In Indiana, there are levels of crimes from misdemeanors to felonies. Indiana recently updated its criminal code to include numbered levels for crimes versus the previous letters (ex. A felony).
Misdemeanors, felonies and the different levels are divided by the severity of the crimes. For example, dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug can be charged as a Level 5 felony through a Level 2 felony, depending on the amount and circumstances1. A Level 6 felony carries a lesser sentence than a Level 1 felony.
But, if you are charged with a felony, can it ever be reduced? Oftentimes, having a felony record can cause a number of issues including issues related to employment, housing, firearms, etc. Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor through Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing (AMS) may allow for a person to amend his/her record to avoid these types of issues.
There is more than one means to potentially achieve AMS. In some cases, the Court can, during sentencing, reduce a Level 6 felony to a Class A misdemeanor. This is a limited option, and there are restrictions. Additionally, the Court will be required to explain the reasoning for the reduction to a Class A misdemeanor on the record2.
AMS can also be granted after sentencing. The convicted individual can file a verified petition for AMS, after notification to the prosecutor, and making several findings, including that the person is not a sex or violent offender, the appropriate period of time has passed, etc. Once these conditions are shown, a person’s felony may be reduced to a misdemeanor after sentencing if a verified petition is filed and proper evidence presented.
A conviction can also contain express language that would reduce a Level 6 felony to an A misdemeanor within 3 years if certain conditions are met. This avoids having to petition the Court to consider a reduction, but instead, considers the reduction at the time of conviction.
If a new offense is committed, a petition may be filed to convert the Class A misdemeanor back to a felony or AMS may not be granted.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring some general notes about AMS. This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your case, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. may be able to help evaluate same. Dixon & Moseley, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.