Understanding the Level 6 Felony in Indiana: FAQs Answered
In this article, we are going to examine the Level 6 Felony in Indiana to better understand the laws and to understand the potential penalties one might face if charged with a Level 6 Felony in Indiana. We have already discussed some of the laws regarding Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Misdemeanors, and Class C Misdemeanors in Indiana in prior articles.
Specifically, we are going to try to answer the following frequently asked questions:
- What Is a Level 6 Felony in Indiana?
- Examples of a Level 6 Felony In Indiana?
- What Is The Penalty For a Level 6 Felony In Indiana?
- What is an Advisory Sentence?
- Can a Level 6 Felony be reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor?
- Can I get probation for a Level 6 Felony in Indiana?
- How Long Does a Level 6 Felony Stay On Your Record In Indiana?
- Can You Own a gun with a Level 6 felony conviction in Indiana?
While we hope you learn something reading this article, it is no substitute for speaking to a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Felony charges are serious charges and If you are facing charges for a Level 6 Felony in Indiana, we recommend you speak to a lawyer about the specifics of your case.
What is a Level 6 Felony in Indiana?
Many people’s first question is regarding the severity of a Level 6 Felony in Indiana. To answer this, let’s first look at what a felony is in general. In Indiana, criminal offenses are divided into two main categories:
Misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, with the highest misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. On the other hand, felonies are considered more serious and they typically involve the potential of jail time exceeding one year.
Since 2014, Indiana has had six levels of felonies: Levels 1-6. Level 1 felonies are the most serious charge, while Level 6 felonies are the least serious of the felony charges. But while Level 6 felonies are considered the lowest level of felony offenses in Indiana, they can still carry significant penalties and consequences.
It is worth noting that prior to 2014, felonies in Indiana were classified as Class A through Class D. The current Level 6 Felony charge is roughly equivalent to the former Class D Felony charge in Indiana.
Examples of a Level 6 Felonies In Indiana?
The following are examples of some (but not all) charges that are a Level 6 Felony in Indiana:
- Theft (second offense or first offense but over $750);
- Possession of a Controlled Substance;
- Residential Entry;
- Auto Theft;
- Criminal Confinement;
- Neglect of a Dependent;
- Resisting arrest (causing injury);
- Criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon;
- Operating While Intoxicated (OWI/DUI) (with prior OWI within last 7 years or other factor);
- Battery (resulting in moderate bodily injury).
Keep in mind that some of these crimes could also be charged as a misdemeanor or even a higher felony depending on the specific facts of each case.
What Is The Penalty For a Level 6 Felony In Indiana?
Below is the current sentencing ranges for Felonies in Indiana:
Level Sentence Range (Min. – Max.) Advisory Sentence Potential Fine
Murder 45 years – Death 55 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 1 Felony 20 Years – 40 Years 30 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 2 Felony 10 Years – 30 Years 17.5 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 3 Felony 3 Years – 16 Years 9 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 4 Felony 2 Years – 12 Years 6 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 5 Felony 1 Year – 6 Years 3 Years $0 – $10,000
Level 6 Felony 6 Months – 2.5 Years 1 Year $0 – $10,000
What is an Advisory Sentence in Indiana?
As is obvious from the chart above, there is a big range in Indiana’s sentencing guidelines. It also raises questions for many clients: How does a judge determine if a sentence is going to be 6 months or 2.5 years for a Level 6 Felony in Indiana? Also, what does “advisory sentence” mean?
The Indiana Code defines an “advisory sentence” as a guidelines sentence that the court may voluntarily consider when imposing a sentence. In other words, except in certain circumstances, the court does not have to follow the advisory sentence. However, in practice, it usually serves as a starting point for sentencing. The judge can then sentence a defendant to more or less time depending on aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
Can a Level 6 Felony be Reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor in Indiana?
Yes. A Level 6 Felony in Indiana can sometimes be reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor. This is called “alternative misdemeanor sentencing” (“AMS”) or “misdemeanor treatment.” Under certain circumstances and at the discretion of the court or through a plea agreement, a Level 6 Felony can be treated as a Class A Misdemeanor for sentencing purposes.
However, not all Level 6 Felonies are eligible for this reduction. Factors that might influence the decision include the nature of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, the victim’s consent, and the specific circumstances of the case. Sometimes, if agreed upon in a plea agreement with the State, the alternative misdemeanor sentencing will be imposed at the time of trial and the conviction will be a Class A Misdemeanor at the time of sentencing. Other times, the alternative misdemeanor sentencing is dependent on the Defendant first successfully completing probation before being allowed to petition the Court to reduce the Level 6 Felony conviction to a Class A Misdemeanor.
