A Look at the Changes to the Criminal Code Effective July 1st, 2015

How 2015 Changes to Indiana Law May Impact Your Criminal Case
 
As happens every year in Indiana, July 1 brings a number of changes to various areas of the law as a result of the legislative session.  Although the major criminal code overhaul took place last year, some changes of note have been enacted this year with respect to motor vehicle laws and criminal statutes. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys have summarized the changes in this blog.  Below are some changes that will impact many people after July 1 (some changes apply to incidents occurring after January 1, 2015).
 
License Suspensions
 
Most judgments for infractions no longer carry license suspensions.
 
Any conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior (no matter how long ago the prior occurred) carries a mandatory license suspension of at least one year, although a person may be given specialized driving privileges during the suspension.
 
For offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle where a court may impose a suspension, the court may start the suspension prior to the date of conviction.
 
Operating a vehicle without proof of financial responsibility carries a ninety day to one year suspension for the first violation, and a second violation within five years will carry a one year license and motor vehicle registration suspension.
 
Reinstatement Fees
 
Reinstatement fees have increased to $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation, and $1000 for the third violation and each one beyond that (previously $150/$225/$300).
 
Specialized Driving Privileges (SDP)
 
CDL holders are now eligible to obtain SDP to operate a non-commercial vehicle.
 
A person who never had an Indiana license (or has an Indiana learner’s permit) is now permitted to seek SDP if he or she was an Indiana resident at time of suspension.
 
People meeting certain requirements may seek SDP even if they have suspensions from another state.
 
Residents of another state who were Indiana residents at the time of suspension may now seek SDP.
 
People with lifetime suspensions or forfeitures are permitted to petition for SDP.
 
Expungement
 
A filing fee will now be required for expungement of conviction records, although the fee may be reduced or waived if the court finds an individual indigent.
 
If the prosecutor fails to respond to the petition within the time permitted, the prosecutor has waived any objection to the petition.
 
An expungement case (and the documents in the case) does not become confidential until the court issues an order granting the petition to expunge.
 
Miscellaneous
 
Possession of paraphernalia is reduced from an A misdemeanor to a C misdemeanor, with a subsequent offense being reduced from a Level 6 felony to an A Misdemeanor.  Rolling paper is no longer included in the definition of paraphernalia.
 
New limits apply for consecutive sentences arising out of an episode of criminal conduct.  Below are the maximum permissible totals of the consecutive terms of imprisonment based on the most serious felony conviction level:
 
Level 6:           4 years
Level 5:           7 years
Level 4:           15 years
Level 3:           20 years
Level 2:           32 years
Level 1:           42 years
 
A new enhancement may be filed for pointing or discharging a firearm at a police officer, and this can result in an additional term of imprisonment ranging from five to twenty years.
 
After December 31, 2015, no person convicted of a Level 6 felony will be sent to DOC unless the commitment is due to: 1) violating probation or parole by committing a new criminal offense, 2) the person being convicted of two or more Level 6 felonies to be served consecutively with the earliest possible release date being at least 365 days after sentencing, or 3) the person being sentenced on a Level 6 felony enhanced by an additional fixed term for being a habitual offender and the earliest possible release date being at least 365 days after sentencing.
 
These are but a few highlights of the changes made by our legislators.  If you are facing charges, want to expunge your criminal record, need to obtain specialized driving privileges, or have any other questions regarding your rights or options, contact one of the experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower.  We are available to assist you any time at 317-870-0019 or info@banksbrower.com.