When it comes to facing criminal charges, the most important factor is the skill and expertise of your defense. In fact, this is exactly why it is vital to retain a private lawyer, rather than a public defender. However, your lawyer is not the only factor that matters. Courts, namely judges, rely on several factors to help them determine what a defendant’s sentence will be. If you are currently awaiting an upcoming court hearing for a recent arrest, this information should be at the top of your priority list.
Continue reading to how judges base their rulings in criminal court, and the one single task you can do to avoid the maximum penalties for your criminal charges.
Levels of Criminal Charges and Wobblers
In Indiana, all crimes can be categorized into three types of offenses: Felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Felonies are divided into 7 categories in Indiana, from Level 1 to Level 6, and Murder. Level 6 felony crimes are the least serious type of felony, and are commonly referred to as “wobblers” since they can most often be reduced to Class A Misdemeanors. Similarly, Misdemeanors are divided into three “classes”, from Class A Misdemeanors, being the most serious, to Class C Misdemeanors, the least serious. Just like Level 6 Felonies, Class C Misdemeanors can also be wobblers.
Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances
So, how does a judge decide whether to “wobble” a charge or not? As mentioned before, there are several factors they will consider when making this decision. These factors are known as aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances are elements of a crime that make the offense more atrocious, or worse in the eyes of the public. Mitigating circumstances are elements of a crime that, in some way, minimize the severity of the offense when compared to other similar crimes.
There are also statutory and enumerated circumstances that judges will look at when deciding on an ultimate sentence for a convicted criminal. Let’s discuss statutory and enumerated circumstances in an upcoming blog, so be sure to check back soon!
Where to Get Trusted Indianapolis Criminal Defense and Legal Advice
Call the Law Office of David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 to schedule a free initial consultation with aggressive Indiana criminal defense lawyer 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 Indiana criminal charges. Here at The Law Office of David E. Lewis, we are ready to be your number-one advocate through this difficult time in your life. Trust our legal professionals to develop a strong defense for your case and work around the clock to place you in the best position possible following an arrest, charge, or conviction.