Criminal Defense Lawyer in Evansville

The nuances and complexities of various felony levels demand comprehensive understanding. Felony charges stand out as some of the most severe and life-altering accusations one can face. Entrusting your defense to a seasoned Evansville, IN criminal defense lawyer is paramount.

At Verdelski Miller, we’re committed to providing an insightful understanding of these classifications and ensuring every individual receives the best defense they deserve. With stakes this high, settling for anything less than comprehensive expertise is not an option.

Table of Contents



Level 1 Felonies

Attempted Murder

Attempted murder is one of the grimmest charges within the criminal justice system. This accusation insinuates an individual had a clear and definitive intent to end another person’s life but was unsuccessful in that pursuit. The gravity of this charge hinges on that intent.

What separates attempted murder from actual murder is often a matter of unplanned circumstances or external interventions, rather than a lack of intent. For instance, a bystander might unexpectedly intervene, a weapon might malfunction, or rapid emergency medical care might save the victim.

The nuances of the charge require considering not only the accused’s actions but also their mindset and the surrounding circumstances. Legal defenses often revolve around challenging the establishment of intent, or the reliability of evidence pointing to such intent.

Aggravated Rape

Rape, in any form, is a profound violation, causing deep physical and psychological trauma to victims. Aggravated rape intensifies the severity of this crime through the presence of certain aggravating factors.

The term “aggravated” implies that the act was carried out under circumstances that make it even more heinous than “standard” rape allegations. For instance, if the perpetrator employs a weapon during the act, it not only underscores the violent intent but also dramatically increases the physical threat to the victim. Similarly, causing severe bodily harm or targeting particularly vulnerable populations (like children or the elderly) can shift a rape charge to an aggravated one.

The legal implications of such a charge are substantial. When mounting a defense, it becomes crucial to examine the establishment of these aggravating factors and their alignment with the presented evidence.

Level 2 Felonies

Voluntary Manslaughter

While murder conveys a deliberate and premeditated intent to end a life, voluntary manslaughter indicates a somewhat different psychological landscape. Here, an individual acts on sudden, intense emotions that can cloud judgment and lead to actions they might not have otherwise taken under different circumstances. A classic scenario could involve someone discovering a spouse in an act of infidelity and, in a surge of emotion, causing fatal harm without having pre-planned such an act.

Several key components differentiate voluntary manslaughter from murder:

Immediate Provocation: The perpetrator typically acts in response to a situation that would provoke intense emotion in any reasonable person, leading them to act without prior intention.

Lack of Cooling-Off Period: The incident occurs so quickly that the individual doesn’t have a moment to reflect or calm down, which might have led to a different decision.

Genuine Regret or Remorse: Often, once the intense emotions have subsided, those who commit voluntary manslaughter may feel profound remorse for their actions.

Kidnapping for Ransom

Kidnapping in itself is a serious crime, but when it’s combined with the intent of ransom, it amplifies the severity and implications of the act. This crime not only violates the personal freedom of the victim but also signifies a calculated intent to gain, often monetarily, from the act.

Key aspects to consider are:

Pre-planning: Kidnapping for ransom often involves prior planning – selecting the victim, determining the location for holding the victim, and strategizing the method of obtaining the ransom.

Dual Intent: The perpetrator’s intent isn’t just to kidnap but also to profit. This dual malicious intent compounds the crime.

Extended Trauma: The victim’s ordeal doesn’t end with the kidnapping. They endure prolonged psychological distress during captivity, with uncertainty about their fate and the potential harm they may face if the ransom isn’t paid.

Ripple Effect: Beyond the victim, this crime deeply affects their loved ones. They face the torment of deciding about paying a ransom, dealing with potential negotiations, and the constant fear for the safety of the abducted individual.

criminal defense lawyer

Level 3 Felonies

Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery implies the intent to cause significant harm or disfigurement. The use of a weapon, or causing severe injuries, elevates the crime from a standard battery. The intention to harm and the subsequent consequences faced by the victim, either through physical trauma or potential long-term effects, categorizes it as a Level 3 felony.


A non-consensual act of sexual conduct, rape is a grievous violation of an individual’s personal rights and safety. Its classification as a Level 3 felony is based on the huge physical and psychological harm it imposes on victims, as well as the broader societal implications of such actions.


Kidnapping is the unlawful abduction of an individual. Whether done for personal reasons or other malicious intents, the act deprives victims of their liberty and can lead to long-standing emotional distress. Such actions, given their nature and impact, are defined as Level 3 felonies.

