Factors That Affect Jail Sentences

After being arrested or charged with a crime, there are handfuls of common questions that start to go through your mind. Some of the most commonly asked questions has to with jail time. Defendants want to know whether or not they have to serve time in jail, and if so, how long. If this is something that is also a concern to you as a person facing criminal charges, continue reading to learn which factors affect jail sentences.

Criminal Defense Law Firm 317-636-7514
Criminal Defense Law Firm 317-636-7514

⚖ Nature of Charge

The first factor that will be scrutinized by the prosecution and court magistrates is the nature or severity of the crime. For those charged with violent or sexual offenses will face a stricter level of scrutiny and judgement compared to those charged with non-violent and non-sexual offenses. In Indiana, jails are very overcrowded, so most often, those charged with a misdemeanor are not sentenced to jail time. In terms of felony charges, jail time is more likely. It all depends on the nature of the crime, as well as, the other factors discussed in this blog. Felonies are divided into 7 categories in Indiana: Level 1through Level 6, and then Murder. Level 6 felony crimes are the least serious type of felony, however, they are still punishable up to 3 years in prison.

⚖ Criminal History

Another major factor considered when facing jail time is criminal history. Prosecution and judges will look to see if a defendant has a history of being a habitual offender, or if they have any current pending charges against them. If someone has committed a series of serious offenses, especially the same ones, the state will likely want to seek a jail sentence. For instance, if a person is habitually being arrested for stealing cars, they will likely be sentenced to jail after a habitual felony arrest. On the other hand, if a person has a history of drug abuse and possession offenses, they may be order to rehabilitation programs in lieu of jail time. Again, it all depends on a variety of factors.

⚖ Strength of the Case

Another leading factor in determining a jail sentence for an accused defendant is the state’s case. If the state does not have a strong enough case against a defendant for their suspected crime, it is not likely that they will have to spend any time in jail. If the state does not have a sufficient amount of evidence to prove a defendant’s guilt at trial, the defendant’s legal team will have more luck negotiating out from jail time. If the state has a lot of evidence, and thus, a strong case, they have more leverage to seek jail time. But without a strong case, they are more likely to be lenient.

⚖ Alternative Sentencing

As mentioned, the state might offer drug rehabilitation as an alternative to jail time. They may also do this for other offenses as well. Rather than jail time, the state may allow a defendant to be sentenced to alternative programs, such as substance abuse rehabilitation, community service, victim impact panels, and similar community corrections programs.

Who to Call for Legal Advice and Representation

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Call 317-636-7514 to schedule a free initial consultation with aggressive Indiana criminal defense attorney, David E. Lewis, who will stop at nothing to protect your rights and preserve your freedoms. With decades of hands-on experience, you can trust Attorney David E. Lewis to build you a strong and impactful defense against your criminal charges.

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