Sentencing Enhancements in Indiana

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Indianapolis and Indiana Sentencing Enhancements

Judge Issuing a Sentence

When you are facing a serious criminal conviction that may involve incarceration, onerous probation or parole conditions, loss of employment, and hardship to your family, you need to be prepared to fully defend yourself against unfair or false accusations.

Eskew Law houses a team of driven and devoted Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys who believe in justice. They can assist you with creating a strong and solid defense strategy designed to fight charges or minimize potential sentences.

In Indiana, the Indiana Code lists the potential minimum, advised, and maximum sentences for all felony offenses, as well as all potential maximum sentences for misdemeanor offenses. However, many sentences can be enhanced or lengthened by the presence of sentencing enhancements.

These can include habitual offenders, bodily injury, the use or threat of force, the use of a deadly weapon, large amounts of controlled substances, and other aggravating factors. Aggravating factors are crime-specific and vary based on the type of crime.

For guidance on whether you face an enhanced sentence, call Eskew Law at (317) 974-0177 today to discuss your case with an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Indianapolis, IN.

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Habitual Offender

Indiana law permits judges to punish individuals with multiple convictions with lengthier sentences under habitual offender provisions. In 2014, the Indiana General Assembly revised the habitual offender statute, Section 35-59-2-8 of the Indiana Code. Now, every felony and every misdemeanor that is enhanced to a felony qualifies for enhanced sentencing.

For individuals arrested for murder or Levels 1-4 felonies and who already have two previous felony convictions, one of which was not a Level 6 or Class D felony, they face an extra six to 20 years in state prison.

For individuals arrested for a Level 5 felony and who already have two previous felony convictions, one of which cannot be a Level 6 or Class D felony, they face an extra two to six years in state prison.

For individuals arrested for a Level 6 felony and who already have three previous felony convictions and the Defendant was released from the most recent sentence within the past 10 years, they face an extra two to six years in state prison.

This enhancement latches onto the sentence of the highest felony level charged.

Bodily Injury

In addition, many misdemeanors and felonies are accompanied by harsher sentences when bodily injury is involved. Often times, the Indiana Code will differentiate between any bodily injury, moderate bodily injury, and serious bodily injury.

For example, robbery with no injury is a Level 5 felony. However, when bodily injury is involved, it is bumped up to a Level 3 felony, and when that injury is serious, it is bumped up to a Level 2 felony.

Use or Threat of Force

When the use of force or the threat of force accompanies criminal offenses such as sex crimes, the level can be enhanced even if no injury occurs.

For example, sexual battery is a Level 6 felony. However, it becomes a Level 4 felony when use or threat of force is utilized.

Use of a Deadly Weapon

The presence or use of a deadly weapon during a criminal offense like burglary can enhance the level, thus lengthening the potential sentence.

For example, burglary is a Level 5 felony. It becomes a Level 2 felony when a deadly weapon is present.

Large Amounts of Controlled Substances

Dealing, possession with intent to distribute, and simple possession are sentenced based on the amount of controlled substance seized by law enforcement. Larger amounts lead to larger sentences.

For example, dealing under one gram of cocaine is a Level 5 felony, but dealing over 10 grams of cocaine is a Level 2 felony.

Criminal Gang Enhancement

An individual who committed a felony while a member of a gang and committed the offense at the direction of or in affiliation with a gang or the felony is done for the benefit of the gang or to increase their standing within the gang, can be sentenced to the criminal gang enhancement. This sentence doubles the longest sentence of any underlying felony conviction with the exception of criminal gang activity.

Repeat Sexual Offender Enhancement

Someone who has previously been convicted for a prior unrelated sex offense may receive the repeat sexual offender sentence enhancement. This enhancement carries up to an additional 10-year prison sentence.

Additional Penalty for Use of a Firearm in Controlled Substance Offense

An individual who uses a firearm during the commission of dealing a controlled substance and uses a firearm may receive an additional sentence that is capped based on the type of firearm used. This enhancement typically carries up to an additional five years in prison. If the firearm is a sawed off shotgun, it is capped at 10 years and a machine gun carries up to a 20-year enhancement.

Minimize Enhancement with the Help of an Experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are worried you may be facing enhanced penalties, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer at Indianapolis law firm Eskew Law. We will evaluate your case and advise you on your options. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. To speak with us today, call Eskew Law at (317) 974-0177.

Next Steps

1. Consultation Meet with the attorney to discuss your legal issue. This initial meeting helps you understand their expertise and decide if they're the right fit.
2. Agreement Review and sign a retainer agreement. This contract outlines the services, fees, and other essential terms.
3. Documents Gather and provide all relevant documents related to your case. This step helps your attorney build your case efficiently.
4. Communication Set expectations for how and when you'll communicate with your attorney. Clear communication ensures that you stay informed throughout the process.

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