CRIMINAL CHARGES CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER
Facing a criminal charge can be one of the most challenging times in someone’s life, especially if they believe they are innocent of the charges. According to a report on the Indiana state government’s website, more than 54 percent of the criminal cases filed in 2015 were misdemeanors, which are the least severe criminal charges one can face. This is not to say these charges don’t have consequences for defendants and their families. Criminal allegations can send your life into a tailspin, and you could lose wages from your job if you can’t make it to work because your criminal defense is keeping you away at court.
There are a variety of criminal charges you could face under Indiana state law. Below are just a few of them that could have drastic effects on your life and those you love.
Sex crimes. Rape is the most commonly known form of sex crime, but Indiana law recognizes a variety of sex crimes involving children. Child sexual assault, child solicitation, intercourse with a child, and possession and exploitation of child pornography are just some of the acts Indiana pursues that have severe penalties for those convicted of these crimes.
Burglary. Indiana defines this as breaking and entering into a building with the intent to commit a felony or theft inside. This includes home invasions, which are much more severe under Indiana law.
Robbery. You merely need to take something from someone’s possession, regardless of the alleged victim having true ownership, to be charged with robbery in Indiana. The inclusion of weapons in perpetrating this felony criminal offense only leads to steeper penalties.
Battery. Indiana defines battery as “touching someone in a rude, insolent or angry manner,” meaning you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if you intentionally touch someone without permission. If you acted only in self-defense, you’ll still need to defend yourself against these charges.
Domestic violence. There are an array of charges considered domestic violence under Indiana law, including harassment, criminal trespass, kidnapping and criminal confinement.
Drunk driving. If you were pulled over and tested for blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater, and are older than 21, you could face a charge of driving under the influence. Indiana law treats drivers younger than 21 more harshly, with those blowing just 0.02 BAC with the same DUI charge as someone over the age of 21 blowing a 0.08.
Drug dealing. Depending on the Controlled Dangerous Substances schedule and amount of the substance, the type of drug you are accused of distributing will determine the severity of the crime. The severity increases if you’re found distributing near a school, public housing or youth center.
Drug possession. As with drug dealing charges, if you’re found near a school or similar institution in possession of a drug, you could face steeper penalties.
Handguns/firearms crimes. These charges include being caught with a weapon when a previous felony conviction restricted your right to one. You don’t need to discharge a firearm to face the possibility of a felony firearms conviction, you just need to use one in a manner that breaks the law.
Juvenile delinquency. These are criminal acts committed by people younger than the age of 18. According to Indiana’s government website, more than 20 percent of all cases involving juveniles in 2015 were attributed to juvenile delinquency.
In 2014, Indiana revamped its criminal code. This overhaul of penalties and sentencing brought about harsher penalties for drug crimes and habitual criminals, according the Indianapolis Star. Misdemeanors and their respective sentences include:
Class C misdemeanor. This is the lightest of Indiana’s misdemeanor charges, but you could still face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if convicted of a Class C crime.
Class B misdemeanor. With fines of $1,000, you could face as many as 180 days in an Indiana jail if found guilty.
Class A misdemeanor. This is the most severe classification of a misdemeanor crime. It includes a fine of as much as $5,000 and up to a year in jail.
Felonies crimes carry steeper penalties for Hoosiers found guilty of these crimes. They bear greater potential for prolonged sentences in prison. Indiana felonies and sentences are:
Level 6 felony. Under Indiana law, these criminal charges could be reduced to Class A misdemeanors. Level 6 felonies eligible for reduced classification include theft, drunk or intoxicated driving, drug possession, and maintaining a common nuisance. If convicted of a Level 6 felony, you could end up with a sentence of six months to 2 ½ years in prison.
Level 5 felony. At this level, you are subject to a sentence of one to six years, with the possibility of serving just three years for good behavior if you were given the maximum sentence.
Level 4 felony. If convicted of this crime, you could end up in prison for two to 12 years, with a minimum sentence of six years with a 12-year sentence.
Level 3 felony. Criminal convictions at Level 3 could leave you in a Indiana state prison for three to 16 years, and the state would consider early release of a maximum sentence after nine years.
Level 2 felony. You face a minimum of 10 years if convicted. The maximum sentence at Level 2 is 30 years, with an advisory sentence of 17 ½ years.
Level 1 felony. This could eat up nearly half a lifetime, with a minimum of 20 years and maximum of 40. You would be required to serve at least 75 percent of the sentence before release for good behavior, meaning your earliest release would be 30 years.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME
If you’ve been charged with a crime, there is much you can do to improve your chances of a successful defense and to gain favor with a judge. The first and most important thing you can do is show up if you know you’ve been charged with a crime. If a judge orders that you must appear in court, do not skip out on your court appearance. This can only exacerbate circumstances for you. You will find yourself, if incarcerated, with a higher bail and more restrictions after you have posted bail. There’s no sense in tempting an Indiana court’s wrath by avoiding it.
JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ADHERING TO THE WISHES OF THE COURT IS THE NEED TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY.
No matter the kind of criminal case you have against you, it is important that you know your rights and have an attorney who will serve your need. Since each case is unique, you need to be prepared from the beginning and well-informed throughout the entirety of your case. Whether your case is tried to a judge or jury or whether it is negotiated to a resolution, you want to do what is best to protect your future and freedom. Make sure that you have a person you can trust when you're facing this difficult situation.
Attorney Allen Lidy has more than a decade of experience helping Hoosiers defend their freedom and rights in the face of criminal charges. He has assisted clients from the tip of Lake Michigan to the banks of the Ohio River, standing up for those whose lives have been turned upside down because of allegations. Even if you’re found guilty, an attorney like Allen Lidy seeks what is best for his clients under the circumstances, fully presenting your circumstances and needs.
How you are perceived is one of the greatest factors in determining the direction of your life inside the walls of an Indiana courtroom. Your best interests are always the top priority for Allen and his office.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN INDIANA
With more than 10 years of experience standing up for clients and families who have been affected by criminal allegations, Indiana criminal defense attorney Allen Lidy is prepared to guide your case to the best possible outcome. He offers free initial consultations, because he believes in your right to quality legal representation against the state. Make an appointment to speak with Allen Lidy, and he will make it a point to provide personal attention to your case.