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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 www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title35 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 www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/criminal Except in narrow circumstances, an appeal goes to the Indiana Court of Appeals www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/appellate

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