Class C Misdemeanors In Indiana – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
People charged with a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana often have questions about their pending charges. So, we have drafted this post to discuss some of the most commonly asked questions about Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana.
Obviously, this post cannot answer every question you may have about Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana. However, feel free to contact us or give us a call at 1-877-772-8638. We provide free consultations for our clients.
Is a Class C Misdemeanor In Indiana a Serious Charge?
To answer this question, you need to understand what is a Misdemeanor in Indiana. Essentially, in Indiana, there are two categories of criminal offenses:
- Misdemeanors; and
Of these two, in Indiana and most states, felonies are the more serious crimes that usually have the potential for jail time in excess of one (1) year.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies. Indiana has three types of Misdemeanors: Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Misdemeanors, and Class C Misdemeanors. We discussed Class A Misdemeanors in previous article that can be found here and we wrote about Class B Misdemeanors here.
Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious, then Class B Misdemeanors, followed by Class C Misdemeanors. So, a Class C Misdemeanor is the least serious charge that can be filed in Indiana. There are infractions and ordinance violations (think speeding tickets and seatbelt tickets, etc.) that are less serious, but these are not criminal charges and generally do not carry any jail time.
List Of Some Common Class C Misdemeanors In Indiana
The following are examples of some (but not all) Class C Misdemeanors charges in Indiana:
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated;
- Possession of paraphernalia;
- Operating a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.08 but less that 0.15;
- Indecent exposure;
- Operating a Motor Vehicle – Never Received a Valid License; and
- Public nudity.
A very important point to keep in mind is that some of these crimes could also be charged as a higher misdemeanor or felony depending on the specific facts of each case.
What is the Statute Of Limitations and how long is it for a Class C Misdemeanor In Indiana?
The Statute of Limitations is how long the State of Indiana has to prosecute or file charges against a defendant for a particular crime. For Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years.
What Is The Penalty For a Class C Misdemeanor In Indiana?
Below is the potential sentencing ranges for misdemeanors in Indiana:
|Class||Sentence Range||Potential Fine|
|Class A Misdemeanor||0 days – 1year||$0 – $5,000|
|Class B Misdemeanor||0 days – 180 days||$0- $1,000|
|Class C Misdemeanor||0 days – 60 days||$0 – $500|
So, as we can see, the maximum penalty for a Class C Misdemeanor conviction in Indiana is one hundred and eighty (60) days in jail with a maximum fine of $500.00. Also, if convicted of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated as a Class C Misdemeanor, your license can be suspended for a period ranging from sixty days to two years depending on specifics of each case.
Not surprisingly, the most frequent question that clients charged with a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana ask is whether the it will result in jail time.
The answer depends on several factors. But how many days you will actually spend in jail, if any, may depend on a few things, including, but not limited to:
- Whether you have any prior convictions;
- If you have prior convictions, the number of prior convictions;
- If you have prior convictions, the type or severity of prior convictions (felonies or misdemeanors);
- Circumstances surrounding the current Class C Misdemeanor;
- The nature of the Class C Misdemeanor (was someone injured?); and
- The county in which you are convicted of the Class C Misdemeanor.
We have previously discussed all the penalties for criminal offenses in the criminal sentencing guidelines in Indiana. In that article, we explained the aggravating and mitigating circumstances that impact sentencing and what the Court can consider when imposing your sentence. Indiana Code 35-38-1-7.1 provides the eleven (11) factors that a court can consider as aggravating circumstances and the eleven (11) factors that a court can consider as mitigating circumstances.
Often, our clients with first-time Class C Misdemeanors offenders in Indiana do not spend any additional days in jail following their release after their arrest if they were arrested. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule and it is important you speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case.
But even if a person were sentenced to 60 days in jail following their conviction for a Class C Misdemeanor, they would receive credit time (commonly referred to as “good time credit”) of one credit day for each actual day served in jail. So if a person was sentenced to the maximum sentence of a year for a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana, that sentence would actually be thirty (90) actual days served in jail, provided they were on “good behavior.”
Furthermore, as we’ve explained before, even if a judge sentences you pursuant to the criminal sentencing guidelines, a judge can suspend all or part of the sentence. This means the sentence, or a portion of the sentence, is not served in jail, but served on probation.
However, what surprises most people is that if you are convicted of a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana, the Court can sentence you up to one (1) year of probation, even though the maximum penalty is 60 days in jail. However, if you violate probation and the Court orders the suspended sentence to be served in jail, you can only go to jail for the 60 days. Class C Misdemeanors are always suspensdable but there are limitations on suspended sentences for felony convictions.
Can Class C Misdemeanor Charges In Indiana Be Dismissed?
Yes. Sometimes, the State will dismiss the Class C Misdemeanor charges for various reasons. If a witness becomes unavailable or changes their story, or if evidence is suppressed, excluded or exculpatory (indicating innocence), the State might dismiss the Class C Misdemeanor charges against a person.
