Indiana, like many other states, divides crimes into categories based on their severity. For example, less serious crimes, such as driving under the influence or possession of small amounts of marijuana are categorized as misdemeanors. More serious crimes, like assault or robbery, on the other hand, are charged as felonies. The type of offense that a person is charged with has an extremely important impact on the severity of the penalties imposed for a conviction, as well as the kind of defense that the accused should raise. For help with formulating a defense to your own charges, it is critical to speak with an experienced Northwest criminal defense lawyer who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
The severity of a person’s sentence depends on a number of factors, including the defendant’s past criminal record, as well as the class of crime in question. For instance, there are three types of misdemeanors in Indiana that range from Class C to Class A. Class C misdemeanors are the least serious type of offense and are punishable by a maximum of two months in jail and a $500 fine. Class B misdemeanors are more serious and could result in 180 days of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Finally, Class A misdemeanors, which are considered to be the most serious type of misdemeanor could end up costing defendants up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
There are a variety of crimes that fall under these three categories, although the most commonly charged are driving under the influence, marijuana possession, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct. More serious crimes that cause physical, financial, or emotional injury to a third party are usually charged as one of six different classes of felony.
Like misdemeanor crimes, felony offenses are divided into categories. For instance, Level 6 felonies, which are punishable by between six months and two and a half years in prison, represent the least serious type of felony crime, while Level 1 felonies are considered the most serious, and as such, are punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment. In addition to jail time and fines, defendants who are convicted of felony offenses could also be ordered to perform community service, attend drug or alcohol counseling, or fulfill the requirements of probation.
Although the type of crime that a person is charged with will largely dictate his or her punishment if convicted, courts are also given discretion to reduce jail or prison sentences, order probation in lieu of incarceration, or approve home detention or work release. When making these decisions, judges take a number of factors into account aside from the severity of the crime, including the defendant’s prior criminal history, age, and degree of remorse. In fact, defendants who successfully complete probation, counseling, and community service may be able to have their criminal records expunged, especially if they were underage when the crime was committed.
Whether you have been charged with a minor traffic offense or a more serious crime, such as drug possession or assault, you need the advice of an attorney who can help you avoid the most serious penalties. Please call (219) 865-6262 today to speak with one of the dedicated Northwest Indiana criminal defense attorneys at Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.