In 2012 the Indiana Legislature adopted the Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing Statute, which now provides that certain Class D felony convictions could be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor.1 To seek this relief from the trial court, you must meet the following criteria:
- Not be a sex or violent offender
- Your class D felony must not have included acts resulting in bodily injury to another person.
- Not have been convicted of perjury or official misconduct (under Indiana Code § 35-44-2-1 or § 35-44-1-2).
- Three (3) years must have elapsed since you completed your sentence and satisfied any other obligation imposed as a result of the sentence for your class D felony.
- Not been convicted of any other felonies after completion of your sentence.
- Have no other criminal charges pending.
If you meet these initial qualifications, you may seek relief from a trial court to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. However, since this law was passed in July of 2012, the Court of Appeals has interpreted that since the legislature used the word “may” that awarding the relief, even where a person meets all of the qualifications, is at the trial court’s discretion.2 The Court of Appeals opined that likely:
[T]he General Assembly has adopted a policy wherein trial courts can reward good behavior by removing the stigma of certain Class D felony convictions. However, the language used in the statute does not create a right to the reduction of one’s Class D felony conviction to a misdemeanor. The word “may” shows an intent by the legislature to give trial courts the discretion to grant or deny a petition, even if all of the statutory requirements have been met by the Petitioner.
We hope that you have found this information to be helpful. This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific case and whether you may be eligible to seek a reduction of your Class D felony to a Class A misdemeanor, CIYOU & DIXON, P.C. can help evaluate your specific case. This blog post was written by Attorney, Lori B. Schmeltzer.