Anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony offense understands the major consequences that stem from it. A felony conviction can drastically impact an individual’s life, possibly limiting an individual’s job opportunities or even resulting in an individual losing certain constitutional rights. Fortunately, in Indiana, certain individuals convicted of felony offenses may qualify for what is known as Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing. In this blog, we provide a brief overview of alternative misdemeanor sentencing in Indiana, and when individuals may qualify for alternative misdemeanor sentencing.
Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing, commonly referred to as AMS, is a statutory provision which allows for a trial court judge to convert certain felony convictions to misdemeanors. Specifically, Indiana law allows for a court to enter judgment of a conviction as a Level 6 felony or Level D felony with the express provision that the conviction will be converted to a conviction as a Class A misdemeanor.1 In order to qualify for AMS, certain conditions must be met. First, the prosecuting attorney must consent to AMS. Second, the individual convicted of the felony must agree to the conditions set by the court.
It is important to note, however, a trial court is not required to convert a conviction if the court finds that the person has violated a condition set by the court, or if the person fails to complete all conditions of the court in the time frame allotted.2 Additionally, a trial court is prohibited from converting a conviction to a misdemeanor if the person commits a new offense before the conditions set by the court expire. Finally, individuals charged with certain Level 6 Felonies (or Level D Felonies for crimes committed before July 1, 2014) will not be eligible for AMS. For example, an individual convicted of an offense of possession of child pornography (a Level 6 Felony) will not qualify for AMS.3
The above information is general in nature, and whether an individual will qualify for AMS will ultimately turn on the specific facts of the case. Criminal cases tend to be complex matters, regularly turning on the specific facts of the case. Going through a criminal trial is scary as individuals oftentimes feel alone or trapped when they find themselves in such situations. However, remember that you aren’t alone or trapped. You have rights and you have options. If you find yourself in trouble, skilled defense counsel is crucial to protect your rights. This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle the full spectrum of criminal cases throughout Indiana. This blog is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.