Protecting Tenant from Illegal Eviction
Early this year, Christie was notified by her landlord that all the tenants on the property we required to vacate the premises because of illegal activity occurring there. The landlord falsely claimed that there was police surveillance going on that entitled them to "shut down" the property with 14 days' notice. Christie was threatened with her utilities being shut off if she remained beyond the 14 days. Christie knew she had not engaged in any illegal activity and that it was not lawful behavior by the landlord. However, she didn't know what to do or where to turn.
When Christie did not move out, the landlord shut off her water. Christie was forced to buy water and heat it on her stove to bathe. Days later, the landlord shut off the gas. Because of the cold weather at the time and no heat, Christie was forced to find shelter a local hotel. She continued to visit her home daily to check the mail and care for her dog. A few days later she came home to find her entrance boarded up, her possessions removed and thrown out by the trash, and her dog missing.
It was at this point that Christie called Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and sought the help of an attorney. The landlord continued to claim that there was illegal activity on the property and the police had instructed them to evict the residents on the property. Despite there being no evidence of this, it is irrelevant under Indiana Law. A landlord may only evict a tenant by following the proper procedures in court, and this landlord failed to do so.
Our attorney was able to represent Christie and recover a monetary judgement in her favor. Without the help of an attorney, Christie would have likely received little or no compensation from her landlord's illegal eviction.
Providing Driver's License Reinstatement
In February of 2022, Indianapolis Legal Aid Society was contacted by a partnering nonprofit referring Kaitlin to our office. Kaitlin was living at a residential recovery program after battling addiction for years. Kaitlin was doing well and had hopes to find a job and move into her own apartment.
Unfortunately, Kaitlin had a suspended driver's license as a result of two tickets that she had gotten years ago but could not afford to pay. In addition, the BMV had imposed a reinstatement fee of $2,000. It was impossible for Kaitlin to pay these fees without a job, and she could not find a job without a driver's license.
Thankfully, an Indianapolis Legal Aid Society attorney was able to meet with Kaitlin and take the steps toward reinstating her driver's license. Our attorney reached out the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and they agreed to waive the $500 in tickets that Kaitlin owed. Our attorney then represented Kaitlin and helped her petition the court to waive the reinstatement fee that had been imposed by the BMV.
Within a short time, the Court ordered the reinstatement fee waived. In a month's time, Indianapolis Legal Aid Society was able to save Kaitlin $2,500 in tickets and waiver fees and get her driver's license reinstated.
This representation is so important as it helps expedite the process, ensures the filings are done correctly, and relieves some of the congestions in the courts. We have seen many clients who have attempted to file for driver's license reinstatement fee waiver that either do it incorrectly or just get denied but then come to us and are able to have the fees waived.
Ensuring a Stable Home for a Child
Indianapolis Legal Aid Society was approached by Melissa who was seeking guardianship of her grandson, Aaron. Tragically, Aaron's mother had recently been murdered. Before that, Aaron's father had been incarcerated and would not be released for at least another year. Thankfully Aaron had been under the unofficial care of his grandmother, Melissa.
Melissa needed guardianship as soon as possible so she could obtain counseling for Aaron and pursue the Social Security survivor's benefits to which he was entitled. Despite Aaron's father initially refusing to cooperate, our attorney was able to get the case on file quickly and Melissa was appointed as the child's guardian within a few months.
Indianapolis Legal Aid Society assists in many guardianships. In most cases, a child's parents cannot provide the necessary care and another family member will take on the responsibility for the child. A guardianship does not grant custody but it does give the caretaker who is awarded guardianship the ability to ensure the child receives medical care, can be enrolled in school, and be placed in a safe home.