If you have been convicted of a crime in Indiana and are currently serving a sentence (in prison or jail, on work release, home detention or probation) you may be eligible to have your sentence modified. Contact The Criminal Defense Team immediately to learn about your legal options.
First, we need to determine if you are eligible, which can be complicated. Next, if you are eligible, it is important to develop a strategy that will give you the best chance of success. Our Team handles modifications regularly and we start by gathering as much information about you as we can—your story and why you deserve a modification—so that we can relay that information to the prosecutor in an effort to get an agreement for a modification.
For example, a client of ours was a budding writer who was working with a publisher and his work release restrictions were making it difficult for him to do the leg work necessary to further his career. He had no violations and completed all programming and had done very well. After telling his story to the prosecutor on multiple occasions, she agreed on a plan for him to complete home detention and then probation. As a result, he was able to continue on his path to publishing his novel.
If we cannot get an agreement for a modification, we can request a hearing with the court to present your story and evidence to the Judge and explain why you are deserving of a modification. We have been successfully convinced judges across the state to grant modification requests by showing them who our client is and why he or she deserves a modification. Our Board Certified* defense lawyers can build a case to help you get the best result possible.
Call The Criminal Defense Team at (317) 687-8326 now. One of our Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyers can discuss your case with you during a free consultation and determine whether you’re eligible to have your sentence modified.
Who Is Eligible for a Sentence Modification?
A person convicted of a criminal offense can file a motion with the court to modify their sentence. Unlike appeals, you don’t have to follow strict filing deadlines. You can pursue your case at any time while serving your sentence.
However, not every convicted offender can request a modified sentence. Credit-restricted felons and violent criminals are not eligible.
Indiana Criminal Code 35-38-1-17 defines a violent criminal as someone convicted of:
- Child molestation
- Attempted murder
- Reckless homicide
- Unlawful firearm possession by a serious violent felon as defined under Indiana Criminal Code 35-47-4-5
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Criminal deviate conduct
- Aggravated battery
- Class A or B felony burglary committed before July 1, 2014, or Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony burglary committed after June 30, 2014
- Level 2 or 3 felony robbery committed after June 30, 2014, or Class A or B felony robbery committed before July 1, 2014
- Level 1 or 2 felony sexual misconduct with a minor committed after June 30, 2014, or Class A or B felony sexual misconduct with a minor committed before July 1, 2014
If you were convicted of an offense not included in this list, you might be allowed to modify your sentence. However, it can be a complicated process to handle alone. You should consult an experienced Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyer from The Criminal Defense Team to assist you with your case.
How the Sentence Modification Process Works
The first step in sentence modification is to determine whether you qualify. The Criminal Defense Team can review the circumstances of your conviction, imposed sentence, current state laws regarding the crime and advise you about whether we can proceed.
We must file your modification request with the trial court that imposed your original sentence. The judge can choose to set a hearing and notify the prosecutor. If there’s a victim in the case, they must receive notice of this hearing as well.
The court can also rule on a filed request without scheduling a hearing if:
- You waived your right to appear in court for the determination of your request
- The prosecutor filed a written agreement to the request
You can file a request to have your sentence modified whenever you choose. You don’t have to wait for a specific timeframe to pass after sentencing, and you don’t have to worry about time running out before you file.
Common Grounds to Request a Sentence Modification
You must have grounds to request a modification. They can include:
- You received an erroneous or illegal sentence
- New relevant information exists regarding the original criminal case
- The current sentence causes your family a substantial hardship
- You completed rehabilitation or some other program
There must be proof that your sentencing is illegal or that some type of error occurred to use those grounds for requesting a modification. You could also show that the sentence imposed against you does not meet the requirements of the sentencing guidelines or the order issued by the court, if those things are true.
The court will review various factors when deciding whether to approve or deny your request. These factors may include:
- Your age
- Whether sentencing guidelines have changed since sentencing
- Whether you suffer from cognitive impairment
- Whether you are terminally ill
The court could also look at programs you completed during your prison sentence. If you show that you have tried to rehabilitate, it could work in your favor toward a modification.
The Indiana Department of Correction offers a number of programs, such as:
- Addiction treatment and therapy
- Education or employment
- Character improvement
- Support/treatment therapy
Arguing your case for modification due to hardship on your family might be one of the most challenging grounds to use. The court rarely grants this type of request and only under unique circumstances because removing an offender from their home affects most family members regardless of the crime or sentence.