You may be eligible for a pretrial diversion, which would result in a dismissal of the Class C Misdemeanor charges filed. Usually, this is only available for first-time offenders for non-violent crimes, but again you should speak to qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss whether this may be an option in your case. Whether or not to grant you a pretrial diversion for your Class C Misdemeanor charges in Indiana is solely at the local county prosecutor’s discretion. While a prosecutor in one county in Indiana may be willing to offer a particular defendant a pretrial diversion for a certain Class C Misdemeanor, another county prosecutor may not be willing to do so for the exact same Class C Misdemeanor. While a judge cannot grant a defendant a pretrial diversion, the judge does have to approve the pretrial diversion agreement if the State offers it to a defendant.
Each county usually has its own pretrial diversion program, with its own requirements. While it is not as formal as probation, depending on the county, there are various terms and conditions as well as fines and fees associated with it. If a person successfully completes the pretrial diversion program, which are often 6 months to a year in length, then the Class C Misdemeanor charge and/or other charges are dismissed. This is the best outcome for a defendant as you will not have a conviction on your record. That will also allow you to expunge your conviction earlier than you would have if you have been convicted. I’ll talk about expungements below.
Most people are familiar with a diversion program for speeding tickets or other minor traffic infractions. Instead of pleading guilty to a traffic offense, a person will pay a larger fine, and as long as they do not receive another traffic offense within a certain time frame, the ticket is dismissed. The idea is the same with pretrial diversions for Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana.
It is important to remember that even if you are granted a diversion for the Class C Misdemeanor charge, and your case winds up being dismissed, the fact that you were arrested and charged with a Class C Misdemeanor will always remain public record. This can have a negative impact on you if you are seeking employment, a home loan, or other financial assistance. The only way to remove the fact that you were arrested and charged with a Class C Misdemeanor, even if it was dismissed, is to have it expunged. The Indiana Expungement Law allows for charges that were dismissed by the State, including pretrial diversions, to be expunged one (1) year after the date of the arrest as long as you are no longer participating in the pretrial diversion program.
How Long Do Class C Misdemeanors Stay On Your Record In Indiana?
In some states, misdemeanors are removed from a person’s criminal record after a certain number of years. However, in Indiana, once charged with, or convicted of, any misdemeanor, it will always remain on your criminal record. The only way to remove a conviction of a misdemeanor in Indiana from your record is to have it expunged. We have written an article answering many questions about the Indiana Expungement Law.
So it is important to remember that even if you are granted a diversion or a conditional discharge for the Class C Misdemeanor charge, and your case winds up being dismissed, the fact that you were arrested and charged with a Class C Misdemeanor will always forever remain public record. Likewise, if you are convicted of a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana, it will also always remain on your record. This could have a negative impact on you if you are seeking employment, housing, or other financial assistance.
The only way to remove the fact that you were arrested, charged and or convicted of a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana, even if it was dismissed, is to have it expunged. The Indiana Expungement Law allows for charges that were dismissed by the State, including pretrial diversions and conditional discharges, to be expunged one (1) year after the date of the arrest as long, as you are no longer participating in the pretrial diversion program.
If convicted of a Class C Misdemeanor, you must wait five (5) years to expunge it. (The only exception is if the prosecutor of the county in which you have a conviction agrees in writing to an early expungement). Also, you must have paid all your fines, fees, and restitution associated with your conviction.
Do Class C Misdemeanors Show Up On A Criminal Background Check?
It depends on who is conducting the background criminal check. But most of the time, yes they do. You can search the public, Indiana online docket at https://mycase.in.gov or Doxpop.com to check your own criminal history. However, many counties did not join the online docket until recently, and many older convictions are also not listed. Just because you do not see your conviction(s) listed does not mean that it has disappeared or that it may not showing up on a background check. For a comprehensive background check, contact the Indiana State Police for a criminal history search.
Often, a conviction for a Class C Misdemeanor can impact a person’s ability to secure a job or housing. If this is a difficulty you are facing, you should speak to an Indiana Expungement Lawyer regarding the possibility of an expungement.
Can You Buy A Gun With a Misdemeanor Conviction In Indiana?
Many people also want to know if they are able to purchase a gun with a Class C Misdemeanor conviction in Indiana. And again, the answer is “it depends.” Generally, most Class C Misdemeanor convictions in Indiana do not prohibit a person from purchase or possessing a firearm. We have written more extensively about the Indiana Gun Laws here.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
While this article contains a lot of information regarding Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana, it is NOT a substitute for speaking to a qualified attorney.
If you are facing Class C Misdemeanor charges in Indiana, it is important you speak to a criminal defense lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your case. The attorney can determine if you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion, whether there are any evidence or suppression issues, discuss potential plea bargain options, or answer any other questions you may have in general.
Too often clients come to me with issues after they have pleaded guilty to a crime, despite not having an attorney. I strongly suggest you speak to a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty to any crime. You may be eligible for a diversion, suspended sentence, or even a dismissal of the charges against you.
Avnet Law understands the issues, the law, and can advise you regarding Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana and any potential defenses you may raise. Avnet Law represents clients charged with crimes in Indianapolis, Noblesville, Fishers, Carmel, Westfield, and most of Central Indiana.
Call 1-877-77-AVNET to Schedule a Free Consultation with an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer today or contact us below with any questions you may have about your case.