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Criminal Defense Law

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Indianapolis, IN

If you are facing criminal charges, it can be an overwhelming, even frightening, experience. It can be even more stressful if you’ve never been in this situation before, mostly because you don’t know where to turn for help. The first step toward finding a resolution is to work with a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling cases like yours and helping clients like you through the maze of the criminal justice system.

Trying to navigate this process on your own is not the right answer, but you must also ensure that you choose an attorney with the experience and expertise your case demands. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky, LLC to schedule a consultation. Our Indianapolis criminal law attorneys can help you understand the situation and begin to mount a strong defense.

Understanding Criminal Law in America

The US legal system is split between civil and criminal law. Divorce, wills, and even commercial law are the more common areas of civil law. Criminal law, on the other hand, is reserved for those who have been charged with a crime. However, not all crimes are handled in the same way because criminal law is broken down into many subsections, and we’ll explore each of these below.

Crimes Against a Person

Crimes against a person are those that involve physical, mental, or emotional harm to another person. These crimes include everything from rape and murder to assault and battery. The charges for an alleged crime against another person may be minor, such as being charged for involvement in a fight, or they may be very serious, such as being charged with murder or manslaughter.

Crimes Against Property

Crimes against property are among the most common today. These crimes generally involve interfering with someone else’s property even if it’s unintentional. This category includes everything from trespassing to shoplifting, burglary, defacement of property, and everything in between.

Inchoate Crimes

This category of crimes is among the most overlooked. This is likely because it includes crimes that are not yet completed, or involve assisting someone else in committing a crime. For example, acting as the getaway driver for a bank robber would fall under this heading, plotting to have a spouse assassinated without actually going through with it, or even helping a friend hide after they’ve committed a crime in which you had no active involvement.

This category also includes instances where the crime was never even completed. In these types of cases, the prosecutor will need to show that the accused took a substantial step toward the completion of the crime. The case cannot hinge on someone hoping to commit a crime. Conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and attempt-based crimes (such as attempted murder) all fall under this heading.

Statutory Crimes

Statutory crimes, sometimes referred to as mala prohibita crimes or regulatory offenses, includes those actions that are banned by the law, even if we don’t always think of these actions as hurting someone else or their property. Although all crimes are prohibited by statute, these crimes fall differ from those we previously discussed because they may be typically thought of as "victimless crimes" or crimes against the public good. For instance, this category includes crimes such as drug and alcohol use or possession, OWI, driving without a license or on a suspended license, reckless driving, illegal gambling, or prostitution.

Financial Crimes and Other "White Collar" Crimes

Financial matters can also be criminal in some instances. These so-called "white collar" crimes are invariably nonviolent and are generally focused on financial gain. For instance, tax evasion, fraud, and embezzlement are common examples within this category. Blackmail, insider trading, and money laundering are also examples.

Whether you’re facing accusations of crimes against a person, crimes against property, statutory crimes, or inchoate crimes, our Indianapolis criminal lawyers can help. Contact the Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky for more information about our services or to schedule a consultation on your case.

Understanding Misdemeanor vs. Felony Crimes vs. Infractions/Violations

Criminal charges are separated into different categories depending on the severity of the crime. At the bottom of the list are infractions (sometimes called violations). Next up the ladder are misdemeanor crimes, followed by felony crimes. However, you must know a few things about each of these categories.


Infractions and violations are always petty offenses and usually involve nothing more than a fine. For instance, most speeding tickets fall under this heading. However, there are some oddities here because these are considered such 'minor' crimes.

One of those is that anyone charged with one does not have a right to a trial by jury, although you may appear before a judge. Another important difference here is that, while you are free to hire an attorney to represent you, the court is not obligated to provide you with one as would be the case in a more serious situation. Finally, in the vast majority of cases, there will not be a prosecutor in the case.

For instance, in the case of a speeding ticket, you may elect to go before a judge rather than pay the ticket immediately. You and the ticketing officer will appear before the judge, who will listen to both sides and consider the evidence before ruling whether you need to pay the ticket or not (and whether points will be added to your license).

Of course, this category is not limited to speeding tickets. Moving violations, non-moving violations, littering, and disturbing the peace are just a few additional examples. Often, there is an increasing range of fines or penalties within a particular type of infraction commensurate with severity or risk.


Often, there is a false notion that misdemeanors are not all that serious. That is not the case. These crimes can carry significant jail time (less than a full year), as well as fines and other penalties, including community service, probation, and the requirement to pay restitution in some instances.

In many cases, misdemeanor charges are serious enough to warrant a trial by jury (but not in all situations). Those who cannot afford an attorney will usually be appointed one by the court, as well. There are three different misdemeanor classes, as well. Class A carries a maximum sentence of six months to one year in jail, while Class B carries jail time of 30 days to six months. Class C carries jail time of fewer than 30 days but more than five days. However, a conviction does not necessarily guarantee jail time.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, most people will serve their sentence in county jail. Prisons are generally reserved for more serious offenders. Some examples of misdemeanors include petty theft, domestic violence, driving on a suspended license, shoplifting, and simple battery, although there are many others.


Felonies are the most serious of all types of crimes. Most violent crimes fall under this heading, but you’ll also find other serious crimes, including white-collar crimes here. Unlike misdemeanors, those convicted and sentenced to serve time will usually do so in a state or federal prison.

Sentencing for felonies usually involves significantly longer times than misdemeanors. Where misdemeanors cut off at one year, prison times begin at one year and move up from there. They can include multiple life sentences for particularly heinous crimes. Conviction does not necessarily mean that the accused will serve prison time, though.

Like misdemeanors, felonies are broken down into several different classes based on the amount of time to be served (or that could be possibly handed down at sentencing). A Class A felony carries a sentence of death or life in prison. A Class B felony involves a sentence of 25 years or longer, and a Class C felony has a sentence between 10 and 25 years. A Class D felony involves a sentence between five and ten years, and a Class E felony involves a sentence between one year and five years.

Felonies are often separated by severity or other means. For instance, someone who has had two misdemeanor DUI charges may find themselves facing a felony charge on their third arrest. Another example would be shoplifting. Depending on the value of the goods stolen, the crime could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Wobblers: Charges That Blur the Line

Finally, there are what the legal system calls "wobblers". These are crimes that can be charged as either misdemeanors or as felonies. It is usually up to the discretion of the prosecutor or the judge in the case.

Facing a misdemeanor or a felony? There is hope. Contact the criminal law attorneys in Indianapolis at The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky to learn more or to schedule a consultation on your case.

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