Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

Sentence Modification | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana

Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

Sentence Modification | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana

Sentence Modification | Criminal Lawyer in Indiana

owi in Indiana


Since legislative changes in 2014, Indiana Code § 35-38-1-17 allows people convicted of certain crimes to request sentence modification. If your sentence was left to the discretion of the court, then you do not need prosecutor consent. If your sentence was part of a negotiated plea agreement and your plea does not provide that your sentence can be modified, then the prosecutor will have to consent before a modification is granted.

A successful request could reduce your time in a correctional facility. A sentence modification lawyer in Indiana can review your record and explain if you have a viable chance of altering your original penalties.

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2. The Indiana Sentence Modification Criteria

2. The Indiana Sentence Modification Criteria

You should not confuse sentence modification with an appeal, which you may or may not have already tried. Appeals have strict timing requirements and involve looking only at possible legal errors. On the other hand, you may ask for a sentence modification at any time while serving your sentence. However, you may need time to complete rehabilitation programs that could convince a court to approve your request.

The law, however, limits you to a maximum of two sentence modification requests while serving a specific sentence. A capable sentence modification attorney in Indiana could help you make the most of your limited number of requests. To proceed with your sentence modification request, you must cite the grounds or reason that you should have your sentence altered.

Sentence modification grounds:
New evidence about your case comes to light.
Your sentence contains a legal mistake or was illegal.
You have completed rehabilitation programs.
Your sentence has caused your family substantial hardship.

Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

New evidence that casts doubt on the rightfulness of your conviction presents the strongest reason for sentence modification. A sentence modification lawyer in Indiana would argue for your release because you should not have been convicted. Sentencing mistakes or illegal sentences usually happen when judges incorrectly interpret sentencing guidelines. Criminal codes outline appropriate penalties for particular. A sentence in excess of what the law authorizes for your offense could be illegal. Sentence modification may correct procedural errors. An example of this would be a mismatch between what the transcript of your sentencing hearing says and the abstract of the judgment.

Incarcerated people often have access to programs meant to rehabilitate them. When you complete programs related to the issues that caused you to be convicted, your sentence modification will highlight how you have improved yourself and feel prepared to be a law-abiding member of society. This is more than good behavior; you must take concrete steps to correct behaviors or circumstances that led to criminal activity. Family hardship is considered a long shot for sentence modification. However, extreme situations may justify moving forward with a request.

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3. Am I Eligible for Sentence Modification in Indiana?

Unless state law explicitly excludes an offense, you may look into requesting a change to your sentence.

The following convictions make you a credit-restricted felon INELIGIBLE for sentence modification:
Attempted murder
Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
Reckless homicide
Aggravated battery
Certain sex-related crimes
Higher-level burglary and robbery offenses
Unlawful possession of a firearm by a violent felon

Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

A sentence modification lawyer in Indiana could evaluate your case if you’re serving a sentence for an offense not on this list. Being technically eligible means something other than that a court will approve your request. Judges are naturally hesitant to reduce existing sentences, but the efforts of a knowledgeable lawyer could make the difference in your case.

Additionally, it is essential to note that the terms of your plea bargain may prevent sentence modification, and your agreement to serve a sentence would interfere with the alteration. However, in some cases, you might be able to proceed with the prosecutor’s consent.

4. How to Find the Best Lawyer for an Indiana Sentence Modification?

The stakes are high for anyone hoping for relief from prison sentences or other penalties. You have limited chances to convince a court of your worthiness for a sentence reduction, which makes selecting the best lawyer your first critical task.

It is essential that you select an attorney who practices criminal defense law. Practitioners in this area possess knowledge of court procedures for criminal cases.

When choosing a sentence modification attorney in Indiana, ask that person about their experience in this legal area. Has the lawyer managed sentence modifications successfully? Did the cases involve offenses similar to your criminal record?

Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

At Webster & Garino, LLC, our criminal defense team is well suited to exploring sentence modification with you. We care for our clients to the greatest extent possible during any stage of their involvement with the criminal justice system. In addition to representing defendants when they face charges, our firm aids people who want to clear their records through expungement or adjust harsh penalties via sentence modification.

5. Steps in an Indiana Sentence Modification

Once a sentence modification lawyer in Indiana determines that you are eligible to ask for a change, a petition is prepared for the trial court that convicted you.

Depending on the circumstances, the court may or may not schedule a hearing regarding your request.

A hearing is scheduled if:
The prosecutor must inform the victims of the request.

A hearing may be skipped if:
The prosecutor provides written consent to the modification.
You waive your right to attend the hearing.

If a hearing occurs, the judge will listen to the statements made by those in attendance. If no hearing is necessary, the judge will make a decision based on submitted written materials.

A judge will consider many aspects of your situation to reach a decision, such as:
Your age
Your current health and/or cognitive state
Grounds given for modification
Statutory changes to the sentencing range for your offense
Progress with rehabilitative programs
Circumstances of the original offense
Full repayment of restitution, if any
Danger to the community if released
Any extraordinary circumstances

Should the court approve your request, it will issue a court order directing the correctional system to make changes. The outcome could be:
Reduced incarceration time
Release to house arrest
Work release

Webster & Garino LLC is Full Service Law Firm in Westfield - Serving Indiana

It is important to note that a sentence modification could backfire, and a judge might decide to lengthen your sentence after reviewing the case. This is another reason to entrust your sentence modification to a lawyer qualified to handle this legal specialty.

6. What Are the Sentencing Ranges in Indiana?

Sentencing ranges are the periods of imprisonment set forth by state criminal law for different misdemeanors and felonies. The ranges, also called sentencing guidelines, give judges a minimum and maximum prison time and an advisory sentence that falls in the middle of the range. 

For example, a Level 5 felony has a sentencing range of one to six years with a three-year advisory sentence. A sentence that exceeds a sentencing range could be ripe for a sentence modification request.

Due to legal reforms passed by the state in 2014, sentencing ranges received a substantial overhaul. If you were convicted under the old ranges, you might now have an opportunity to ask that your sentence be brought in line with the new range applicable to your case.

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9. Conclusion

Given the right circumstances, a sentence modification attorney in Indiana could accelerate your return to society. Talk to us at Webster & Garino, LLC, to find out what’s possible for you. Email our office in Westfield or call 317-565-1818 today.

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