Accountability is one of the major factors that uphold societal values. No matter what the crime, there has to be a proper system in place to deal with it fairly.
Indiana state law exhaustively categorizes different crimes and punishes offenders accordingly.
Here are some of these crimes:
A ‘petty offense’ is known as an infraction. These are minor violations that are almost never punishable by incarceration. They involve a defendant who didn’t necessarily physically harm someone else.
Even if the act does result in incarceration, the defendant is detained in a local jail. The exact definition of infractions varies from one state to another. In some states, an infraction may not even be considered a criminal offense.
Common examples of infractions include fishing without a designated license, littering, jaywalking, running a business without a license, a minor traffic violation, and certain boating violations.
If you play loud music and disturb the peace in the neighborhood, the act may still count as an infraction. The same goes for walking an unleashed dog in the neighborhood.
Misdemeanors are a little more serious. The main difference is that misdemeanors are largely punishable by incarceration. In most cases, the incarceration period doesn’t exceed 365 days, and the defendant is detained in local county jail. Other punishments for misdemeanors include probations, fines, restitution, and community service.
Unlike infractions, misdemeanors are not all the same and are, therefore, categorized into classes. Some states categorize them as petty misdemeanors, ordinary misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors.
In Indiana, a Class A misdemeanor is usually the most serious type, and can result in one year of jail time with a fine of up to $5,000. A common example of a misdemeanor in Indiana is the possession of marijuana. On the other hand, a Class C misdemeanor is usually the least serious and may be punishable for up to 60 days in jail. A common example is a ‘driving under the influence’ charge.
Felonies are far more serious than both infractions and misdemeanors. Those who commit felonies are known as felons. Unlike the former categories, felonies are punishable by imprisonment of more than a year. In the case of a felony, the defendant is detained in a state or a federal jail. Common examples of a felony include murder, kidnapping, arson, rape, and burglary. Repeat offenders are dealt with more harshly.
In Indiana, felonies are classified in terms of levels, but murder is an unclassified felony. A level 1 felony is the highest-degree felony and may be punishable by 20 to 40 years.