What makes a felony worse than a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Indiana courts recognize two basic types of crimes. These are felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are usually much worse than misdemeanors.

What makes a felony worse than a misdemeanor depends on the severity of the crime, how many times the defendant engages in felonious behavior and the sentencing terms.

Severity of crimes

Misdemeanors are relatively minor crimes. Felonies include crimes like:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual assault
  • Auto theft
  • Trafficking, selling or transporting controlled substances
  • Fraud

There are more, but these are the major felonies in Indiana.

Prior offenses

When a person has more than one felony conviction, it does not matter if the felonies are different. You could receive a longer, more severe sentence if you are a habitual offender. The courts can attach the highest, most severe sentence on the felony they enhance under current Indiana habitual offender laws.

 Sentencing differences

There are sentencing differences between misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor usually carries a sentence of under one year. Felonies are usually over one year.

Each of the classes of a felony has different sentencing.

  • Level 1 carries a term of twenty to forty years. This excludes capital offenses such as murder and habitual serious offenses which can carry the death penalty.
  • Level 2 carries a term of ten to thirty years.
  • Level 3 carries a term of three to sixteen years.
  • Level 4 carries a term of two to twelve years.
  • Level 5 carries a term of one to six years.
  • Level 6 carries a term of six months to two and one-half years.

All of these carry a fine of at least $10,000.

The courts can modify sentences or offer a plea for a lesser sentence depending on the circumstances.

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