In Indiana, being convicted of committing a criminal offense can have serious repercussions, as even misdemeanor charges can result in jail time and hefty fines. Furthermore, those with a criminal record face ostracism from their community and may also have a difficult time securing employment or finding housing. Because there is so much at stake for defendants who have been charged with a crime, it is critical for these individuals to speak with an experienced Crown Point criminal defense lawyer who can help them begin the process of formulating a strong defense.
Indiana law divides crimes into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The former term refers to crimes that are considered minor, such as a first time OWI or a marijuana possession charge, while the latter covers more serious crimes like assault and domestic violence. In many cases, those who are charged with misdemeanors are able to avoid jail time entirely, especially if they agree to the terms of probation or accept a plea agreement. Felonies, on the other hand, which are divided into six different classes, almost always come with prison sentences of at least a year.
In Indiana, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense, as even first time offenders face jail time, driver’s license suspension, and fines. However, the exact penalties faced by a defendant depend in large part on the specific circumstances of the case, including whether the defendant has prior OWI convictions on his or her record, as well as the driver’s BAC level at the time of arrest. Even refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test is punishable by the revocation of a driver’s license for at least a year, as all drivers are considered to have impliedly consented to taking such tests upon arrest.
The possession of marijuana, although it has been legalized in many states, is still unlawful in Indiana where a person can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if he or she:
Charges will be enhanced if a defendant has any prior convictions for possession on his or her record. For instance, possessing marijuana becomes a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison, if the defendant in question has a prior drug offense conviction. Possession of marijuana can even be enhanced to a Level 6 felony if a defendant has a prior drug offense-related conviction and was found in possession of at least 30 grams of marijuana or at least five grams of hashish, hash oil, or salvia. Level 6 felonies are punishable by a $10,000 fine and a 2 1/2 year prison sentence.
If you have questions or concerns about your own arrest record or pending charges, please call (219) 865-6262 to consult with one of the dedicated Crown Point criminal defense attorneys at Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.