Sentencing Guidelines In Indiana

17th February 2023

Facing a criminal charge in Indiana? Attorney Sundeep Singh with RileyCate explains the range of punishment for misdemeanors and felonies in Indiana.

The criminal code in Indiana is found in Title 35: Criminal Law and Procedure. The criminal code was changed in 2014 as the overall goal was to reduce recidivism. This blog will focus on the changes to the Indiana sentencing guidelines for offenses committed after July 1, 2014.

One of the biggest changes to the criminal code was the elimination of lettered categories of felonies and adoption of numbered categories of felonies. For example, before July 1, 2014, felonies were classified as Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D felonies. After July 1, 2014, felonies are now classified as Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, and Level 6 felonies. Essentially, the new change in the criminal code lowered the maximum felony sentence exposure for non-murder offenses. The new law did not change the way misdemeanors were and are classified.

The criminal code provides for sentencing guidelines, which is the range of possible sentences a judge can impose for a criminal offense. The guidelines set higher sentences for felonies (more serious offenses) than for misdemeanors (less serious offenses). Thus, a Level 1 felony (highest level of felony) has a higher sentence than a Level 6 felony (lowest level of felony). A Class A misdemeanor (highest level of misdemeanor) has a higher sentence than a Class C misdemeanor (lowest level of misdemeanor).

For each level of an offense, the criminal code sets a minimum and maximum sentence and an advisory sentence. What is an advisory sentence? The criminal code defines an advisory sentence as a guideline a judge may use when determining a sentence. Thus, the advisory sentence is often time the starting point for a judge when determining a sentence. The decision by a judge whether to increase or decrease the sentence from the advisory sentence depends on aggravating and mitigating factors, which are explained below. The criminal code provides an advisory sentence only for felonies, not for misdemeanors.

Sentencing guidelines for felony offenses in Indiana after July 1, 2014:

Level of Offense Sentencing Range Advisory Sentence Fine
Murder 45 – 65 years None Maximum of $10,000
Level 1 Felony 20 – 40 years 30 years Maximum of $10,000
Level 2 Felony 10 – 30 years 17.5 years Maximum of $10,000
Level 3 Felony 3 – 16 years 9 years Maximum of $10,000
Level 4 Felony 2 – 12 years 6 years Maximum of $10,000
Level 5 Felony 1 – 6 years 3 years Maximum of $10,000
Level 6 Felony 6 months – 2.5 years 1 year Maximum of $10,000

Sentencing guidelines for felony offenses in Indiana before July 1, 2014:

Level of Offense Sentencing Range Advisory Sentence Fine
Class A Felony 20 – 50 years 30 years Maximum of $10,000
Class B Felony 6 – 20 years 10 years Maximum of $10,000
Class C Felony 2 – 8 years 4 years Maximum of $10,000
Class D Felony 6 months – 3 years 1 year Maximum of $10,000

Sentencing guidelines for misdemeanor offenses in Indiana (no change with the 2014 criminal code)

Level of Offense Sentencing Range Fine
Class A Misdemeanor 0 – 365 days Maximum of $5,000
Class B Misdemeanor 0 -180 days Maximum of $1,000
Class C Misdemeanor 0 – 60 days Maximum of $500


Mitigating factors may cause a judge to decrease the sentence from the advisory sentence. Some examples of mitigating factors include:

  • The offense did not cause significant harm
  • Defendant is pleading guilty and taking responsibility and accountability for the offense
  • Victim aided in or induced the commission of the offense
  • Defendant’s remorseful attitude and positive character
  • Defendant has or will make restitution

On the other hand, aggravating factors may cause a judge to increase the sentence from the advisory sentence. Some examples of aggravating factors include:

  • Defendant’s criminal or juvenile record
  • The age of the victim (younger than 12 years or older than 65 years)
  • The offense caused significant harm
  • The offense was violent and committed in the presence of a minor
  • The offense involved the violation of a protective order

Being charged with a criminal offense can be nerve-wrecking and scary. A criminal conviction can negatively impact your ability to find a job or progress at your current job, affect your housing, educational opportunities, custody of your children, and much more. Having an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney by your side can help alleviate the burden of being charged with a criminal offense. Attorneys Sundeep Singh and Russell Cate with RileyCate will walk you through the process while protecting your freedom and your future. If you have any questions about your criminal matter, contact Attorney Sundeep Singh now for a free consultation by calling 317-588-2866.