What Are the Different Levels for Crimes in Indiana?

The law punishes crimes in different ways, with more severe punishments corresponding to more serious offenses. If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s important to know the type and level of charge you are facing. Then, you should hire an Evansville, IN criminal defense attorney who is prepared to fight for you.

This article explains the different types of felony and misdemeanor offenses in Indiana. Are you facing criminal charges? Reach out to Verdelski Miller Law for your free initial consultation.

Lowest Level: Infractions

An infraction is not technically a criminal charge, but instead, a civil offense or violation. A person who breaks certain laws can be charged with an infraction. Although these are less serious than misdemeanors and felonies, they do carry penalties. Fines, suspended licenses, and other restrictions are common.

Infractions include:

  • Speeding
  • Traffic law violations
  • Littering
  • Jaywalking
  • Open beer or other alcoholic beverage containers
  • Failure to use child restraints
  • Minor in possession of tobacco products
  • Not wearing a seatbelt

More Serious: Misdemeanors

The next level of criminal charges is the misdemeanor. While these are lesser offenses compared to felonies, they can come with significant, long-lasting penalties. There are three classes of misdemeanors in Indiana, ranked from most to least serious: Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Here are some examples of each:

  • A: Theft, battery with bodily injury, and domestic battery
  • B: Harassment, possession of marijuana, public intoxication
  • C: OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving (with no injuries)

Misdemeanors are punishable as follows:

  • A: Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000
  • B: Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • C: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500

Certain repeat misdemeanors can result in felony charges. Examples include domestic battery and selling drug paraphernalia. It goes without saying that you should take any misdemeanor charge seriously and retain an Evansville, IN criminal defense lawyer.

Most Serious Charges: Felonies

A felony is considered a major crime. Contrary to popular belief, not all felonies result in prison time. Regardless, it is imperative that you retain criminal defense counsel if you are facing felony charges.

Indiana has seven categories of felonies: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Level 6, and first-degree murder. First-degree murder exists as its own classification since it is considered the most serious crime. For Levels 1-6, Level 1 is the most serious, with descending severity down to Level 6.

Here are some examples:

  • Level 1: Second-degree murder, attempted murder, certain types of sexual assault
  • Level 2: Kidnapping, burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, dealing drugs
  • Level 3: Voluntary manslaughter, arson resulting in serious bodily injury, some drug crimes
  • Level 4: Aggravated assault, arson, some types of fraud
  • Level 5: Battery causing moderate bodily injury, residential entry, certain drug-related offenses
  • Level 6: Theft, possession of a controlled substance, some property crimes

By statute, murder is punishable with between 45 and 65 years in prison. As for the other felonies, they are punishable by the following prison terms:

Speak With an Evansville, IN Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter how serious or light the charges may seem against you, having skilled legal counsel is a necessity. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain in your favor. There are even cases in which charges may be dropped altogether.

Call Verdelski Miller Law today to learn more.

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