Certainly! Hillsdale, Indiana, nestled in the picturesque landscape of Vermillion County, offers a serene and idyllic setting for residents seeking a tranquil rural lifestyle. With a population of approximately 500, Hillsdale maintains a close-knit community atmosphere where neighbors often know each other by name, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie among its residents.
One of the defining features of Hillsdale is its beautiful natural surroundings. The town is surrounded by rolling hills, lush farmland, and expansive wooded areas, providing residents with stunning views and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether it’s hiking along scenic trails, enjoying picnics in the countryside, or simply taking leisurely strolls through the peaceful neighborhoods, Hillsdale offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Despite its small size, Hillsdale provides essential amenities and services to its residents. Local businesses cater to the needs of the community, offering everything from groceries and supplies to dining options and specialty shops. Additionally, the town is home to schools that provide quality education for local children, ensuring that families have access to educational opportunities close to home.
While Hillsdale may not have the bustling commercial centers or entertainment venues found in larger cities, its proximity to nearby urban areas like Terre Haute and Indianapolis offers residents the best of both worlds. Residents can enjoy the peace and quiet of small-town living while still having convenient access to the amenities and employment opportunities available in larger cities.
Overall, Hillsdale, Indiana, exudes a charming and inviting atmosphere, where the simple pleasures of rural living are cherished and celebrated. With its scenic beauty, strong sense of community, and convenient location, Hillsdale is truly a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Indiana’s countryside.
A conviction for a felony offense in Indiana could mean expensive fines and a lengthy prison sentence. Plus, having a felony conviction on your criminal record could make it difficult to find a place to live, get a job, advance your career, or take advantage of many other opportunities life has to offer, such as serving on a jury and applying for college.
If you are charged with a crime, it’s always wise to understand the level of offense and the possible consequences. Some criminal convictions carry severe penalties, including huge fines and prison/jail time.
By understanding the possible penalties, you will be better informed when deciding on whether to go to trial or enter a plea agreement.
You should consider working with an experienced Hillsdale criminal defense lawyer from as early on in the case as possible. The sooner you seek the help of a lawyer, the sooner they can start strategizing to minimize or eliminate jail time, and the better your chances of getting the charges dismissed or acquitted.
Verdelski Miller has years of experience representing clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, and we can start evaluating your case today. Call our Hillsdale Criminal Defense Lawyers at 812-842-0998 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Hillsdale, IN.
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Classification of Felonies in Indiana
Indiana law defines a felony as any crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison. The law designated felonies into six main levels, with each level representing a varying degree of severity – level 1 is the most serious while Level 6 is the least severe.
In this section, we’ll explore the different levels of felony sentencing classifications for Indiana, and provide examples of crimes under each level.
Level 1 felonies are considered the most severe among the felony classifications in Indiana. Examples of Level 1 felonies include treason, second-degree murder, and certain forms of sexual assault, such as aggravated rape (rape by use of a weapon or deadly force.
The penalties for Level 1 felony include a prison term of between 20 and 40 years, with an advisory sentence of 30 years for aggravating factors. A conviction also carries the possibility of up to $10,000 in fines.
Level 2 felonies cover crimes such as burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, kidnapping for ransom, as well as manufacturing or dealing narcotics (such as dealing methamphetamine of 10 grams or more).
The penalties for Level 2 felony conviction include imprisonment of between 10 and 30 years, with an advisory sentence of 17.5 years for aggravating factors. A conviction also carries the possibility of up to $10,000 in fines.
Level 3 felonies include arson that results in serious bodily injury, voluntary manslaughter, and certain drug offenses. Child molestation, rape, kidnapping, and aggravated battery where a person intentionally inflicts serious injury are also examples of level 3 felonies.
The penalties for these include a prison term between 3 to 16 years, with an advisory sentence of 9 years for aggravating factors. A conviction also carries the possibility of up to $10,000 in fines.
