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Levels of Punishment for Crimes in Indiana

In Indiana, all crimes can be categorized into three types of offenses: Felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. The most serious type of crime a person can be convicted of is a felony. Felony crimes are punishable by more than 1 year in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and more. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses, but still penalized strictly in Indiana. Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and more. Infractions are the least serious offense a person can commit since they do not involve criminal convictions. But infractions are still violations of state ordinances or statutes, and punishable by fines and other restrictions.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Indiana, it is vital to learn what penalties you face for your allegations. Your next moves can impact the outcome of your case. Call Attorney David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 and schedule a FREE CASE EVALUATION to discuss the most effective legal strategies and defenses for your case.



Levels of Penalization:
FELONIES
Felonies are divided into 7 categories in Indiana: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, 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. Level 6 felonies are punishable up to 3 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and several other court-ordered penalties. Level 1 and 2 felony crimes are the most serious levels, excluding murder. Murder is the most serious felony offense a person can commit. It is not referred to as a Level 0 felony, but rather, just murder. Each level of felony is assigned a separate statute regarding penalization.
Some Examples of Felony Crimes Include:
MISDEMEANORS
Misdemeanor crimes are lesser offenses compared to felonies, but are still serious crimes that come with harsh penalties and life-long consequences. Misdemeanors are divided into three “classes”, from most serious to least serious: Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Misdemeanors, and Class C Misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and Class C misdemeanors are the least serious. A first offense DUI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor if the driver has a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or a Class C Misdemeanor with a BAC below 0.15%. Whereas, a public intoxication charge is penalized as a Class B misdemeanor.

INFRACTIONS
An infraction is not a criminal offense, but rather, a civil offense or violation. A speeding ticket is an example of an infraction. These are the least serious offenses, but still some with penalties. The most common penalty for infractions are fines, but in some cases, can lead to suspended licenses and other restrictions.
Some Examples of Infractions Include:


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Possible Court-Ordered Penalties for Felonies and Misdemeanors:
Probation
It is likely for those charged with a misdemeanor crime to be sentenced to probation in place of jail time. Probation is a “probationary period” in which defendants must comply with all laws and court-ordered rules, as well as, complete all court-ordered tasks before their probation period is up.Probation generally lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the convictions, and involves regular visitation to a probation office to meet with an assigned probation officer that supervises your probation activity and progress. Violation of any probation terms, including missing an appointment or failing a drug test, can put a defendant back in jail, and in front of another judge for additional sentencing.
Probation Terms Include Several Rules, Including But Not Limited To:
Home Detention
In place of jail time or imprisonment, a judge may order an offender to home detention, also known as house arrest. The home detention program is intended to provide intensive state supervision to those convicted of a certain crime, or crimes, in Indiana. Those on house arrest are not allowed to leave their premises under any circumstances, other than for work, rehabilitation treatment, drug/alcohol classes, court-ordered services, doctor visits, and other pre-approved activities. An offender can be sentenced to months or even years of house arrest, depending on their criminal history and recent charges. The intention of home detention is to prevent an offender from committing more crimes or being involved in more illegal activity.
GPS Electronic Monitoring Bracelet
A common device used for those on house arrest or other conditions of probation is an electronic monitoring bracelet, also called an ankle monitor since it is attached to an offender’s lower leg. This monitor is digitally deigned to use GPS to supervise where an offender is located. This ensures that an offender on house arrest or other court-ordered restrictions, abides by their detention terms and remains within legal boundaries.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Another term of probation is an ignition interlock device (IID). This device is installed in an offender’s primary vehicle to prevent them from being able to drive drunk. An IID is about the size of a cell phone and gets installed in a vehicle’s engine. It locks the ignition, preventing the vehicle from starting until the offender breathes into the device, much like a breathalyzer, with a BAC lower than 0.04 percent. If the offender has a BAC higher than 0.04%, the engine will not start. This device is generally reserved for habitual offenders to prevent them from driving under the influence of alcohol. If a driver blows over a 0.04%, the device records it and prints it out to authorities. It can be considered a violation of probation, which leads to jail time and more.
Random Drug Testing
Generally added in as a part of probation, many offenders will have to submit to random or routine drug screening, chemical testing, or urine analysis. If they fail a test, even by a nominal amount, they are in violation of their probation or court-order terms, which subjects them to additional criminal charges and convictions. Those who have violated probation need a criminal defense attorney to protect them from serving jail time and paying extreme fines.
Victim Impact Panels
For intoxicated driving charges, an offender may be sentenced to attend a certain number of victim impact panels. These are public programs in which survivors of, or family of, those injured or killed in drunk driving accidents speak about their struggles and losses in an attempt to educate people about the extreme consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol / Drug Education
Another possibility offender’s face is mandatory alcohol and drug education. These are classes that offenders must participate in and successfully complete within a certain time frame. Participants are ordered to show up to all classes on time, complete all assignments on time, and pass the course.
Community Service
In place of jail, courts may assign community service instead. This is generally a privilege given to first time offenders facing serious misdemeanor charges or low level felony charges. They are assigned by hours, and offenders must complete all hours before their probationary term is up. Generally, courts will assigned anywhere between 40 and 180 hours of community service, depending on the jail or prison time an offender was facing.
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