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Criminal laws, namely what is illegal and can result in a conviction and loss of freedom by imprisonment, are prescribed by Indiana and federal statutes. The Indiana penal act is set forth in the Indiana Code in Title 35 covering Criminal Law and Procedure.

On July 1, 2014, the entire Indiana criminal code will change how criminal offenses are classified. At present, the long-standing system, has been letters, with the lowest misdemeanor being a class C misdemeanor up to a class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for these lesser crimes is a year of imprisonment. Under the new system, felonies will be Level 1 (lowest) through Level 6 (highest). Murder, as now, will remain its own crime, murder.

At the trial court level, a trial will occur to the bench (by the judge) or to a jury of 6 or 12 people. The process is governed by Indiana Rules of Criminal Procedure Except in narrow circumstances, an appeal goes to the Indiana Court of Appeals

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