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About me

I have practiced Indiana criminal law since January 1979, when, at the age of 23, I became a deputy prosecutor.  In 1985, at the age of 30, I became a presiding judge of the Superior Court of Lake County, one of Indiana's busiest courts.  When I returned to private practice in 1992, I decided to devote myself to the defense of persons accused of drunk driving, drug and other crimes.  I have also taught Constitutional Law and other criminal justice courses (some of which I created) at the university level.  I have been a prosecutor, judge or criminal defense attorney my entire career. 


I serve every client PERSONALLY: no associates; no paralegals; no legal assistants; no investigators.


My practice is devoted to the defense of those accused of drunk driving, drug possession, and other offenses throughout north central and northwest Indiana. From my South Bend office, I serve clients with criminal cases in St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, Kosciusko, Fulton, Miami, White, and surrounding counties. From my Crown Point office, I serve counties along the I-65 corridor, including Lake, Jasper and Tippecanoe counties. Besides drunk driving and drug law defense, I handle all other criminal cases, including felony and misdemeanor charges.


I am honored to serve as a member of the Board of Governors and Historian of the American Judges Association, as well as chairman of the Retired/Senior Judges Committee and member of the Membership and Conference Site committees of that organization.


I am also a proud member of the NORML Legal Committee and the National Rifle Association, and a life-long civil libertarian and defender of the Bill of Rights.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. DUI & DWI: 60%
    37 years
  2. Criminal Defense: 40%
    37 years



Fixed (always), Free consultation (60 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

54 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Andrew Mishlove

    Look at Paul Stanko's experience and credentials. Then look at the quality of the attorneys who have endorsed him. It is easy to see that Paul Stanko is one of the best in the business. I am honored to endorse Mr. Stanko. Andrew Mishlove Glendale, Wisconsin


    Andrew Mishlove DUI and DWI Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Donald John Ramsell

    I fully and comletely endorse Paul Stanko. As a fellow DUI lawyer, I send him all of my clients when they are in his area.


    Donald Ramsell DUI and DWI Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community


INActive In Good Standing197907/03/2016

Professional misconduct

This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority.

  1. Public Reprimand
    issued in IN, 2006


    A reprimand means an attorney did something wrong but may still practice law. The State gives the lawyer a public reprimand in hopes that he or she will not repeat the behavior. Details of the infraction are made part of the public record.

    Paul’s comment: “A decade ago, when I had significant health issues, including sinus surgery and a "mini-stroke", a couple of administrative details were missed on 2 cases (out of the many hundreds I handle on a yearly basis). My health is no longer an issue, since I am far healthier now than I was then! Although the date of disposition is 2006, please be aware that the dates of the supposed incidents were in 2004 or earlier. ALSO, my temporary health issues were SPECIFICALLY recognized in the court's order.”

Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Nation's Top One PercentNational Association of Distinguished Counsel2015
10 Best for Client SatisfactionAmerican Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys2015
Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers-IndianaAmerican Society of Legal Advocates2014
Nationally Ranked Top 10 Attorney AwardNational Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys2014
Top 100 LawyersAmerican Society of Legal Advocates2014
Client Satisfaction AwardMartindale-Hubbell2014
Top 100 DUI Attorneys-IndianaNational Advocacy for DUI Defense2013
Top 100 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers2012
Adjunct Professor of the YearIndiana University Northwest2003
Oustanding Young Men of AmericaUS Jaycees1989
Outstanding Young Men of AmericaUS Jaycees1984
Outstanding Senior AwardAlpha Phi Omega-Pi Chi Chapter1976
Senior AwardDuquesne University Debating Society1976
Senior AwardDuquesne University1976
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
OwnerLaw Offices of Paul Stanko-South Bend Office2005 - Present
Contract AttorneyCrown Point City Court2004 - Present
OwnerLaw Offices of Paul Stanko-Crown Point Office1992 - Present
Adjunct Professor-School of Business and EconomicsIndiana University Northwest2007 - 2007
Appellate AttorneySuperior Court of Lake County Indiana2001 - 2009
Adjunct Professor-School of Public & Environmental AffairsIndiana University Northwest1997 - 2007
Presiding JudgeSuperior Court of Lake County, Indiana1985 - 1992
OwnerLaw Offices of Paul Stanko1981 - 1985
Deputy Prosecuting AttorneyLake County Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Office1980 - 1981
Chief Deputy Prosecuting AttorneyStarke County Indiana Prosecutors Office1979 - 1980
Association namePosition nameDuration
Chartered Institute of ArbitratorsAssociate2014 - Present
American Judges AssociationChairman, Retired/Senior Judges Committee2013 - Present
American Judges AssociationHistorian2011 - Present
NORML Legal CommitteeMember2010 - Present
American Judges AssociationGovernor2009 - Present
American Judges AssociationMember, Membership Committee2009 - Present
Phi Alpha Theta National History Honorary SocietyMember1974 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Landis v. StateIndiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court reversed conviction. On remand, we obtained a dismissal of charge.
Grubowski v. StateThe Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered the case dismissed.
P______ v. StateNot Guilty on all charges
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SUPREME COURTSchmerber v. California (Article)2005
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SUPREME COURTNebraska Press Association v. Stuart (Article)2005
Computer SoftwareInstant OWI: Just Add Clients1994
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
National Judicial CollegeN/ASpecial Courts Jurisdiction Certificate1986
Valparaiso University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1978
Duquesne University School of LawHistoryOther - Bachelors1976
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
2nd Annual Bench and Bar ConferenceRecent Developments in Criminal Law2012
DWI: Live CLERepresenting the Habitual Offender2001
DWI: Live CLEEffects of Out-of-State Convictions2001
High School GraduationCommencement1990