Charged with a Crime in Indiana?
Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Charges and Penalties
A criminal conviction can drastically affect the rest of your life. You may face the possibility of jail time, fines and other penalties, and your reputation may be damaged. Additionally, a conviction may prevent you from finding work and/or housing in the future. Since so much hangs in the balance, you should always work a criminal defense lawyer with a history of success. Even innocence is not always an ironclad defense – law enforcement and prosecutors may not care about your side of the story, but will simply focus on getting a conviction. An attorney can work to enforce your rights and expose any misconduct or negligence that may have led to your arrest. In many cases, a good lawyer can get your charges or penalties reduced, minimizing the negative impact on your life.
If you have been arrested or someone you know was taken into police custody, then you should find a lawyer as quickly as possible. No matter what kinds of charges you face, from a misdemeanor to a felony, finding an attorney you trust is essential. To speak with a local Indiana criminal lawyer today, consult our local listings.
What Are the Basic Types of Criminal Charges?
The type of criminal charge you face may vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Although each state has its own specific classifications, the general types of charges are:
- Infraction. An infraction is the least serious type of charge you can face. In fact, some states handle infractions as civil cases, rather than criminal cases. Traffic violations and other minor offenses usually fall into this category. Jail is generally not a possibility for infractions, so you are not entitled to a jury trial and the state will usually not appoint you a lawyer. However, you can still hire one of your own.
- Petty offense. Some states categorize low-level criminal conduct as petty offenses. This may include illegal acts like gambling, disturbing the peace, public indecency, pollution violations and theft of items of low value.
- Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a more serious charge and county courts typically handle these cases. Common misdemeanor charges include assault, criminal trespass, theft and certain drug crimes, including possession and sale.
- Felony. This is the most serious type of criminal charge and state and/or federal courts usually handle these cases. Common felonies include murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, vehicular homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and certain drug crimes.
In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charges you face. If the court reduces your charge from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor, for example, then the repercussions you face may be much less serious.
What Is the Penalty for a Misdemeanor in Indiana?
Each state has its own system for classifying misdemeanor and felony charges, and penalties may vary as well. In Indiana, misdemeanors are designated as class A, B, or C, and are punishable by up to a year in jail. The general penalties you may face for different types of criminal charges in Indiana are:
- Class A Misdemeanors. Carry a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one (1) year and a fine of up to $5,000. Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor.
- Class B Misdemeanors. Carry a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one hundred eighty (180) days and a fine up to $1000. Public intoxication is a class B misdemeanor.
- Class C Misdemeanors. Carry a penalty of upon conviction of not more than sixty (60) days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a class C misdemeanor if it is the person’s first DUI offense and the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08 but less than .15.
What Is the Penalty for a Felony in Indiana?
Like misdemeanors, each state has its own system for what qualifies as a felony and what penalties may result from a conviction. In Indiana, a felony is any crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in prison. Felonies in Indiana are designated as Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6; six being the least serious, and one being the most. In Indiana, possible felony charges and penalties include:
- Class 6 Felony. Class 6 felonies may include crimes such as possession of methamphetamine (up to two grams) and possession of a weapon on school grounds. Penalties can include six months to two years and one-half (2 1/2 ) years, in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with the advisory sentence being one year, and/or fines up to $10,000.
- Class 5 Felony. This category may include stalking and failure to register as a sex offender. Penalties can include one to six years of jail time, with the advisory sentence being three years, and/or fines up to $10,000.
- Class 4 Felony. These include crimes such as manslaughter, possession of certain controlled substances and robbery. Penalties may range between two and twelve years, with the advisory sentence being six years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class 3 Felony. A Class 3 felony may include crimes like vehicular homicide, sexual assault, certain drug crimes and first or second degree burglary. Penalties may range between ten and thirty years, with the advisory sentence being seventeen and one-half (17.5) years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class 2 Felony. These crimes include second-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, sale of controlled substances and second-conviction for some drug crimes. Penalties may range between ten and thirty years, with the advisory sentence being seventeen and one-half (17.5) years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class 1 Felony. The most serious type of criminal charge possible, a Class 1 felony may include first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. The penalty may be between twenty and forty years, with the advisory sentence being thirty (30) years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Need a Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer? We Can Help
If you are facing any level of criminal charge, then a qualified lawyer may be essential to protecting your future. Additionally, if someone you know is currently in police custody, then you may wish to reach out to a lawyer on his or her behalf. To find a Indiana criminal defense lawyer in your area, then consult our attorney listings. If you have general question about criminal law or certain charges, then do not hesitate to ask the lawyers.