INDIANAPOLIS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
A Better Life is Ahead
Serving the criminal defense needs of Indianapolis, Carmel, and all of Indiana.
You have been charged with a crime
Being charged with a criminal offense doesn’t just impact the person charged with a crime. Criminal charges impact everyone around you.
I will work to ease the burden on everyone.
Take your first step toward freedom
Here’s how to get started.
1. Get a Free Consultation
2. We Appear in Court
3. See Your Options
Meet your criminal defense attorney
David M. Seiter
Attorney at Law
When people find themselves in crises due to criminal charges, I guide them through the legal process to help them avoid or minimize the negative impact on their lives.
As a military combat veteran, former judicial officer, and criminal defense attorney of over 20 years, I have seen it all.
Criminal charges don’t have to define you or your family. I help you avoid or minimize their impact on your life so you can find the life you deserve. Often, that means guiding you to the help you need beyond the legal system to make sure you don’t find yourself in this position again.
Time is of the essence in every criminal defense case.
Call today for a free consultation.
Learn more about your criminal defense lawyer
I was admitted to practice law throughout the state of Indiana in 1998. As a general practice lawyer, I have experience in both criminal and civil law. I practiced law for over 14 years and built a successful private practice before serving as a judicial officer in Marion County, Indiana for three and a half years.
I have major felony trial and appellate advocacy experience. While many lawyers will spend an entire career and never have the opportunity to argue before the Indiana Supreme Court, I have done so three times.
Those decisions have helped shape Indiana law in the areas of Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated and Habitual Traffic Violator offenses.
In 2013, I retired as a field grade officer in the U.S. Army Reserves after serving for 25 years. Originally enlisting as a private out of high school in 1988, I was later commissioned through ROTC as a Second Lieutenant in the Military Police and completed the U.S. Army’s Airborne School.
I served as a commander of the 384th MP HHC in Fort Wayne, IN, before transferring to the Judge Advocates General (JAG) Corps in 2000 where I served the remainder of my Army career as a military lawyer.
In 2003, I was deployed to Iraq as a JAG officer with the 800th Military Police Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in the Iraqi Ministry of Justice where I served as the “ombudsman” for juvenile and female detainees.
I earned the Bronze Star during my deployment for a variety of accomplishments, including obtaining a confession from an Iraqi detainee concerning placement of over 500 anti-tank and personnel mines, successfully negotiating the peaceful displacement of over 1,500 squatters from Iraqi government lands, exhibiting the proper care and control over Iraqi detainees, and organizing charitable events to better the Iraqi people.
Despite being in the middle of a war zone, I made international news when I established an Arabic library in the Al-Karhk Juvenile Detention Facility and held a charitable event called “Operation Touchdown,” in which two Baghdad orphanages were introduced to the sport of American Football with the assistance of the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints franchises.
Later, I renewed the Operation Touchdown theme in 2006 and 2010, raising money for the United Services Organization (USO) and Wounded Warrior Project, respectively.
Teaching Criminal Law
I am also an adjunct professor at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), where I teach Substantive Criminal Law for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Additionally, I have presented classes to fellow members of the Indiana Bar and judges on the Military Aspects of Divorce in Indiana and the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act.
In the military, I instructed multiple military units on topics, such as Federal Ethics, Code of Conduct, Law of War, Rules of Engagement, and General Orders in a Combat Theater.
I am a credited contributor in two published books written by Dr. Erin Albert: “Indianapolis: A Young Professional’s Guide” (2010) and “Multipationals: The Changing World of Work and How to Create Your Best Career Portfolio” (2015). In 2007, I was a finalist for Junior Achievement’s “Indy’s Best and Brightest – Law Category.”
I focus my practice in the Indianapolis and Carmel, Indiana areas and work out of the Cate, Terry, & Gookins law firm.
Although born and raised in Michigan, I have lived in the Indianapolis area since 1994. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice with minors in political science and military science from Western Michigan University in 1992.
After completing my initial military obligations, I moved to Indianapolis to obtain my law degree at Indiana University – McKinney School of Law. I graduated from law school in 1998 and was admitted to the Indiana State Bar after passing the bar exam that same year.
Some of my credentials include:
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, 1998
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana, 1998
- Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana, J.D. – 1998 (Client Counseling Competition Winner- 1998)
- Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan B.S. – 1992 (Magna Cum Laude)
Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo, Michigan
AA- 1990 (High Honors)
Cases argued before the Indiana Supreme Court
- State v. Renzulli, 958 N.E.2d 1143 (Ind. 2011)
- State v. Holtzclaw 977 N.E.2d 348 (Ind. 2012)
- State v. Oney 993 N.E.2d 157 (Ind. 2013)
I currently live in Indianapolis, Indiana with my wife, three children, and many pets. I enjoy spending time with my family, attending sporting events and volunteering for charitable, military and political organizations. Since 2008, I have managed operations for the Indianapolis Tornados minor league football team. I am an active member of the Indiana State Bar and my local community.
Here is a list of the organizations I am a part of:
- Indianapolis Bar Association, member
- Hamilton County Bar Association, member
- Indianapolis Tornados Minor League Football team (Operations) (2008-Present)
- ReTails Animal Adoption Center (2013- Present)
- Big Brothers, Big Sisters Central Indiana (2000-2010)
- YMCA and NYSL Youth Coach (soccer and flag football)
- Reserve Officers Association
Criminal Defense Practice Areas
A misdemeanor is considered a “minor crime” with a penalty that involves fines and incarceration for a year or less. Often, the incarceration is suspended and the person serves a period of time on probation. In Indiana, our State has 3 types of misdemeanors: Class A misdemeanors carry a possible penalty of 0-365 days in jail and a fine up to $5000; Class B misdemeanors carry a possible penalty of 0-180 days in jail and a fine up to $1000, and Class C misdemeanors carry a possible penalty of 0-60 days in jail and a fine up to $500.