If you’re serving a sentence for a federal crime, U.S. Code 3582 gives the judge multiple factors to review to determine whether you deserve a modified sentence. They include:
- Whether you’re considered to be a danger to other people or the community
- Whether you spent at least 30 years in prison and are over 70 years old
- Whether extraordinary and compelling reasons exist for modification, such as a terminal illness
Considering the fact that there are various grounds for pursuing a modification request, it is imperative to hire an Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyer. The Criminal Defense Team knows the evidence the courts look for to find a valid reason to approve the request. Choosing to take on this responsibility by yourself will likely result in a negative outcome.
Limits to Filing a Request for Modification in Indiana
Even though you’re allowed to initiate your case in court at any time during your sentence, there are some limitations. Indiana Criminal Code 35-38-1-17(j) allows a non-violent criminal to petition for a modified sentence:
- One time in 365 days; and
- No more than two times in any consecutive incarceration period.
You can submit your request without the prosecuting attorney’s consent.
However, if you are a violent criminal serving a sentence, you may have the opportunity to pursue a modified sentence as long as you file your petition within 365 days of your sentencing. Once this period passes, you must receive consent from the prosecuting attorney to file.
New Sentencing Guidelines Under Indiana Law
Indiana statutes regarding sentencing changed in 2014. The classifications for felony offenses switched from letters to numbers to indicate the severity of the crime. The ranges for prison sentences also changed.
If you were convicted of a felony before 2014, you might be able to use the new sentencing guideline as grounds for modifying your sentence. For example, a Class B felony committed before July 1, 2014, has a sentencing range between six and twenty years with an advisory sentence of ten years. Current laws for a similar crime convicted as a Level 3 felony after June 30, 2014, impose a prison sentence between three and sixteen years with a nine-year advisory sentence.
Previous sentencing guidelines for felony convictions include:
- Class A felony – 20 to 50 years with a 30-year advisory sentence
- Class B felony – 6 to 20 years with a 10-year advisory sentence
- Class C felony – 2 to 8 years with a 4-year advisory sentence
- Class D felony – 6 months to 3 years with a 1 ½ year advisory sentence
Indiana Criminal Code 35-50-2-4 through 35-50-2-7 imposes the following sentencing guidelines for felonies:
- Level 1 felony – 20 to 40 years with an advisory sentence of 30 years
- Level 2 felony – 10 to 30 years with an advisory sentence of 17 ½ years
- Level 3 felony – 3 to 16 years with an advisory sentence of 9 years
- Level 4 felony – 2 to 12 years with an advisory sentence of 6 years
- Level 5 felony – 1 to 6 years with an advisory sentence of 3 years
- Level 6 felony – 6 months to 2 ½ years with an advisory sentence of 1 year
If your sentence followed the guidelines for crimes committed before July 1, 2014, you should look into this statute. The difference between the old and new laws is significant. You might be serving a term that could have been shorter if you were convicted after the statutes changed.
Why Choose The Criminal Defense Team?
Petitioning for a sentence modification is a challenging undertaking. It requires understanding the validity of the request, obtaining new evidence, and effectively arguing the case in court. You need a qualified Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyer to handle the process successfully.
The Criminal Defense Team has over 120 years of combined legal experience. Only six Board-Certified Criminal Lawyers practice in Indiana, and five of them are on our team. Our skills and resources allow us to go up against the most aggressive and intimidating prosecutors and fight for your desired outcome. We’re not afraid to go to battle for you to try to secure your freedom.
Our dedicated team is available 24/7 to speak with you. We want you to know someone will always be here when you need us the most. We are happy to answer any questions, address your concerns, and guide you through the sentence modification process. We prioritize our clients over anything else and will work hard to meet your needs.
At The Criminal Defense Team, we believe you deserve a second chance. You are already serving time for the criminal offense and working hard towards rehabilitation. You should have the opportunity to reenter society and live a better, more productive life.
We know your future is at stake. Our Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyers will be the advocate you need during this overwhelming experience. We will remain diligent in our efforts and will try to find a way to discredit the prosecutor’s case.
You will receive one-on-one attention throughout the entire process. We always aim to provide our clients with dependable customer service. During your case, you can expect open and honest communication, so you always know what to expect on the legal road ahead.
If you want to reduce your current sentence or make any sort of changes to your sentence, reach out to The Criminal Defense Team for your free consultation. Our Indiana criminal sentence modification lawyers can review the facts of your conviction and determine what we can do to help. Call (317) 687-8326 today.