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Merrillville Criminal Defense Lawyer

Merrillville Criminal Defense Lawyer

Like other states, Indiana defines and classifies its crimes according to a certain system, under which offenses are categorized as being either misdemeanors or felonies. How an offense is classified depends on its severity. For instance, crimes involving injury to someone’s person are usually charged as felonies. However, even being convicted of a misdemeanor can lead to jail time, fines, and the creation of a permanent record, which in turn can make it difficult to secure employment, find housing, join the military, or take advantage of educational opportunities.

For these reasons, mounting a strong defense is critical, so if you are being investigated for your involvement in a crime or have already been charged, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced Merrillville criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your case and begin strategizing on your behalf.

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

Generally, misdemeanors are considered to be less serious criminal offenses than their felonious counterparts. Some of the most commonly charged misdemeanors in Indiana include public intoxication, petty theft, disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, and a first offense of driving under the influence. Misdemeanors are divided up based on their seriousness into three sub-categories, including:

  • Class C misdemeanors, which are the least serious type of misdemeanor offense and are punishable by up to two months in jail;
  • Class B misdemeanors, which are punishable by six months in prison and a $1,000 fine; and
  • Class A misdemeanors, which are the most serious type of misdemeanor in Indiana, and as such, could result in a prison sentence of up to a year and a $5,000 fine.

When an offense involves serious physical, financial, or emotional injury, it is usually considered a felony. Sentences range from six months to life in prison, and some offenses are even punishable by the death penalty. Felonies, like misdemeanors, are divided up into subcategories, of which there are six. Level 6 felonies are the least serious type of felony and are punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in prison, while Level 1 felonies are the most serious and could result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Murder is considered a separate class of offense and so does not fall under any of the six classes. Judges are also given discretion to order probation, community service, driver’s license suspensions, and mandatory enrollment in therapy or out-patient programs.

Statute of Limitations

With the exception of murder and Level 1 and 2 felonies, crimes in Indiana can only be prosecuted if they fall within a specific time limit. For instance, Level 3, 4, 5, and 6 felonies have a five year statute of limitations, so if prosecutors do not file charges within five years of the date that the crime was allegedly committed, a person cannot be charged for that offense. There are, however a few exceptions to this rule. If, for example, the state discovers or could have discovered DNA evidence that supports a charge, prosecutors have an additional year to prosecute a Level 3, 4, or 5 felony. Similarly, in cases involving child molestation and solicitation, charges can be brought until the victim reaches the age of 31 years old. Finally, all misdemeanors have a two-year statute of limitations.

Call Our Merrillville Criminal Defense Legal Team

A qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer could mean the difference between a conviction and going free, so if you have been charged with a crime, take the first step today and contact Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. at (219) 865-6262. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.

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Attorney Advertising. This information is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results and testimonials are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of the outcome of your case, and should not be construed as such. Past results cannot guarantee future performance. Any result in a single case is not meant to create an expectation of similar results in future matters because each case involves many different factors, therefore, results will differ on a case-by-case basis. By providing certain contact information herein, you are expressly authorizing the recipient of this message to contact you via the methods of communication provided.
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