A Summary of the Proposed Changes to the Indiana Criminal Code
We have read a lot of news articles discussing the significant overhaul to the Indiana Criminal Code. In this blog we will summarize the proposed changes. If passed this will represent the first major changes to the criminal code in more than 30 years. Historically, changes have been made piecemeal, making for a very confusing and discombobulated code.
First is the categories of Crimes. Currently we have Murder and 4 felony levels (D-A). The new scheme would be as follows:
Murder would carry 45-65 years with and advisory sentence of 55 years;
Level 1 Offense would carry 20-50 years with an advisory of 30 years;
Level 2 Offense would carry 10-30 years with an advisory of 17 1/2 years;
Level 3 Offense would carry 3-20 years with an advisory of 6 years;
Level 4 Offense would carry 2-12 years with an advisory of 4 years;
Level 5 Offense would carry 1-6 years with an advisory of 2 years;
Level 6 Offense would carrry 1/2 -2 1/2 years with an advisory of 1 year.
There would be substantial changes to how Sex Crimes would be sentenced these are as follows:
Rape: Level 1 if with a deadly weapon or deadly force; Level 3 if not;
Child Solicitation: All forms of this offense would now be a Level 5;
Sexual Battery: would be a more severe level 4 if a deadly weapon/force is used;
Sexual Misconduct with a Minor: For a child between 14-15 this would now be a level 1 if deadly force/weapon is involved;
In the area of Crimes Against Property a Number of Changes would occur:
Arson: Would allow multiple charges from one event when there are multiple victims(think the South Side Indy Explosion);
Computer Tampering: The code would be modernized and include penalties that are harsher for those actually acting in a dangerous or more serious manner when tampering or hacking;
Burglary: The prior intent of committing a crime would be taken out and would now just include breaking and entering with theft(misdemeanor under new law) and/or felony. Would also be a level 1 if the offense involves bodily injury.
Theft: Major changes would be coming. Theft under $750 would be a misdemeanor. Over that threshold would be a Level 6 if the amount is $50,000 or more it is a Level 5 offense.
Forgery/Counterfeiting: Would in effect be lowered in that it would now be a Level 6 offense;
Gang Activity: Prosecutors that deal with this enhancement will like the new suggested change; the new law better defines what criminal gang activity is and in essence makes it easier to prove;
Drug Offenses: Generally speaking the penalties will be lessened. The Drug charges will work there way up the levels of penalty by amount but would graduate more slowly. Additionally, all possession of marijuana charges, except dealing, would be misdemeanors. It should be noted Governor Pence has come out against the lessening of penalties for drug charges. The 1000 feet from a school or child facility would be reduced to 500 feet.
Habitual Offender: If the underlying offense is Murder through level 4; then the defendant must have 2 unrelated felonies one of which must not be a level 6 or D Felony. If the current offense is a Level 5 then it is the same as above except if the priors are C, D, Level 5 or 6 then the prior must not be more than 10 years old since release from supervision for that offense. If the underlying is a level 6 then there must be 3 unrelated felonies and the 10 year provision also applies. It is also clarified that the habitual term is not suspendible.
Credit Time: Quite possibly the most sweeping change is offenders will now serve more of their sentence. Credit time will be broken down into three classes. Most offenders get 1 day credit for every day served. Under the new proposal for most offenders that would change to 1 day credit for every 3 days served. This will result in considerable more executed time of a sentence. The amount of credit time earned for educational achievements is also substantially limited.
The foregoing is a brief synopsis of the proposed changes and does not cover all detail of the hundreds of pages the new law would encompass.
A full reading of the bill can be had by those brave enough to take it on by clicking here and then clicking on latest printing. This is a scheme that is likely to take practitioners on both sides of the aisle quite a while to get up to speed on, should it be signed into law. It is yet to be seen at the writing of this blog what impact Governor Pence’s recent statements about the drug crime amendments will have. This could throw a wrench into the system as the revision of penalties for drug related offenses was a large compromise on behalf of prosecutors to get other related interest groups on board.
Banks & Brower is a law firm that dedicates a significant part of its practice to Criminal Defense and can help you or a loved one through the difficult process of a criminal proceeding.