If you find yourself before the bench facing a judge when you have been charged with a felony — you will want someone by your side who knows this system well.
INDIANA’S NEW CRIMINAL CODE – EFFECTIVE JULY 1ST, 2014 HAS MADE SOME SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE CLASSIFICATION AND SENTENCING OF FELONY OFFENSES. THE CODE IN EFFECT UNTIL JULY 1, 2014 AS IT RELATES TO FELONIES IS AS DESCRIBED DIRECTLY BELOW. ANY CRIMES CHARGED BEFORE THIS EFFECTIVE DATE OF JULY 1, 2014 WILL BE CLASSIFIED AND DEALT WITH AS BELOW.
CHARGES FILED AFTER JULY 1, 2014 WILL BE REFLECTED FURTHER BELOW IN
THE SECTION WE HAVE LABELLED AS NEW CRIMINAL CODE – FELONIES.
MURDER: The highest criminal offense, with the most severe penalties, that can be charged in the State of Indiana. The minimum sentence upon conviction is a term of forty five (45) years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. The maximum sentence is sixty five (65) years. Depending upon the Prosecution’s facts, and perspective, the penalty can also include the possibility of life in prison without parole, as well as the Death Sentence under what are limited and rather specific circumstances.
Our Indianapolis Criminal Defense Office has represented numerous persons charged in the State of Indiana with Murder, Felony Murder, or Attempted Murder. Many of them have been resolved by way of jury trials. Plea bargaining when the stakes are this high…is sometimes not a viable option. There is nothing in the practice of criminal law which rises to a higher level of significance, of emotion, of pressure in pursuit of a proper outcome.
The person charged with these crimes has their entire life in the balance.
CLASS A Felony: This Class of felony carries a sentencing range upon conviction of twenty (20) years at the low end to fifty (50) years at the high end. It also carries up to a maximum of $10,000 fine. These often involve crimes of violence while armed or with serious bodily injury, or cases involving serious harm to a child. Examples are Criminal Confinement while armed, Robbery while armed , Rape, Battery causing death,
DEALING IN COCAINE, METHAMPHETAMINE as well as Schedule I, II Controlled Substances.
CLASS B Felony: This Class of Felony carries a determinate range of sentencing from six (6) years in the Indiana Department of Corrections to a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years with the advisory sentence being ten (10) years incarcerated.
These often include Burglary of a Residence, Robbery, Arson, Aggravated Battery. DEALING IN SMALLER AMOUNTS OF COCAINE, METH, SCEDULE I, II CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES.
CLASS C Felony: This Class of Felony carries a determinate sentence range of two (2) years to eight (8) years incarceration at the Indiana Department of Corrections. The advisory sentence is four (4) years. If there is no prior felony conviction for the Defendant being sentenced, that person can have his sentence suspended if the sentencing judge deems it appropriate.
Examples are Forgery, Robbery (unarmed), Burglary (non-residential).
CLASS D Felony: This Class of Felony carries the least amount of possible executed time in the State of Indiana. The sentence range is from six (6) months to three (3) years. Again, if there is no prior felony situation involving the person facing conviction of a Class D Felony, the sentence can be suspended.
SENTENCING ENHANCEMENTS: Additional executed time, separate from the actual offense you face.
There are some very specific situations in the Indiana Criminal Code for sentencing purposes that are considered separate enhancements, which means that if the Defendant’s facts fall into some of these categories, they can receive an additional period of time incarcerated because of these ‘enhancements‘.
1. Persons with a Juvenile History: May find that their sentence cannot be suspended once into the adult system (I.C. 35-50-2-2.1)
2. Criminal Gang Activity: Can enhance the alleged crime significantly. (This can be a nebulous concept sometimes that a versed Indianapolis Felony Criminal Defense Attorney can assist crucially)
3. Habitual Criminal Offender: If the person has two prior unrelated felony convictions. The sentence, if convicted on the current, underlying offense, is enhanced to have an additional sentence of not less than the advisory sentence (on the underlying offense) nor more than three (3) times the advisory sentence on the underlying offense. However, the additional (enhanced) sentence cannot exceed thirty (30) years. (I.C. 35-50-2-8).
This can essentially entail a life sentence.
4. Life Imprisonment Without Parole upon Third Felony Conviction, Or Second Offense Against a Child (I.C. 35-50-2-8.5)
5. Habitual Substance Offenders: If the Defendant has two (2) or more prior unrelated ‘substance’ offense convictions and is found guilty on a new, underlying offense, that Defendant can be sentenced under the HSO statute. That additional sentence shall be an additional term of at least three (3) years but nor more than eight (8) years incarceration. (I.C. 35-50-2-10).
This statute is a clear example of a Defendant’s need to have an experienced Indiana Felony Criminal Defense Lawyer by his/her side. Depending on the Defendant’s prior history, even if the State seeks HSO enhancement, that additional sentence can be reduced to only one (1) year, as opposed to the three (3) year minimum contemplated by the statute.
6. Firearm Used In Commission of Offense: The State can seek by way of a separate charging instrument, to have a person’s sentence enhanced significantly if the State can prove the person used a firearm in the commission of certain offenses, the Court may sentence that person to an additional five (5) year sentence. (I.C. 35-50-2-11)
7. Use of Firearm in Controlled Sustance Offenses: This enhancement ranges from five (5) additional years up to an additional twenty (20) years depending on the facts and proof available to the prosecution.
8. Repeat Sexual Offenders: Sentence enhanced to the advisory sentence for the underlying offense, but not more than ten (10) additional years.
9. Termination of Human Pregnancy: The State may seek by way of separate charging information to enhance the sentence on the underlying offense if it caused the termination of a human pregnancy, The additional sentence ‘shall be’ no less than six (6) years nor more than twenty years.
CHANGES TO CRIMINAL CODE – FELONIES – EFFECTIVE JULY 1ST, 2014
The Four Levels of Felonies (A-D) have now been expanded to 6 Levels.
Class A Felonies have now been divided into essentially Level 1 and Level 2 Felonies
Level 1 Felonies Carry a Possible Sentence of 20 – 50 years, with Advisory of 30 years
Level 2 Felonies Carry Possible Sentence of 10-30 years, with Advisory of 17.5 years
Class B Felonies have been divided into essentially Levels 3 and Level 4 Felonies
Level 3 Felonies Carry Possible Sentence of 3-20 years, with Advisory of 6 years
Level 4 Felonies Carry Possible Sentence of 2-12 years, with Advisory of 4 years.
Class C Felonies are generally equivalent to current Level 5 Felonies – They carry a possible sentence range from 1-6 years, and an Advisory sentence of 2 years.
Class D Felonies are now generally equivalent to current Level 6 Felonies – They carry a possible sentence range from 0.5 – 2.5 years, with an Advisory of 1 year.