What Is a Felony?

In Indiana, crimes are generally divided into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Each category has distinct characteristics and varying degrees of severity.



A felony represents the most serious class of criminal offense. In Indiana, felonies once fell into four categories from Class A to D, with Class A being the most severe and Class D the least. 

However, in 2014, this classification changed to a six-level system (Levels 1–6). Under this new categorization, each level carries its distinct ramifications based on the severity of the crime committed. Level 1 represents the most serious crimes, while Level 6 covers the least serious offenses.

Murder doesn’t have a specific felony level associated with it; it’s treated as an unclassified felony. If you’re convicted of murder in Indiana, you face imprisonment ranging between 45-65 years, a life sentence without parole, or even the death penalty in some aggravated cases.

Felony Penalties in Indiana

In Indiana, felonies are broken down into six different levels. Each level has associated penalties:

Level 1 Felony

This is the most serious type of categorized felony, punishable by a prison term between 20 and 40 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Examples include aggravated rape by use of force or deadly weapon, drug dealing resulting in death, and home invasion that results in serious injuries.

Level 2 Felony

The punishment for a level 2 felony involves imprisonment between 10 and 30 years as well as a fine of up to $10,000. 

Examples include child sex trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, and voluntary manslaughter

Level 3 Felony

If convicted of a level 3 felony, you face anywhere between three and sixteen years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

Examples include aggravated battery, armed robbery, fleeing police in a vehicle causing the death of another person, and child molestation. 

Level 4 Felony

A person charged with this level of crime in Indiana could face imprisonment between two and twelve years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Examples include arson and unlawful possession of a firearm by a violent felon. 

Level 5 Felony

The penalties associated with this level include serving one to six years in jail and a fine not exceeding $10,000. 

Examples include robbery, involuntary manslaughter, robbery if no injuries occurred, and criminal recklessness involving a weapon. 

Level 6 felony

A level 6 felony holds a unique spot within Indiana’s justice system as a “wobbler” offense. This implies that it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor based on the nature of the crime and overall circumstances.

If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to 6 months in jail. However, if treated as a felony, you can be sentenced to up to 2.5 years in prison and face a fine of up to $10,000.

Examples include criminal stalking, strangulation, and theft of a vehicle.

Additional Penalties for Felony Convictions

Beyond the standard penalties of imprisonment and fines, a conviction in Indiana can carry a range of additional sanctions. These may include:


When on probation, you will be required to follow certain rules and conditions set by the court within your community instead of serving time behind bars. You could be required to meet with your probation office regularly, undergo periodic drug tests, remain arrest-free, and maintain employment.


Certain convictions may require participation in therapy programs for substance abuse or mental health issues. 

Electronic Monitoring

Monitoring devices, such as ankle bracelets, could be employed to ensure that you adhere to court-imposed restrictions on your movement.

Loss of Rights

There are also certain rights that you could lose, depending on the conviction. For example, you could have your driver’s license suspended or lose the right to own, possess, or use firearms.

These potential penalties and other collateral consequences will greatly impact your day-to-day life and future, so always speak with an experienced criminal offense attorney if you’re facing criminal charges.

Defending Against Felony Charges

When facing felony charges, it’s critical to explore all your options. Some of the most common legal defenses an attorney can raise on your behalf include the following: 

Actual Innocence

The most straightforward defense is claiming that you did not commit the crime. This strategy will generally involve providing an alibi or demonstrating inconsistencies in the prosecution’s evidence.


If appropriate, you may argue that while you committed the act that led to charges, it was justified as self-defense because you were protecting yourself against imminent danger.

Accidental/No Intent

With some crimes, intention forms a key element of charge. Therefore, if your actions were accidental or lacked criminal intent, this could serve as a valid defense.

Constitutional Violations

Suppose law enforcement violated your constitutional rights during the arrest process (violating Miranda warnings or performing an illegal search, for instance). In that case, your attorney can challenge the admissibility of any evidence recovered by filing a motion to suppress with the court.

Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

Each case is unique, and figuring out which defense strategy works best depends on factors specific to your case. If you need help with a criminal matter, contact us to schedule a free consultation with a trusted Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer.

Contact the Indianapolis Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers Criminal Defense Attorneys For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (317) 759-2599 or visit us at our Indianapolis law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Indianapolis
101 W Ohio St #2000

Indianapolis, In 46204

United States