Felonies are serious crimes which involve fines and incarceration in prison for more than a year. Whether time can be suspended or served in community corrections depends on the offense and many contributing factors. In Indiana, Felonies are categorized between Level 1 -6 in addition to Murder which has its own penalty levels. The lowest level felony is a level 6 felony. It carries a possible penalty between 6 months- 2.5 years and a fine up to $10,000. However, Courts may allow this charge to be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor if certain statutory requirements are met. Felony convictions can have multiple negative consequences beyond the sentence in the courtroom. Felons lose their right to carry firearms, may lose the ability to vote, may be denied for employment and could be denied housing.
Traffic Offenses are civil in nature and punishable by fines but not incarceration. Unfortunately, many people just pay the ticket without consulting an attorney. The adjudication of guilt on a person’s driving record could include points. Points are used by insurance companies to raise rates and by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to determine whether a person’s driving privileges should be suspended. Many jurisdictions offer diversion or deferral programs which allow drivers to avoid the adjudication so the BMV does not issue points.
Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVWI) / DUI
The state of Indiana takes the charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OVWI) very seriously. Without a DUI attorney, you could face a variety of consequences, including a full license suspension.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to challenge your charge and don’t risk jail time or the suspension of your license. As your DUI lawyer I will help you navigate the path forward toward the best possible outcome.
Expungements & Record Sealing
In 2014, the State of Indiana passed legislation to give citizens a “second chance” by allowing them to prevent disclosure of prior criminal history. This is a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. An expungement attorney can help you ensure that you meet the statutory requirements, advise you which cases are eligible for expungement/record sealing, and properly file the petition.
Specialized Driving Privileges
Specialized Driving privileges might be available to a driver who has had their license suspended by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). There are strict statutory requirements that must be met before a court can grant this relief. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney to make sure the petition and process are handled properly.
Like any set of laws, Indiana’s firearm laws can be complex and hard to navigate. As a gun rights attorney, I have spent years learning the ins and outs of these firearm laws. I can help you prove to the state that you’re ready to be a responsible gun owner.
Civil Forfeitures / RICO
Both federal laws and laws in the State of Indiana allow law enforcement officials to seize assets under very specific circumstances. However, you are entitled to due process and if the assets or monies were seized improperly, you may be entitled to receive your property back. Lawsuits are complicated legal matters. I will simplify the process for you. When you bring your case to me, I will break it down for you and explain your next best steps.
Other practice areas include: Public intoxication, marijuana offenses, theft/shoplifting, property crimes, dealing offenses, criminal trespass, white-collar crime, prostitution/public indecency, driving while suspended, resisting law enforcement, residential entry/burglary, juvenile offenses, possession of drugs/paraphernalia, criminal recklessness, stalking/invasion of privacy, false informing, fraud, check deception, robbery, battery/domestic battery
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will a criminal defense attorney cost me?
Rates vary depending on the case. Make sure you understand how your attorney bills and what the scope of work is. Although it is not required, your attorney should have the agreement reduced to writing (preferably a fee agreement contract). Some attorneys bill as a flat fee. This means the attorney earns the same amount regardless of how many hours they work on your case. Other attorneys bill an hourly rate with a retainer paid upfront that the fees are subtracted from.
It is more important how an attorney bills than the amount they bill. For instance, an attorney charging $250/hour who bills for every little moment could be more expensive than an attorney charging $300/hour but they don’t charge for every call or they agree to write off some time. Criminal defense attorneys, unlike personal injury attorneys, are not ethically allowed to only charge if they win.
When do I need a lawyer for a criminal case?
How long does a criminal case take?
What should I expect from a good criminal defense lawyer?
What do I need for my free criminal defense consultation?
What is the duty of an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney?
Do I need a lawyer at my arraignment?
It is always advisable to have an attorney any time you go to court. In Indiana, the Courts will likely automatically enter a “not guilty” plea on your behalf at the initial hearing. If the court asks, the Defendant should always say “not guilty” until they have had a chance to confer with counsel.
At the initial hearing or arraignment, the Court will
- explain and/or read the charges,
- explain the possible penalties for the charges,
- determine whether the person is indigent or if they can afford their own counsel,
- determine the amount of bail, if any, and set future dates.
Some defenses require prompt responses and filings by the attorney. Therefore, it is best to have one as soon as you can.
Is there a difference between sealing and expunging juvenile records?
In 2014, the State of Indiana offered people convicted of certain crimes a “second chance”. Under this law, people can seal arrests that didn’t end in a conviction and/or they can expunge certain convictions from their criminal history. This statute differs from the expungement procedure for juvenile records which is controlled by Title 31 of the Indiana Code. As this relief is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” in some circumstances, it is important to have a lawyer who understands the statutes and the requirements for relief.
Does expungement in Indiana restore gun rights?
Can I own a gun after a conviction?
Generally, any person shall not carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or about the person’s body without being licensed under this I.C. 35-47-2-1to carry a handgun. Felony convictions prevent someone from carrying a firearm. Serious violent offenders as defined by IC 35-47-4-5, may not knowingly or intentionally possess a firearm at any time. They face a new level 4 felony charge if they do so. Most misdemeanor convictions, other than domestic battery, do not restrict a person’s right to possess a firearm.