In Indiana, any criminal act is considered one of three things: an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies are the most serious of the three. There are also six levels of felony crimes, with Level 1 being the most serious type of felony, except for first-degree murder. (First-degree murder is considered an unclassified felony.)
In Indiana, a felony is, generally, any crime that can lead to a sentence of more than one year in jail or prison. People convicted in Indiana can be sentenced to up to 65 years of imprisonment, depending on how serious a felony they commit. However, Level 6 felonies – the lowest level felonies – are the most common type of felony.
Unfortunately, a conviction for even the lowest-level felony carries serious penalties, including prison time and fines. Additionally, any felony conviction goes on your criminal record, which makes it harder to get a job, get an education or find housing.
If you have been charged with a felony, it can seem overwhelming. The first thing to do is to understand the charges against you.
Indiana’s six levels of felony offenses
As we’ve said, there are six levels of felony offenses in Indiana, with Level 1 being the most serious (except murder) and Level 6 the least. Here are the ranges of penalties you could expect if you are convicted of a felony:
- Unclassified felony: first-degree murder – between 45-65 years in prison or death
- Level 1 felony – between 20-50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Level 2 felony – between 10-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Level 3 felony – between 3-16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Level 4 felony – between 2-12 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Level 5 felony – between 1-6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Level 6 felony – between 1-2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
In addition to the prison time and fine, your sentence could also include mandatory counseling, rehabilitation, probation, community service and other conditions the court may impose.
Also, be aware that a judge could rule that your Level 6 felony should be considered a misdemeanor. If that happens, you could face up to 6 months of imprisonment.
Finally, note that people with prior criminal records of a certain length could be ruled to be habitual offenders. Habitual offenders can be given even longer sentences.
The next step is to get help
If you’re facing a felony charge or charges in Indiana, there is a lot at stake. Good legal counsel can help minimize the negative consequences of a criminal charge.