Level 4 felonies include crimes such as arson with bodily harm, as well as sexual assault, manslaughter, and extortion. Other examples include crimes like aggravated assault and some forms of fraud.
The penalties for Level 4 felony include imprisonment for between 2 and 12 years, along with an advisory sentence of 6 years for aggravating factors. A conviction also carries the possibility of up to $10,000 in fines.
The penalties for Level 5 felony include a prison term of between 1 and 6 years, as well as an advisory sentence of 3 years for aggravating factors.
Examples of Level 5 felonies include crimes of child solicitation, involuntary manslaughter, robbery with no bodily injuries, battery that results in moderate bodily injury, reckless homicide, burglary (residential entry), sexual misconduct with a minor, and certain drug-related crimes. A conviction also carries potential fines of up to $10,000.
These are the least severe among the felony classifications in Indiana. Level 6 felonies are often considered a “wobbler”, and can either remain a felony or even be reduced to a misdemeanor based on the circumstances of the case.
Examples of level 6 felony crimes include possession of a controlled substance (small quantities), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, forgery, fraud, theft, sexual battery, auto theft, and counterfeiting.
Penalties include imprisonment of between 6 months and 2.5 years, with the possibility of an advisory sentence of up to 1 year for aggravating factors. A conviction also carries potential fines of up to $10,000.
First-degree murder is the most serious unclassified felony under Indiana criminal laws, and it carries its own set of penalties. The possible sentence for first-degree murder is between 45 and 65 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with an advisory sentence of 55 years.
It also carries potential fines of up to $10,000, with the possibility of life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.
It’s worth noting that the listed penalties are not set in stone, and usually vary based on the circumstances of the case, including previous criminal history and other relevant factors. The courts have some discretion when it comes to choosing the appropriate sentences within the statutory limits.
In addition, some offenses can attract harsher penalties if there are aggravating factors.
Aside from imprisonment and fines, individuals who are convicted of felonies may also face probation, mandatory treatment or counseling programs, and community service, along with other conditions imposed by the court.
Aggravating & Mitigating Factors
Aggravating factors are anything that might cause the sentencing to be longer than the guidelines in place while mitigating factors are anything that would result in a shorter sentence.
Examples of mitigating factors include situations where
The defendant is cooperative, young, and open to treatment, etc.
The attitude and character of the alleged offender indicate they’re unlikely to re-offend.
The crime didn’t cause significant harm.
The victim aided or induced the occurrence of the offense.
The offense was a result of strong provocation.
Aggravating factors include any situations where the accused has a criminal record, used excessive force or weapons, violated a prior court order to commit the alleged crime, or targeted a vulnerable victim, such as a child or an elderly person. Other aggravating factors include:
The victim was younger than 12 or older than 65.
The offender has a criminal or delinquency record.
The degree of harm was a lot more significant than normally required to prove the offense.
The offense was overly violent and committed in the presence of a minor who wasn’t a victim.
The victim was under the custody or care of the defendant.
Alternate Sentencing for Felony Charges
Certain Level 6 or Level 5 felony convictions may be eligible for alternative sentencing. This means that the court may decide to enter a conviction for a felony charge as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
However, a felony conviction is not eligible for misdemeanor sentencing in case the accused had been granted an alternate misdemeanor sentencing for a prior and unrelated felony, and this prior felony occurred less than 3 years before the subsequent felony.
Depending on a number of factors, a felony conviction could receive enhanced sentences. Such factors include:
Convictions for gang activities or certain firearm offenses
Aggravating factors such as violation of court orders or being a habitual offender.
Depending on the level of the felony, an enhanced sentence could add two to 20 more years of jail time. The judge may also grant a more lenient sentence, and the felony conviction may not even include a prison sentence.
The judge may limit the penalties to probation and other court orders or suspend a prison sentence.
With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may consider exploring a pretrial diversion. In some cases, it’s possible to work out a deal with the prosecution that lets the court take corrective action against you without necessarily pursuing a criminal conviction.