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Criminal Defense Information Brought to You By The Region Lawyers

Prior to 2014, felony charges in Indiana were labeled on an A through D classification system with Class A felonies being the most serious. In 2014, a new classification system for felonies was created on a Level 1 through Level 6 basis with Level 1 being the most serious. All felonies carry a minimum to maximum range of prison time along with potential fines. They also are impacted by what is called an “advisory” sentence, which provides a starting point for judges to consider when determining any sentence for a felony charge. Judges can decrease or increase the sentence from the advisory sentence based on factors that “aggravate” or mitigate the crime.

Factors that can aggravate a crime make the crime more serious and thus can lead to a harsher sentence. These factors can include past criminal convictions, the extent of harm done to the victim, the age of the victim, the protected status of the victim, and others. Factors that can mitigate the crime, lessen its severity, and thus reduce sentencing can include the fact that the crime did not cause or threaten to cause harm to others, the offender was strongly provoked, the offender has no criminal history, the offender’s character indicates that he or she is unlikely to commit future offenses, and others.

Indiana Felony Sentencing Guidelines

Level Sentencing Range Advisory Sentence Fine

  • Murder 45 – 65 years 55 years Up to $10,000
  • Level 1 20 – 40 years 30 years Up to $10,000
  • Level 2 10 – 30 years 17 ½ years Up to $10,000
  • Level 3 3 – 16 years 9 years Up to $10,000
  • Level 4 2 – 12 years 6 years Up to $10,000
  • Level 5 1 – 6 years 3 years Up to $10,000
  • Level 6 6 months – 2 ½ years 1 year Up to $10,000

Indiana Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines

  • Class A Misdemeanor 0 –365 days None Up to $5,000
  • Class B Misdemeanor 0 – 180 days None Up to $1,000
  • Class C Misdemeanor 0 – 60 days None Up to $500

Suspended Sentences

The court may suspend a sentence by putting the offender on a term of probation in lieu of incarceration. Courts have the discretion of suspending the entire sentence or a portion of it. However, not all cases are eligible for a suspended sentence. Certain rules apply to each felony level and to misdemeanors in regard to the suspension of part or all of the sentence. For example, if you have been convicted of OWI while having a previous OWI conviction, you will be required to serve all of the mandatory jail time for this subsequent conviction. Furthermore, where an offender has been granted probation in lieu of jail/prison time, if the offender violates any of the probation terms, he or she may be sent to jail or prison to serve out the entire sentence.

Credit Time For Felonies

In the case of felony convictions, the state extends credit time applied to the sentence based on such actions as the time spent in custody when waiting for a trial or sentencing, good behavior days while incarcerated, and credits for educational and other programs while in prison. Credit days are extended based on the felony level/misdemeanor for which you have been convicted.

Statute Of Limitations In Criminal Cases

A statute of limitation puts a timeframe on how long after a crime is allegedly committed the offender can be prosecuted. In the state of Indiana, this time restriction for most felonies is a period of five years from the day the crime took place. However, no statute of limitation exists for murder or Level 1 felonies.

Defense Strategies

Defenses can be strategized for almost any criminal charge. However, you will need a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the law, the system, and how to build and argue effective defenses designed on your behalf. Common defenses can be based on a violation of your rights, illegal search and seizure, self-defense, the defense of others, alibi, provocation, duress, and more. At The Region Lawyers, we will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your arrest to uncover weaknesses, inconsistencies, and other material that could cast doubt on any element of the crime for which you have been charged.

Ready to learn more about how the law affects your case? Contact an attorney for your criminal defense at 219-961-3814 or via our online request form today. Your initial consultation is free. We work with clients in Merrillville and Gary, as well as throughout Indiana and northern Illinois.