Legal Blog

Indiana Sentencing Recommendations

21 June 2021 | Criminal Defense,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

21 June 2021

Criminal Defense,  

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The state of Indiana has specific sentencing guidelines in place. The judge uses these guidelines during a trial. They set a range for how long a person should be sentenced.

It details how high your fines could be as well. The judge is under no obligation to follow these guidelines strictly. Convicts could face harsher or less severe penalties based on aggravating or mitigating factors.

Indiana Crime Classification

Crimes in Indiana are divided into two separate categories: misdemeanors and felonies.


Misdemeanors are the least severe type of crime under Indiana law. There are three different types of misdemeanors, broken up into “classes.”

Class C Misdemeanor

Class C misdemeanors are the least severe type of misdemeanor. Some examples of Class C misdemeanors could include:

Class B Misdemeanors

Class B misdemeanors are more severe than Class C misdemeanors. Some examples of Class B misdemeanors include:

  • Battery
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Criminal mischief
  • Harassment

Class A Misdemeanors

Class A misdemeanors are the most severe and carry the harshest penalties. Some of the more common types of Class A misdemeanors in Indiana include:

  • Prostitution
  • Theft
  • Carrying a handgun without a license
  • Criminal conversion
  • Resisting arrest


Felony charges are more severe than misdemeanor charges under Indiana law. There are six different types of felonies, broken up into “levels.”

Level 6 Felonies

Level 6 felonies are the least severe type of felony. Some examples of Level 6 felonies include:

Level 5 Felonies

Level 5 felonies are more serious crimes and carry harsher penalties. Some examples of Level 5 felonies include:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Child solicitation
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Check fraud

Level 4 Felonies

Next, we have Level 4 felonies. Some of the more common types of Level 4 felonies in Indiana include:

Level 3 Felonies

Level 3 felonies continue to carry more severe penalties. Examples of Level 3 felonies include:

  • Aggravated battery
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Child molestation

Level 2 Felonies

Level 2 felonies are among the most severe types of felonies you could be facing. Some examples of Level 2 felonies include:

Level 1 Felonies

Have you been charged with a Level 1 felony? You must hire an experienced legal defender. These are the worst felonies you could face in Indiana criminal courts. Examples of Level 1 felonies in Indiana include:

  • Aggravated rape
  • Attempted murder

We should note that murder is an unclassified felony in Indiana. Murder convictions have their penalties under the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines.

Sentencing Guidelines in Indiana

The Indiana Sentencing Guidelines are just that. They are guidelines the judge can use to determine what your sentence should be. Each type of crime carries its own sentencing guidelines. These describe a range of jail or prison time, as well as maximum fines. The current guidelines are as follows:

  • Class A misdemeanors
    • Up to one year
    • Fines up to $5,000
  • Class B misdemeanors
    • Up to 180 days
    • Fines up to $1,000
  • Class C misdemeanors
    • Up to 60 days
    • Fines up to $500
  • Level 6 felonies
    • Six months to two-and-a-half years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Level 5 felonies
    • One to six years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Level 4 felonies
    • Two to 12 years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Level 3 felonies
    • Three to 16 years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Level 2 felonies
    • 10 to 30 years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Level 1 felonies
    • 20 to 40 years
    • Fines up to $10,000
  • Murder
    • 45 to 65 years
    • Life without the chance for parole
    • Death penalty
    • Fines up to $10,000

These are only guidelines that the judge can use to help determine a fair and just sentence. They have the power to reduce or add time to your sentence at their discretion. Your lawyer can fight to have your sentence reduced if you are convicted of the charges against you.

Suspended and Credit Time

Suspended time and credit time are important. They could help you reduce the amount of time you spend in jail or prison.

Suspended Time

A suspended sentence provides the chance for the defendant to be placed on probation. During that time, the defendant must adhere to the terms of their probation. Failure to do so will result in a probation violation. This could require you to finish serving the remainder of your sentence behind bars.

Credit Time

Credit time is given to defendants for several reasons. This credit time is then applied to the defendant’s sentence as time served. Some different situations in which you might qualify for credit time in Indiana include:

  • Being in good behavior while imprisoned
  • Earning education credits
  • Time spent in jail while on trial or awaiting your sentence

Credit time and suspended time can be beneficial if you’ve been convicted of a crime. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to help you get the suspended or credit time that you deserve.

Get Help From an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer

Do you hope to avoid some of the harshest penalties related to a conviction? If so, you need an aggressive legal defense. Contact an Indiana criminal defense lawyer at Hessler Law PC. We could help you reduce your sentence or clear your name of all charges.

Schedule your initial consultation today when you call our office at (317) 886-8800. Or fill out our quick contact form, and we will reach out to discuss the specific details of your charges.