Felonies are the most serious criminal charges in Indiana. They could potentially result in spending between six months and 65 years in jail. Not only do you lose your freedom, but you could also be fined up to $10,000, and impact your right to vote and legally own a firearm.
A felony can also prevent you from holding specific jobs. If you have a criminal record, that is difficult enough. When it’s a felony, the consequences are worse.
Regardless of the allegations, you should always try to avoid any criminal conviction. This is especially true for a felony charge. Here are some of the ways you can help prevent a felony conviction:
Hire a Defense Attorney
This is the most important thing you can do. It gives you the best chance of defending yourself against a felony charge. Criminal defense law is highly complex and always changing. Attorneys in this area know the law, criminal procedure, and your constitutional protections. They are also good at negotiating since many cases resolve through a plea bargain.
While a public defender can be appointed if you qualify, the best course of action is hiring a private defense lawyer with the time, experience, and skills necessary to get you the best possible outcome. If you try to go it alone, the deck is stacked against you. You lack the knowledge and abilities to defend yourself against serious felony charges in Indiana competently.
Get the Charges Dropped or Reduced
After you retain a defense lawyer, they should investigate your arrest and what lead to it. A capable attorney will often come up with facts that weaken the prosecution’s case and punch holes in their witnesses’ credibility.
Your legal counsel should then discuss the case with prosecutors and try to reason with them. This usually means explaining why pursuing a conviction isn’t justified and a waste of their resources. Prosecutors are, generally, reasonable people when presented with a sound argument on your behalf. If not, you can take the issue to a judge. If they agree, the charge may be dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor.
Negotiate a Favorable Plea
When discussing a case with a prosecutor, your lawyer may also negotiate a plea bargain. Few criminal charges are decided at a trial. They are mostly dismissed, or the prosecution and defense reach a plea bargain agreement. It can include felony charges being dropped, and the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a misdemeanor that carries lesser penalties. This way, the uncertainty of a trial is avoided, and you avoid a possible felony conviction.
Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing
Under some circumstances, if you are convicted of the lowest level felony (Level 6), the court may instead enter it as a conviction for the highest-level misdemeanor (Class A). You wouldn’t be eligible for this Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing if you received it for a prior, unrelated felony or this other felony was committed less than three years before the crime at issue. AMS is usually done with the consent of the defendant and the prosecutor. The judge may also do it on his or her own, or after the conviction, the defendant can ask the court for AMS.
Hessler Law Can Defend You Against a Felony
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony in or around Indianapolis or learned you’re under investigation, call Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800“>(317) 886-8800. There’s too much at stake for you to try to handle this on your own. You may have valid defenses against these charges. You may also be able to get a favorable plea agreement and obtain the best possible outcome. You can discuss all your options with an experienced and local defense lawyer during your free initial consultation.