Level 4 Felonies


Different from voluntary manslaughter, manslaughter does not involve the immediate “heat of the moment” emotions. It typically arises when someone recklessly causes the death of another without the specific intent to kill. For instance, a fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver may lead to a manslaughter charge. It’s the unintended but reckless action resulting in death that classifies it as a Level 4 felony.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault includes factors that exacerbate the crime. This might involve assault against a particularly vulnerable victim, using a weapon to facilitate the assault, or causing severe physical harm in the process. The deep physical and psychological trauma it inflicts places this crime under the Level 4 category.

Arson with Bodily Injury

Arson, the act of intentionally setting fire to buildings, wild areas, vehicles, or other properties, is a serious crime. However, when this act results in bodily injury to someone, it’s seen in an even graver light. The combination of property damage, potential intent to harm, and actual physical harm categorizes it as a Level 4 felony.

arson with bodily injury

Level 5 Felonies

Reckless Homicide

This charge is levied when an individual’s reckless actions lead to the death of another. The distinction between manslaughter and reckless homicide can sometimes be nuanced, focusing on the degree of recklessness and whether the action was a direct cause of death.


While theft involves unlawfully taking someone’s property, burglary involves entering a building or structure with the intent to commit theft or another felony. It’s the act of unlawful entry with a criminal intention that escalates the crime, placing it as a Level 5 felony.

Involuntary Manslaughter

This occurs when an individual unintentionally causes the death of another while committing an unlawful act, typically not a felony. It can also arise from negligence, where the individual failed to act responsibly, leading to someone’s death.

Robbery with No Bodily Injuries

Robbery involves taking property directly from someone with the use or threat of force. When no physical harm comes to the victim, the crime is severe but less so than if bodily injuries were sustained, thus categorizing it as a Level 5 felony.

Level 6 Felonies


Theft pertains to the unauthorized acquisition of another person’s property without any intention of returning it. It’s the act without direct confrontation or the element of breaking and entering (as in burglary) that classifies it as a Level 6 felony.


This covers a range of deceptive activities intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party. This can include credit card fraud, identity theft, or insurance fraud, among others.

Auto Theft

This crime involves specifically targeting the theft of vehicles. Given the value and importance of vehicles to their owners, and the potential for such thefts to be connected to other crimes, it’s classified under Level 6 felonies.

Dealing in a Controlled Substance

This charge pertains to the illegal sale or distribution of drugs. The classification can depend on the type and amount of drug, but general dealing, especially in smaller amounts, is often categorized as a Level 6 felony.

Verdelski Miller’s Approach to Defending Felony Charges

1. Initial Consultation and Case Review

Our first step involves a detailed consultation with the client to understand the incident from their perspective. This gives us a foundational understanding of the case.

2. Evidence Analysis

We systematically scrutinize all evidence presented by the prosecution. This includes physical evidence, digital records, witness statements, and any surveillance footage. Our team actively seeks inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or potential mishandling of evidence that could weaken the prosecution’s case.

3. Arrest and Detainment Review

Every arrest must follow specific protocols. We assess the legality of the arrest, ensuring the client’s rights weren’t violated. This can include checking if proper Miranda warnings were given or if there was a valid reason for the detainment.

4. Expert Consultations

For complex cases, especially those involving technical evidence like DNA, we consult with experts in relevant fields. Their insights can challenge the strength or validity of evidence, introducing reasonable doubt.

5. Witness Cross-Examination

A major component of our defense strategy involves the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses. Our goal is to highlight inconsistencies in their testimonies, question their reliability, or potentially expose biases that could influence their statements.

cross examination

6. Building a Counter-Narrative

We don’t just challenge the prosecution’s story; we build our own narrative based on our findings, supporting our client’s position and establishing doubt regarding their alleged guilt.

7. Continuous Client Communication

Throughout the process, maintaining open lines of communication with our clients is paramount. We ensure they’re informed, involved, and understand every decision made in their defense.

Schedule a Consultation with the Most Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyer in Evansville

Each felony level carries distinct charges and implications. At Verdelski Miller, our in-depth understanding of these classifications ensures that clients receive a tailored defense strategy, no matter the severity of their charges.

If you or a loved one are navigating the complexities of felony charges, you’d want the best Evansville, IN criminal defense lawyer by your side. Reach out to Verdelski Miller at 812-842-0998 for unparalleled legal representation.


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