All states have the authority to establish levels of crimes within the state, and in particular, classify felony cases. Deciding what charges should be filed as a felony is relatively simple, but determining where they fall along the scale of seriousness can be difficult. This happens with misdemeanors as well, as Level 6 felony charges in Indiana can also be filed as Class A misdemeanors based on the opinion of the prosecutor. This is also the type of issue that leaves room for adjusting a charge from a felony case to a standard misdemeanor in Indiana.
Felonies in Indiana are classified both as Class A through D and by level within the letter classification. Class A Level 1 is the most serious of all crimes and includes charges for murder and malicious aggravated assault. They are classified downward to Class D Level 6 which can also be adjusted to a Class A misdemeanor. This gives Indiana criminal defense attorneys some agreement latitude when negotiating a charge reduction with any prosecutor.
How a Level 6 felony can be reduced
There are generally three methods of reducing a Level 6 felony to a misdemeanor. One is a judge reviewing the case and deciding the case is relatively weak and the defendant is not criminally oriented. The second method is a plea agreement negotiated by the defense attorney. The final method is waiting three years after a felony conviction and requesting a status reduction based on good behavior.
The best aspect of the additional felony level in the prosecution schedule is that the court takes a serious look before forcing a defendant into the long-term stigma of being a convicted felon. There are substantial limitations and problems for convicted felons going forward in life, and legislators are sometimes too quick to assign felony-level when establishing statutes.