Modifying or reducing a criminal sentence in Indiana can drastically affect a person’s quality of life, which is why, whenever possible, probable and eligible, one should seek a sentence modification. When you are looking for sentence modification in Indiana, for a misdemeanor or a felony, there are several guidelines that you should follow during the entire process of filing your request. With the number of steps needed to receive an Indiana sentence modification, a mistake can easily occur. Because the process can be so daunting, it makes sense to hire an Indiana sentence modification attorney to help you with your individual modification request. Indianapolis, Indiana criminal defense attorney, Jesse K. Sanchez is skilled in Indiana sentence modification guidelines as well as achieving successful sentence modification requests. Call an Indiana sentence modification lawyer at (317) 743-0771 for help today!
What is a Sentence Modification?
A motion to modify a conviction in Indiana is a legal proceeding that is used to reduce the sentence of someone who has been convicted of committing a crime. There are those special situations where reducing a long sentence may win the defendant’s freedom immediately, or it could be a successful way to remove a potential future impediment to freedom which will ultimately allow an inmate closer to his or her freedom from incarceration, or to relieve conditions of probation. A motion to modify a conviction can also be used to remove a conviction and change the final disposition of a case. Striking the conviction may allow a defendant to take advantage of an expungement and hide a conviction from his or her criminal record. A sentence modification motion is a form of post conviction relief, sometimes used after the defendant has served his or her sentence and probation.
How to Get a Sentence Modification
A sentence modification is only available to certain offenders. I.C. §35-38-1-17 provides a list of types of offenses that are not permitted for sentence modification:
- A felon convicted of certain child molesting sex crimes or murder OR
- A violent criminal convicted of any of the crimes listed in Indiana Code §35-38-1-17(d) (with some exceptions), such as the following:
- Attempted murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Reckless homicide
- Aggravated battery
- Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon
When a defendant applies for a modification of a criminal conviction. There are a number of factors that a judge takes into advisement when evaluating the merit of modification of a sentence. Factors that the court may consider are as follows:
- Any changes in statutory sentencing range
- Health and age
- Cognitive impairment
Unfortunately, there are instances where there was an illegal or an error in a sentence. When that happens, the offender may be granted a modification of criminal sentence by demonstrating to the court that the sentence is ambiguous, illegal, or does not match the sentencing transcript. For the court to consider a potential modification request, as an offender you must be able to prove one of the following:
- New relevant information to the case
- An illegal or erroneous sentence
- Completion of a rehabilitative or other self-improvement program
- A substantial hardship on the offender’s family
Steps to Get a Sentence Modification
First, you file a request to reduce the sentence length to the trial court that originally issued the sentencing order. After the request is received by the court, the judge sets a date for a modification hearing. After the court sets a hearing date to address the modification request, next, it will notify the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor is then required to notify any relevant victim(s) of the crime. At the time of the sentence modification hearing, the prosecutor will present evidence in support of rejecting any sentence modification or in some cases in support if they believe modification is necessary. The defendant will be able to make their case by presenting the following information:
- A letter with information about the defendant
- The nature of the case
- Any other facts that prove the severity of the case against the defendant with any extenuating factors regarding the sentence
If the court decides to grant the request, you can expect an order to be issued in favor of the defendant and the sentence will be modified accordingly.
In the end, the court will set the amount of time that you will have to serve the sentence, which will be based on the type of crime that was committed. The jail time will also be decreased.
A Sentence Modification Can be Complex
In summary, though it may seem straightforward, the sentence modification process in Indiana can be very confusing and really quite complicated. However, the process becomes that much easier to face when you have a sentence modification lawyer working on your case. Contact us or call us at (317) 743-0771 for help with your modification or with an Indiana expungement.
Q. Do you need a sentence modification?
A. Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jesse K. Sanchez have assisted a number of clients in with their petitions for sentence modifications. If you have sentence where there are mitigating circumstances, chances are, it is time to petition for a sentence modification.
Q. Is a sentence modification the same as an appeal?
A. A sentence modification is different from an appeal. An Indiana sentence modification begins with a request to the court that originally issued the sentencing order. While an appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of the lower court. An appeal will not retry a case, examine any new evidence, or accept testimony from witnesses.
Q. Who is not eligible for an Indiana sentence modification?
A. A credit restricted felon under Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-72, meaning someone convicted of certain child molesting offenses or murder is not eligible for a sentence modification.
Q. If I’m on probation, can I get my probation sentence modified?
A. While we can’t make any promises, we have helped other clients have their time on probation shortened or even ended early to accommodate a new life, work, or school circumstance.
Q. Can you have more than one sentence modification?
A. You can only file a request for modification two (2) times during any consecutive period of incarceration.