Experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving Clients Accused of Misdemeanors and Felonies
Indiana deputy prosecutors vigorously prosecute both serious and minor crimes. It doesn’t matter if you are wrongly accused or simply made a mistake – the prosecutor will be focused on securing a conviction. It is, therefore, the role of a skilled and proficient Indianapolis criminal defense attorney to analyze the evidence, evaluate the potential outcomes, and use every tool in his or her arsenal to advocate for you. Your criminal defense lawyer is on your side, not the prosecutor. By choosing the right defense attorney, you can present an intelligent defense, fight to maintain your innocence, adeptly negotiate with the prosecutor, or make cogent arguments about ethical or constitutional violations.
Eskew Law LLC has provided clients located throughout Indiana with compassionate advice and guidance, creative and innovative defense strategies, and an unrivaled dedication to justice. If you were arrested for a crime in Indianapolis, Greenwood, Carmel, Noblesville, Columbus, Danville, Greenfield or any local Indiana city, Eskew Law LLC can assist you with fighting the charges. To discuss your case with a reputable Indianapolis criminal lawyer, call Eskew Law LLC at (317) 974-0177.
Overview of Indiana Criminal Law
The Indiana General Assembly is responsible for enacting all criminal laws for the state of Indiana in Title 35 of the Indiana Code. Title 35 defines various offenses, differentiates between misdemeanors and felonies, recognizes certain defenses, enumerates aggravating factors and sentencing enhancement factors, and provides sentencing ranges for crimes. In addition, the Indiana court system also plays an active role in interpreting the law. Judges are tasked with expounding on the law by further explaining the elements of an offense or when certain defenses are available.
In layman’s terms, a crime is an action that is forbidden by the law. Crimes in Indiana are divided into misdemeanors and felonies, and these groupings are further broken up into classes. The potential sentencing range is dictated by whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony and what class it falls under.
Misdemeanors are less serious and often minor offenses that face up to one year in county jail. There are three classes of misdemeanors.
- Class A Misdemeanors: Up to one year in county jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- Class B Misdemeanors: Up to 180 days in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines
- Class C Misdemeanors: Up to 60 days in county jail and up to $500 in fines
Common misdemeanors include driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.
Felonies are severe offenses that are often associated with serious physical, emotional, or financial injury to a complainant. Felonies face anywhere from six months to life in state prison or even the death penalty.
- Murder: 45 years to 65 years. The state may be able to try for life in state prison without parole or the death penalty and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 1 Felony: 20 to 40 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 30 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 2 Felony: 10 to 30 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 17.5 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 3 Felony: 3 to 16 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 9 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 4 Felony: 2 to 12 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 6 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 5 Felony: 1 to 6 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 3 years and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 6 Felony: 6 months to 2.5 years in state prison with an advisory sentence of 1 year and up to $10,000 in fines
The maximum sentences, mandatory minimums, and sentencing ranges are all outlined in the Indiana Code. However, judges often times have leeway to impose other sentences. These include reduced county jail or state prison sentences. In addition, there are other penalties that do not involve incarceration. These include:
- Probation: Each county has its own probation department that supervises adults and juveniles who are ordered to participate in probation. For example, Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis has a large probation department. Probation is supervision in lieu of incarceration. After you are sentenced, a probation officer will be assigned to you. You will be released but must adhere to conditions set forth by the judge and your probation officer. These conditions may include fines and fees, drug testing, home visits, maintaining employment, weekly meetings, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, staying away from the complainant, and counseling or therapy. If you successfully complete probation, your case will be closed. However, if you fail to meet all of the conditions, you may have jail or prison time hanging over your head.
- Alternative sentences: Judges, especially with misdemeanors, can get creative with sentences. These sentences can be similar to probation without the oversight of a probation officer. For example, you could be ordered to complete community service, pay a fine, or suffer administrative consequences such as suspension of your driver’s license for a DUI conviction.
- Community Corrections sentences: Some crimes allow for the possibility to serve your executed time in the county community corrections programs. These programs include work release and home detention. You are able to earn the same jail credit serving these sentences as you would in prison or in a jail.
Even if you are sentenced to incarceration, you may receive “good time credit.” You may also be released early on parole. Parole is similar to probation in that you will be assigned to a parole officer for a certain number of months or years and will be required to follow certain conditions.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney
When you are facing serious penalties for a misdemeanor or felony offense in Indiana, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance from an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer who is competent in the courtroom, proficient at negotiation, and skilled at thinking outside the box.
After an arrest, your first thought may be to hire the first or cheapest Indianapolis law firm you find. This decision is too important to make emotionally. You need someone who is smart and able to fully analyze and evaluate cases. You need someone like Chris Eskew. With years defending, not prosecuting, Indiana clients, Eskew Law LLC understands that the most important part of representing someone accused of a crime is strategy and experience. Thinking intelligently and with your goals always in mind allows our firm to make smart decisions that reflect your personal priorities.
Entrust Your Future in the Hands of a Skilled Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
To schedule a consultation with Eskew Law LLC, contact us today. During your initial consultation, our experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys will review your arrest, explain the law, discuss your options, and begin formulating a strategy to defend against the charges. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. To schedule an appointment, call (317) 974-0177 now.