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If 2 people are arrested and charged with the same offense, why would they not be given the same sentence?

Boonville, IN |

Husband and wife were arrested for the same offense but she pled guilty and was given class c felony with 4 years wearing an ankle bracelet and he pled not guilty and was charged with class A felony, went to trial, his attorney did not present any kind of defense and he was found guilty. Why were they not charged alike with the same sentence? He was never offered the same thing she was offered. They had different judges.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

This is an extremely frustrating aspect of the law in Indiana and I'm sure in all states. From a legal perspective there can be many reasons why 2 people charged with the same offense would receive different criminal sentences.

The most common reason for a disparity in sentencing would relate to prior criminal history. If one Defendant had a criminal history of prior arrests/and or convictions demonstrating prior involvement within the criminal justice system, the person generally would be subject to greater punishment. The person's involvement and participation within the offense in question could be yet another explanation.

More difficult to explain is where a case is randomly assigned to different judges within the same county each of whom may have different positions as to the punishment for the same offense . Even with similiar criminal histories and/or case involvement, although frustrating, each assigned judge has the legal power and authority to pronounce his or her own appropriate determination of punishment. As a result, the judge's unique positions must be dealt with and understood by the defense lawyer as to arguing appropriate punishment should a case not be subject to dismissal.


This can and will depend on a variety of factors. These would include, but are not limited to, the criminal/social history of each one of them, the facts and circumstances of the case and who the prosecution believes is a bigger culprit and who they have a stronger case against. If husband is not satisfied with the representation he received he should consider contacting a new attorney to review the matter for any appeal able issues or other post conviction relief.


As noted in my last response, the plea is almost certainly to a lesser included offense(LIO). The Prosecutor can decide whether to give the jury the option of finding the defendant guilty of a LIO. This will usually turn on how strong the case is.

The unasked question of why different deals were offered is attributable to many factors, primarily, the defendant's criminal history.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links: