The good, the bad, and the ugly of Indiana’s recent criminal law changes
According to a recent report in the Elkhart Truth, a series of recent changes to Indiana’s criminal code could have big implications for thousands of state residents. Although experts still aren’t sure what “on the ground” effects the changes will actually have, few doubt that such changes will eventually be felt. Here’s what you need to know about the situation.
What Did the Changes Do?
Although the specific changes are too numerous to list here, some of the highlights include:
- Replacing the old, four-tiered “Class A-D” felony system with a new, six-tiered “Class 1-6” system
- Reducing minimum sentences for a wide range of felonies
- Recommending that most felons serve 75% of their allotted sentence time, an increase from 50%
- Reducing penalties for non-felony, non-violent offenses like possession-level drug crimes
What Was Their Purpose?
It’s hard to ascribe a single objective to such far-reaching changes. In general, however, the changes appear to be aimed at reducing the number of nonviolent offenders serving long prison sentences in Indiana and establishing a more robust system of rehabilitation, behavior modification, and diversion. Although it’s too early to tell whether the changes will have this effect, it’s likely that lawmakers also intended to address persistent overcrowding in Indiana’s state correctional facilities.
What Does This Mean for Indianans?
Although it’s difficult to generalize about such broad changes, it seems likely that individuals facing relatively minor drug charges will find it easier to avoid prison time than previously. This is particularly true for charges involving the possession of certain painkillers.
Additionally, individuals grappling with substance abuse issues may find it easier to obtain treatment and rehabilitation in a non-judgmental, non-penal environment. However, it’s important to remember that any criminal charge is a serious matter that requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Are you worried about how the recent changes to Indiana’s criminal code could affect your relationship with the law? While legal changes aren’t necessarily cause for alarm, it’s definitely important to stay on top of issues that could affect your financial and legal status. To learn more about Indiana’s law changes or evaluate a specific case, call (317) 842-8283 or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.