In Indiana, a felony is any crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in prison. Felonies in Indiana are designated as Class A, B, C, or D.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-1.)
For less serious crimes (misdemeanors), the maximum sentence is up to one year in local or county jail.
For more information on misdemeanors in Indiana, see Indiana Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Class A Felonies
A class A felony in Indiana is punishable by 20 to 50 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-4.) For example, aggravated rape (rape by deadly force or with the use of a weapon) is a class A felony.
For more information on the penalties for sex crimes in Indiana, see Indiana Sexual Battery Laws.
Class B Felonies
In Indiana, class B felonies are punishable by six to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-5.) Aggravated battery (causing serious injury to another) is a class B felony.
For more information on the penalties for battery, see Indiana Felony Battery Laws.
Class C Felonies
A conviction for a class C felony can result in two to eight years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-6.) Vehicle theft is an example of a class C felony.
For more information on Indiana’s penalties for theft, see Indiana Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws.
Class D Felonies
Class D felonies are “wobblers,” crimes that can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on how the crime is charged and, sometimes, how the judge decides to treat a conviction.
Class D felonies are punishable by at least six months in jail (a misdemeanor sentence) or as much as three years in prison (a felony sentence), as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-7.)
For example, battery that causes injury to a child under the age of 14 is a class D felony.
For more information, see Indiana Battery Laws.
Class A Misdemeanors
If a person is convicted of a class D felony (unless the conviction is for child pornography or domestic violence, or the person has had a prior felony conviction within the past three years), the court can decide to instead convict the person of a class A misdemeanor (the most serious misdemeanor). The court would sentence the person accordingly, to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
A conviction for a class D felony can also later be converted to a class A misdemeanor conviction after three years, if certain conditions are met.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-7.)
Each class of felonies has an advisory sentence, or a guideline, that the court can (but is not required) to consider when imposing a sentence.
For example, for class A felonies, the advisory sentence is 30 years in prison.
(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-50-2-1.3, 35-50-2-4.)
Statutes of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit on a criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed, and once the time limit is up, a prosecutor can no longer bring criminal charges. In Indiana, murder and class A felonies have no statute of limitations.
For more information, see Indiana Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
If you are charged with a felony, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer in Indiana for help. All felony convictions carry serious consequences and the stigma of a criminal record can last long after a sentence is served or a fine is paid. Your best chance for a good outcome is to talk to an experienced attorney who can explain how your case is likely to be treated in court and how to protect your rights.