Changes in Felony Classification Under the New Indiana Criminal Code
Beginning on July 1, 2014, the 2013 Criminal Code Revision will go into effect. This is the first major overhaul of the Indiana Criminal Code since 1977, comes after years of bipartisan efforts, and drastically changes the legal landscape for crimes and offenses.
New Classification System for Felonies
The first major change to the new law is how felony offenses will be classified, and the lengths of sentences for each classification. Since 1977, Indiana has used an A-D system of classifying felony offenses, and with a few minor alterations over the years, the sentences have been as follows:
- Murder: 45-65 years in prison
- Class A Felony: 20-50 years in prison
- Class B Felony: 6-20 years in prison
- Class C Felony: 2-8 years in prison
- Class D Felony: 6 months-3 years in prison
Additionally, all felony offenses carried potential fines of up to $10,000. Beginning on July 1, 2014, felonies will still carry potential fines of up to $10,000, but will be classified and sentenced as follows:
- Murder: 45-65 years in prison
- Level 1 Felony: 20-40 years in prison
- Level 2 Felony: 10-30 years in prison
- Level 3 Felony: 3-16 years in prison
- Level 4 Felony: 2-12 years in prison
- Level 5 Felony: 1-6 years in prison
- Level 6 Felony: 6 months-2.5 years in prison
Big Changes for Drug Possession
Misdemeanor sentences were unchanged in the 2013 Revision. The change from the A-D system to the 1-6 system was designed in part to help separate more violent offenses from what are commonly referred to as “victimless crimes” such as drug possession and property crimes.
Indeed, the biggest changes under the new structure are in fact to drug possession laws. The penalties for possession of narcotics were reduced SIGNIFICANTLY. For example, under current law, if you were found to have three or more grams of cocaine in your possession, you would likely find yourself charged with a Class B Felony, punishable by 6-20 years in prison. Under the new law, the offense would likely be capped as a Level 5 Felony, punishable by 1-6 years in prison, as long as you had less than 10 grams of cocaine.
Similarly, in line with nationwide trends, the penalties for marijuana possession were also reduced. Currently, possession of marijuana less than 30 grams, just over an ounce, is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Typically, there’s conditional discharge on the first offense. Possession of larger amounts, or upon a second possession conviction, is a Class D felony.
Beginning in July, first-offense marijuana possession under 30 grams will become a Class B misdemeanor, and possession with a prior conviction will drop from a Level 6 felony to a Class A misdemeanor. To reach a Level 6 felony charge for possession, a person will have to have a prior conviction and a possession charge of over 30 grams.
Notwithstanding these reductions in marijuana penalties, Indiana marijuana users should get their hopes up too high; Indiana won’t be jumping on the pot legalization bandwagon any time soon.
Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney John Razumich Can Help You With All Drug Charges
Indianapolis criminal defense attorney John Razumich provides exceptional representation for clients facing a wide range of criminal charges, including drug offenses. If you have been charged with violating Indiana’s drug laws, Mr. Razumich will fight for you every step of the way to get the best results that will allow you to move forward with your life.
This website has been prepared by John Razumich, Attorney at Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.