Owen Prosecutor Weighs-In On Rewritten Indiana Criminal Code
A newly reformed Indiana Criminal Code was signed into law May 6th by Governor Mike Pence.
“Indiana should be the worst place in America to commit a serious crime and the best place, once you’ve done your time, to get a second chance,” Pence said. “The legislation that I sign today will reform and strengthen Indiana’s criminal code by focusing resources on the most serious offenses, and the related legislation will give a second chance to those who strive to re-enter society and become productive, law-abiding citizens.”
The first comprehensive rewrite of the code since 1977 provides hundreds of changes and shifts the current four felony levels to six-felony levels, only excluding murder, which remains the same.
House Enrolled Act 1006 aims to strengthen penalties for Class B and C felonies such as sex crimes, computer related crimes and hazing at schools. The legislation also allows judges to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the local department of child services after reporting suspicion to the state’s child abuse hotline.
The rewritten code makes an effort to allow some offenders to find gainful employment by having criminal records expunged after specific periods of time without a new offense.
Also under the new code, those serving prison sentences for more serious crimes will no longer be given two days of credit for one day of time served, and will receive one day of credit for every three days served.
The new felony levels carry the following sentencing ranges:
•Level 1 (20-50 years)
•Level 2 (10-30 years)
•Level 3 (3-20 years)
•Level 4 (2-12 years)
•Level 5 (1-6 years)
•Level 6 (.5-2.5 years).
“HB 1006 stiffens penalties relative to sex offenses such as rape, criminal deviate conduct, child solicitation, sexual battery and sexual misconduct with a minor,” Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDer- Moere said. “Also, criminal defendants sentenced to the Department of Corrections will serve 75 percent of their sentence as opposed to 50 percent served under the current criminal code.”
VanDerMoere said the bill weakens penalties for some theft offenses by creating a $750 threshold in order for the offense to constitute a felony charge.
“Further, the bill creates a graduated sentencing scheme for people convicted of dealing or manufacturing certain controlled substances based on the weight of the substance,” he added. “People convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana will now be facing Class B misdemeanors rather than Class A misdemeanors.”
VanDerMoere noted the bill will not become effective until July 1, 2014, allowing all parties involved in the judicial system adequate time to become more informed about the bill’s true effects.
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