty by a judge or jury?

The case will be set for sentencing, usually about 30 days from the date of the guilty plea. Sometimes a defendant will waive the 30 day period. During this time the probation department will prepare a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSI Report) in serious felony cases. The probation officer assigned to the case should contact all victims and ask for their input about the crime.

This is my first ticket. Can I get it deferred?

The Prosecutor's office can offer deferrals based on the circumstance of the infraction and your driving record. For more information, visit the Traffic Infraction Deferral page.

 

  • Frequently Asked Questions By Witnesses

I got a subpoena in the mail. Why do I have to testify? This is really inconvenient for me.

Witnesses to crimes are required to appear personally in Court to tell what happened. Although it may be inconvenient, the cornerstone of a free society is the willingness of persons to appear in Court so that the truth about a crime can be known.

Do I have to attend the trial?

Yes. Approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to the scheduled trial date you should receive a subpoena to appear in court.

What happens if I ignore the subpoena and/or otherwise fail to appear in court as ordered?

The court may issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear.

Am I allowed to be present in the courtroom during the trial?

Only if there is no "separation of witness order." Usually witnesses are not allowed to be in the courtroom until after they have finished testifying. You should ask the prosecutor handling your case if a separation order has been filed.

How will I know if the trial date has changed?

We will attempt to notify you as soon as we become aware of any changes. However, your subpoena provides you with a contact person and telephone number to call the day before you are scheduled to appear in court. At that time you will be informed if the trial date has changed.

What happens if someone tries to intimidate me into not testifying?

Intimidating, threatening and/or harassing a state's witness is a criminal offense. You should immediately contact the police officer or detective in charge of your case. An arrest warrant may be issued and the defendant's bail could be revoked. The defendant would then remain incarcerated during the remainder of the trial.

What if the defendant's attorney or some other individual acting on behalf of the defendant contacts me about the case?

These individuals have the right to contact you; however, you also have the right not to talk with them. We request that you contact the prosecutor handling your case prior to talking with anyone acting on behalf of the defendant. We prefer that you only do so in our presence. You should also always ask for identification from the individual(s) wanting to talk to you.

What if I decide to not testify?

If you choose not to testify, you may jeopardize the case which could ultimately result in the defendant going free. A warrant for your arrest could also be issued.

 

  • Frequently Asked Questions By Victims

Can I talk to the Prosecutor about my case?

If you are a victim, you are entitled -- and should be able -- to speak to the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney handling the case. However, Prosecutors have many other cases to handle. While your case is important to our office, you should keep in mind that the Prosecuting Attorney's time is his or her most cherished asset. You can relay information to our to our Victim’s Advocates team who will communicate your questions to our Victim’s Advocates team who will communicate your questions and concerns to the prosecutor.

What if I decide to drop the charges?

You cannot drop charges -- only the prosecutor may do so. You may forward a written statement to the prosecutor handling your case stating the reasons for wanting the charges dropped for the prosecutor's review and consideration.

My significant other (partner, husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, etc.)  was arrested for domestic battery, but we just had a misunderstanding. What if I want to drop the charges?

Once a person contacts a police agency regarding the commission of the crime, and causes another person to be arrested and charged, the case becomes the property of the Hendricks County Prosecutor's Office. Our office policy is that once a person is charged, they are prosecuted, regardless of whether the victim has changed his/her mind.

What happens if someone tries to intimidate me into dropping the charges and/or not testifying?

Intimidating, threatening and/or harassing a state's witness is a criminal offense. You should immediately contact the police officer or detective in charge of your case. An arrest warrant may be issued and the defendant's bail could be revoked. The defendant would then remain incarcerated during the remainder of the trial.

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

You have a right to make an oral or written statement to the Court after the defendant is convicted but before the defendant is sentenced about how you were affected by this crime - emotionally, physically and financially. The statement may also include your feelings as to what punishment you think is appropriate for the crime committed, including restitution.

When do I submit my Victim Impact Statement?

Once a defendant has either entered into a guilty plea or been convicted at a trial the case moves on to a sentencing hearing. Your Victim Impact Statement must be received prior to the sentencing hearing. If you wish to be present at the sentencing hearing to orally present your statement, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator and/or the Prosecutor assigned to your case so that the Prosecutor is aware of your desire to address the Court.

  • Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Protective Orders

What is a Protective Order/No Contact Order?

A Protective Order/No Contact Order is a court order which instructs the defendant to have no contact, direct or indirect, with a victim.

Do I need an attorney to get a Protective Order?

It is not necessary to have an attorney to get a protective order, but you can if you wish.

How do I get a Protective Order/No Contact Order?

There are 2 types of orders - a civil protective order and a no contact order issued through a criminal case. A civil protective order can be obtained from the Hendricks County Clerk's Office. A no contact order is issued through a criminal case. This order is prepared by the Prosecutor's Office and is issued as a condition of the defendant's pretrial release or sentence. Once the protective/no contact orders have been filed, a copy will be distributed to the Hendricks County Sheriff's Department and any other municipalities which need to be aware of the protective/no contact order.

How long is the Protective Order/No Contact Order valid?

A civil protective order is valid for 1 year from the date it is issued. The order may be renewed for up to 1 additional year if proved necessary. A no contact order issued as a result of criminal proceedings is valid during the pendency of the case. Once the case is closed (either by conviction or acquittal) the no contact order as a condition of pretrial release must be terminated. However, if the defendant is convicted, a new no contact order as a condition of sentencing may be issued. This no contact order is valid for the duration of the defendant's sentence. Once the defendant is no longer serving his/her sentence, the no contact order must be terminated. At this time, if you still desire a protective order against the defendant, you must request a civil protective order. 

Once I get my Protective Order/No Contact Order, what should I do with it?

You should always carry a copy of the Protective Order/No Contact Order with you. If the defendant would happen to violate the Protective Order/No Contact Order and the police are called to respond, you will have your copy to show the police officer.

What if I don't want the no contact order issued by the Prosecutor's Office?

You should contact the victim’s advocates team.

What if the defendant violates the Protective Order/No Contact Order?

You should immediately contact your local law enforcement agency and advise them that you have a Protective Order/No Contact Order and that the defendant is violating it. An officer should investigate the complaint and the defendant may be arrested or issued a citation and summonsed to court.

Contact Us

Patricia Baldwin,
Prosecuting Attorney (Elected Official)

Prosecutor's Office (more about this location/facility)
6 S Jefferson St
Danville, IN 46122
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  • Phone: (317) 745-9283
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  • Office Hours:
    M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Closed 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

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