It’s important to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and determine if it’s possible to pursue a reduction from a Level 6 Felony to a Class A Misdemeanor.
Can A Defendant Receive Probation for a Level 6 Felony Conviction in Indiana?
Yes, a defendant can receive probation for a Level 6 Felony in Indiana. This could be pursuant to plea agreement with the State of Indiana or at a sentencing hearing where the punishment for a conviction is left to the judge. Several factors are taken into consideration, which could include the nature of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, specific circumstances of the case.
Probation is an alternative to imprisonment that allows the defendant to serve their sentence within the community under specific conditions and supervision. The conditions of probation can vary but often include requirements such as reporting to a probation officer, maintaining employment, or attending school, participating in community service, specific classes, refraining from drug or alcohol use with potential random tests, and avoiding any further criminal activity. Each county has different requirements, which could differ even further based on the nature of the conviction. It is important that you carefully read the terms/conditions of probation and understand them rather than just signing it after a cursory read. If you violate those terms/conditions, the probation department of your county may file a violation of probation case, and you could be required to serve jail time.
Please understand that probation is not guaranteed, and each case is unique. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and work to negotiate the best possible outcome, including the possibility of probation, for a Level 6 Felony in Indiana.
Can You Own or Possess a Firearm with a Level 6 Felony Conviction in Indiana?
No. We have previously written about the Indiana Gun Laws for Felons. Also, as seen here, the Indiana State Police, who conduct the Indiana background checks for firearms, have confirmed that you cannot possess a firearm.
In short, Firearm rights in Indiana are governed by both federal law and Indiana law. In Indiana, individuals with a felony conviction, including Level 6 felonies, are subject to restrictions on gun ownership. Indiana Code § 35-47-4-5 states that a person who has been convicted of a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon or a “serious violent felony” (as defined by Indiana Code § 35-47-4-1) is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
But even if allowed under Indiana law to own a firearm, under federal law, 18 USCS § 922(g)(1) progibits the possession/ownership of a firearm by a person who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. It is important to note that in Indiana, only felony convictions are punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. Also, notice that the statute uses the word “punishable”, not “punished”, meaning that even though a person convicted of a felony in Indiana may not have been actually sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, they still could have been. Therefore, under the federal gun laws, ANY Indiana felony conviction will prohibit you from possessing a firearm, regardless of the actual sentence received.
However, federal law holds that a conviction that has been expunged cannot be considered a conviction for purposes of denying firearm rights under federal law. The federal government has also held that Indiana’s Expungement Law is sufficient in removing the federal firearms prohibition in the Gun Control Act. We explain more about expungement, which does restores firearm rights for eligible Level 6 Felony convictions, below.
How Long Does a Level 6 Felony Stay On Your Record In Indiana?
In some states, convictions are automatically removed from a person’s criminal record after a specific number of years. However, in Indiana, once charged with or convicted of any felony, it will always remain on your criminal record. The only way to remove a Level 6 Felony conviction in Indiana from your record is to have it expunged. We have written an article answering many questions about the Indiana Expungement Law.
For an eligible Level 6 Felony, you are generally eligible to apply for expungement eight (8) years after the date of conviction, provided you meet certain criteria. Some of these criteria include:
- You must not have any pending criminal charges;
- You must have paid all fines, fees, and restitution, if any;
- It must be eight years from the date of your conviction;
- You must not have committed any other crime, even a misdemeanor, in the eight years prior to filing for expungement.
The fourth requirement often confuses people. So here is an example to help explain:
A Defendant is convicted of a Level 6 Felony on January 1, 2015. The Defendant will become eligible to expunge that conviction on January 1, 2023. However, if the Defendant is convicted of a any other crime anywhere (crime, not infraction like a speeding ticket), say for example Class B Misdemeanor Public Intoxication on September 20, 2021, then the Defendant is not eligible for expungement until September 20, 2029. Basically, any new conviction, misdemeanor or otherwise, resets the 8-year waiting period.
Expungement is not automatic, and you will need to petition the court to have your record expunged. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced Indiana Expungement Lawyer.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
While this article contains a lot of information regarding Level 6 Felonies in Indiana, it is NOT a substitute for speaking to a qualified attorney. A felony conviction is a serious matter than can cause future difficulty in securing employment, housing, and a range of other issues.
If you are facing Level 6 Felony 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 whether there are any evidence or suppression issues, other potential defenses, 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.
Avnet Law understands the issues, the law, and can advise you regarding Level 6 Felony charges 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.