What Am I Facing? Offense Levels in Indiana

OFFENSE LEVELS IN INDIANA

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime in a state court in Indiana, the charge or charges will fall within a certain category of offense. This page gives a basic overview of the different offense levels under Indiana law. CLICK HERE for an overview of Indiana criminal procedure and some of the things one can expect to face in a criminal case. Keep in mind that this information is provided as general information only and should not be considered legal advice and may or may not have application to any particular case.

Note: Sweeping changes to the Indiana Criminal Code were enacted in 2014. These new penalties only apply to crimes which were alleged to have been committed after June 30, 2014. Offenses which were alleged to have been committed prior to that date are covered under the previous offense level structure.

FELONY/MISDEMEANOR/INFRACTION

Generally, offenses can be divided into three categories: Felonies, Misdemeanors and Infractions. The most serious crimes are classified as felonies. A felony is defined as a crime punishable by more than one year of incarceration in a prison or jail. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime and one that is punishable by no more than one year of incarceration. An infraction is a violation of an ordinance or statute that does not subject the person to a criminal conviction or jail time. A speeding ticket would be an example of an infraction.

FELONIES

Murder: This is the most serious charge one can face under Indiana law. The sentence for a murder conviction is a fixed term between forty-five (45) and sixty-five (65) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. In certain cases a murder conviction can result in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Murder is also a capital offense, meaning that in certain cases a murder conviction can result in the death penalty being imposed.

Level 1 Felony: A Level 1 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (20) and forty (40) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Level 2 Felony: A Level 2 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (10) and thirty (30) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Level 3 Felony: A Level 3 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between three (3) and sixteen (16) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Level 4 Felony: A Level 4 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between two (2) and twelve (12) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Level 5 Felony: A Level 5 felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between one (1) year and six (6) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Level 6 Felony: A Level 6 felony is the lowest level of felony in Indiana. It carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between six (6) months and two and one half (2 1/2) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. In certain instances, when a person is convicted of a Level 6 felony, the Court may nonetheless enter judgment and conviction as a Class A misdemeanor.

Habitual Offender: In some circumstances, the State may seek to use prior convictions to enhance the sentence for a felony conviction

A person convicted of Murder or a Level 1 through Level 4 felony is a Habitual Offender if the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender has been previously convicted of two (2) prior unrelated felonies and at least one (1) of the prior unrelated felonies is not a Level 6 or Class D felony

A person convicted of a Level 5 felony is a Habitual Offender if the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of the offense the offender had accumulated two (2) prior unrelated felonies and at least one (1) of the Prior unrelated felonies is not a Level 6 or Class D felony AND if the person is alleged to have committed a prior unrelated Level 5 felony, Level 6 felony, Class C felony or Class D felony, that not more than ten (10) years have past between the time the person was released from imprisonment, probation or parole (whichever is latest) and the time the person committed the current offense.

A person convicted of a Level 6 felony is a Habitual Offender if the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender had previously been convicted of three (3) prior unrelated felonies and if the person is alleged to have committed a prior unrelated Level 5 felony, Level 6 felony, Class C felony or Class D felony, that not more than ten (10) years have past between the time the person was released from imprisonment, probation or parole (whichever is latest) and the time the person committed the current offense.

If a person convicted of a Level 1 through Level 4 felony is found to be a Habitual Offender the Court shall sentence the offender to an additional fixed term that is between six (6) and twenty (20) years.

If a person convicted of a Level 5 or Level 6 felony is found to be a Habitual Offender the Court shall sentence the offender to an additional fixed term that is between two (2) and six (6) years.

Habitual Substance Offender: Indiana's Habitual Substance Offender enhancement has been repealed.

MISDEMEANORS

Under Indiana law misdemeanors are divided into 3 categories:

  • Class "A" Misdemeanor: A Class "A" misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one (1) year and a fine of up to $5,000.00.
  • Class "B" Misdemeanor: A Class "B" misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for a fixed term of up to one hundred eighty (180) days and a fine up to $1000.00.
  • Class "C" Misdemeanor: A Class "C" misdemeanor is the lowest level of crime in Indiana, carrying a penalty of upon conviction of not more than sixty (60) days in jail and a fine of up to $500.00

If you or a loved one has been arrested it is important to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer working on your case and fighting for you as quickly as possible. Contact the experienced criminal defense law firm of Ross G. Thomas today. All initial consultations are free of charge. The Law Office of Ross G. Thomas provides experienced legal representation to persons charged with serious crimes in state and federal courts throughout Indiana. If you are accused of a crime, you need a lawyer that will stand up for your rights.