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Indiana Felony Penalties and Alternate Misdemeanor Sentencing

The Indiana State Legislature enacted significant changes to the penalties for felony criminal convictions in Indiana effective July 1st 2014.

Prior to July 1st 2014, criminal felonies were classed as A, B, C or D felonies. The new felony classes effective July 1st 2014 include Murder and Levels 1 through 6 felonies. This article will give an overview of the potential penalties for the Levels 1-6 felony classes. This article specifically does not address suspension of executed jail time under the new felony classifications.

Indiana Code 33-50-2-4 through I.C. 35-50-2-7 discusses penalties for the new felony classes.

A person who commits a Level 1 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between twenty (20) and forty (40) years, with the advisory sentence being thirty (30) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

A person who commits a Level 2 felony shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between ten (10) and thirty (30) years, with the advisory sentence being seventeen and one-half (17 1/2) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

A person who commits a Level 3 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between three (3) and sixteen (16) years, with the advisory sentence being nine (9) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

A person who commits a Level 4 felony shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between two (2) and twelve (12) Indiana Code 2016
years, with the advisory sentence being six (6) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

A person who commits a Level 5 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between one (1) and six (6) years, with the advisory sentence being three (3) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

A person who commits a Level 6 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between six (6) months and two and one-half (2 1/2) years, with the advisory sentence being one (1) year. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

In the felony penalties listed above, "advisory sentence" means a guideline sentence that the court may voluntarily consider when imposing a sentence.

Alternate Misdemeanor Sentencing

Certain Level 6 or Class D felony criminal convictions are eligible for alternate misdemeanor sentencing. This means the court may enter a conviction for a felony charge as a misdemeanor conviction instead of a felony.  A felony conviction is not eligible for alternate misdemeanor sentencing if the charged defendant has been given alternate misdemeanor sentencing for a prior unrelated felony and the prior felony was committed less than 3 years before the second felony. The court can not give alternate misdemeanor sentencing for convictions for domestic battery under I.C. 35-42-1-1 or possession of child pornography under I.C. 35-42-4-4(d). The statute specifically provides:

"If a person has committed a Class D felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014), the court may enter judgment of conviction of a Class A misdemeanor and sentence accordingly. However, the court shall enter a judgment of conviction of a Class D felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) if:
(1) the court finds that:
(A) the person has committed a prior, unrelated felony for which judgment was entered as a conviction of a Class A misdemeanor; and
(B) the prior felony was committed less than three (3) years before the second felony was committed;
(2) the offense is domestic battery as a Class D felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) under IC 35-42-2-1.3; or
(3) the offense is possession of child pornography (IC 35-42-4-4(d))."


The criminal court may also grant a petition for alternate misdemeanor sentencing for certain convictions that are more than 3 years old. The requirements for granting a post conviction petition for alternate misdemeanor sentencing are set out in I.C. 35-50-2-7(d):

"The sentencing court may convert a Class D felony conviction (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony conviction (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) to a Class A misdemeanor conviction if, after receiving a verified petition as described in subsection (e) and after conducting a hearing of which the prosecuting attorney has been notified, the court makes the following findings:
(1) The person is not a sex or violent offender (as defined in IC 11-8-8-5).
(2) The person was not convicted of a Class D felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014) that resulted in bodily injury to another person. (
3) The person has not been convicted of perjury under IC 35-44.1-2-1 (or IC 35-44-2-1 before its repeal) or official misconduct under IC 35-44.1-1-1 (or IC 35-44-1-2 before its repeal).
(4) At least three (3) years have passed since the person: (A) completed the person's sentence; and (B) satisfied any other obligation imposed on the person as part of the sentence; for the Class D or Level 6 felony.
(5) The person has not been convicted of a felony since the person: (A) completed the person's sentence; and (B) satisfied any other obligation imposed on the person as part of the sentence; for the Class D or Level 6 felony.
(6) No criminal charges are pending against the person.

(e) A petition filed under subsection (d) or (f) must be verified and set forth:
(1) the crime the person has been convicted of;
(2) the date of the conviction;
(3) the date the person completed the person's sentence;
(4) any obligations imposed on the person as part of the sentence;
(5) the date the obligations were satisfied; and
(6) a verified statement that there are no criminal charges pending against the person.

(f) If a person whose Class D or Level 6 felony conviction has been converted to a Class A misdemeanor conviction under subsection (d) is convicted of a felony not later than five (5) years after the conversion under subsection (d), a prosecuting attorney may petition a court to convert the person's Class A misdemeanor conviction back to a Class D felony conviction (for a crime Indiana Code 2016 committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 6 felony conviction (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014)".



If you are charged with a Level 6 felony, you will want to determine if you may be eligible for alternate misdemeanor sentencing. If you have previously been convicted of a Class D felony or Level 6 Felony and have not received alternate misdemeanor sentencing, you might strongly consider reviewing whether your conviction is eligible for alternate misdemeanor sentencing. No criminal conviction is good, but felony convictions have a much wider ranging and substantial impact on your life than a misdemeanor conviction does.

As you can see, felony criminal charges are extremely serious and carry substantial penalties if you are convicted. If you are arrested or charged with a felony offense you really do need the help of an Indiana criminal defense attorney. This path is too risky to go alone.


The Indiana statute regarding felony penalties and alternate misdemeanor sentencing can be found HERE.

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This article and information on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice.  The information provided is not, and is not intended to be, a substitute for obtaining legal counsel, advice or representation. Contact between Daniel H. Wolfe and any persons using this site via email, phone, or in-person or from articles contained on this website does not establish or create an attorney-client relationship.