Frequently Asked Questions


If a person is determined financially unable to retain a private attorney, the courts will appoint the Lake County Public Defender's Office as the legal representative. This appointment usually happens at the first court appearance which is called an Initial Hearing.

It takes time, sometimes several months, for a case to move through the courts. During that time, you can do many things to assist your attorney in working on your case. These include:

  • Be on time for court and other legal appointments. If you are delayed for any reason, call your attorney.
  • Provide current contact information. Give your attorney your home and work addresses, your home, work, mobile, and message phone numbers, and let your attorney know immediately if any of these change.
  • Maintain regular contact with your attorney.
  • Dress appropriately for court.
  • Give your attorney a list of possible witnesses.
  • Give your attorney copies of all relevant documents.
  • Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney or our office staff. Since anything you say may be used against you in trial, you should not discuss the case with family members, friends, other inmates, detention officers, probation officers, in person or on the telephone.

Remember that all personal telephone and Telemate calls made from the jail are recorded. The Prosecutor sends these recordings out to be reviewed for any information that may pertain to your case. Also, the Prosecutor has the ability to watch these recordings at any time. Any information contains in these calls can be used in your trial. 

You must appear in court for all your court hearings unless told otherwise by the judge or your lawyer. It can take several months for a case to move through the court system. During that time, it is important for you to keep in touch with your lawyer and to make all court appearances until your lawyer tells you that your case is over.
Under the United States Constitution and Indiana Constitution, we have an adversarial justice system. This means that one lawyer represents the State, another represents the accused. A fair adversarial system requires that the accused and the prosecution have attorneys with equal resources available to them in order to achieve both truth and justice in the courts. Accordingly, under the law as set forth in the United States Constitution, anyone charged with any serious criminal offense in the United States is entitled to have a lawyer representing them whether that person can afford a lawyer or not.
A public defender is an attorney, who represents people charged with criminal offenses who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Like any other attorney, a public defender has graduated from an ABA accredited law school, has passed the Indiana bar exam, and has a license to practice law. Public defenders are trained carefully through training programs and are required to complete continuing legal education classes each year. In addition, they attend local and national conferences to keep themselves current in the law and to sharpen their trial skills.
If you are arrested, you should request to speak to a lawyer and you should obtain advice from a lawyer before answering police questions. If you ask to speak to a lawyer, a lawyer will be provided for you – wait and speak to that lawyer before answering questions.


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Crown Point, IN 46307

Phone: (219) 755-3550

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