In Indiana, a felony is any crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in prison. Most felonies in Indiana are designated as Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-1 (2019).)
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.
In Indiana, murder is an unclassified felony, punishable by death or between 45 and 65 years in prison. The court may also impose a fine of up to $10,000. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-3 (2019).)
A Level 1 felony in Indiana is typically punishable by 20 to 40 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. For example, aggravated rape (rape by deadly force or with the use of a weapon) is a Level 1 felony. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-4 (2019).)
In Indiana, Level 2 felonies are punishable by ten to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Voluntary manslaughter is a Level 2 felony in Indiana. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-4.5 (2019).)
In Indiana, Level 3 felonies are punishable by three to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated battery (causing serious injury to another) is an example of a Level 3 felony. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-5 (2019).)
A conviction for a Level 4 felony can result in two to 12 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Arson is generally a Level 4 felony. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-5.5 (2019).)
Level 5 felonies carry the potential of one to six years' imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. For example, involuntary manslaughter is a Level 5 felony. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-6 (2019).)
Level 6 felonies carry a sentence of six months to two and a half years' imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. A court can reduce a level 6 felony to a class A misdemeanor under certain circumstances. A person doesn't qualify for a reduced sentence if they've previously received an alternative misdemeanor sentence or have been convicted of certain felony-level offenses in the past three years. Vehicle theft is an example of a Level 6 felony. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-7 (2019).)
Each level 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 Level 1 felonies, the advisory sentence is 30 years in prison. (Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-50-2-1.3, 35-50-2-4 (2019).)
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 Level 1 felonies have no statute of limitations, while most other felonies have a limitation period of five years. (Ind. Code Ann. § 35-41-4-2 (2019).)
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.