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Can I Get My Charges Reduced?

Can I Get My Charges Reduced?

Some defendants and their attorneys attempt to get the charges against them reduced. One way of doing this is called a “plea bargain.” A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense, where each side gives something up and each side receives something in return. For example, the prosecution might give up the right to take the case to trial and prosecute to the fullest. In return, the defendant will plead guilty to either lower charges or a more lenient punishment.

A plea bargain must be approved by the court, so that a judge may determine the defendant was not coerced in any way. Plea bargains and negotiations work differently from state to state, case to case, and even judge to judge.  A tactic that works for one person may not work for another.

Plea to Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor

A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Indiana may be able to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce your felony charge to a misdemeanor.  A felony is a crime that usually requires a sentence longer than a year in a state or federal prison. A misdemeanor is a crime with a sentence of no more than one year in jail. Indiana law divides felonies and misdemeanors into categories, depending upon the seriousness of the crime.

Indiana felony categories are:

  • Class D Felony  – 6 months to 3 years in prison
  • Class C Felony  – 2 to 8 years in prison
  • Class B Felony  – 6 to 20 years in prison
  • Class A Felony  – 20 to 50 years in prison
  • Murder  – 45 years in prison to life, or death penalty

Misdemeanor categories are:

  • Class A Misdemeanors  – Up to 1 year in jail
  • Class B Misdemeanors  – Up to 180 days in jail
  • Class C Misdemeanors  – Up to 60 days in jail

Recently, the state of Indiana passed House Bill No. 1033, that allows reduction of a Class D felony to a Class A misdemeanor once three years have passed after completing a sentence. This applies only if the crime was not a sex offense, it was non-violent and the defendant hasn’t received any new felony convictions.

If you have charges against you and would like to discuss getting them reduced, call a criminal defense attorney in Indiana today.

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