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Your Guide to the Drug Possession Laws in Indiana

Understanding the drug possession laws in Indiana and how they may apply to various situations is key to protecting one’s rights and freedoms. However, many Hoosiers find themselves lost in the legalese of Indiana criminal code.

Given this, the Indianapolis criminal defense law firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP has chosen to create this brief guide to the Indiana drug possession laws, as an attempt to clarify the criminal offenses contained in Indiana Code 35-48 and help explain the seriousness of the potential penalties associated with a drug possession conviction.

If you’ve already been charged under Indiana’s drug laws, or worry that you’re under investigation, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indiana as soon as possible. To speak with one today, contact our office at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Keffer Hirschauer LLP is led by two former deputy prosecutors who now work to protect the rights and freedoms of everyday Hoosiers. Our firm routinely handles cases all throughout the state of Indiana and has the resources required to thoroughly investigate your case. Ultimately, our goal is to secure the best possible outcome in the case at hand, no matter the circumstances.

Overview of the Drug Possession Laws in Indiana

The laws specifically addressing drug possession in Indiana can be found in Indiana Code 35-48-4-7. This section of criminal code clearly states that a person who is found in possession of a controlled substance that is classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV can be charged with Class A misdemeanor. However, it is important to note that this law does not apply to individuals who possess a valid prescription for the substance; nor does the law apply to the possession of marijuana, hashish or salvia. Furthermore, there are separate, more serious drug possession laws in Indiana for certain, specific controlled substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, and other narcotics. 

What is Considered a Controlled Substance in Indiana?

Under Indiana Code 35-48-1-17.4, a controlled substance is considered to be any drug, substance, or immediate precursor in schedule I, II, III, IV, or V. The specific scheduling of drugs can be found in Indiana Code 35-48-2. However, some of the more common scheduled drugs are as follows:

  • Schedule I: LSD, mescaline, MDMA (or molly), ecstasy, psilocybin (or magic mushrooms), GHB, and heroin
  • Schedule II: morphine, opium, fentanyl, OxyContin, Percocet, Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse and Ritalin
  • Schedule III: Suboxone, Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, and a variety of anabolic steroids
  • Schedule IV: Xanax, Klonapin, Modafinil (brand name Provigil) and Phentermine
  • Schedule V: Lyrica, among other low-level narcotic drugs

Is Marijuana Considered a Controlled Substance in Indiana?

Yes, marijuana is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance in Indiana. However, Indiana’s marijuana laws on possession are less harsh than those concerned with other substances. Under Indiana Code 35-48-4-11, a person who is caught in possession of marijuana, hash oil, hashish or salvia; caught growing or cultivating marijuana or knows that marijuana is growing on their property and fails to destroy it; may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

What are the Laws on Possession of a Narcotic Drug in Indiana?

As clearly stated in Indiana Code 35-48-4-6 a person who knowingly or intentionally possesses cocaine (pure or adulterated) or a narcotic drug (pure or adulterated) classified in schedule I or II, commits possession of cocaine or a narcotic drug, a Level 6 felony.

Under the drug possession laws in Indiana, drugs considered to be narcotic drugs include “opium, opiates, derivatives of opium and opiates, including their isomers, esters, ethers, salts, and salts of isomers, esters, and ethers, whenever the existence of these isomers, esters, ethers, and salts is possible within the specific chemical designation.” In addition, “opium poppy, poppy straw and any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of any of the substances referred to this section,” are considered to be narcotic drugs, as well.

Potential Penalties and Enhancing Circumstances

When a person is found in violation of the laws on drug possession in Indiana the severity of their potential criminal penalties will depend on several factors. These factors include type of drug involved, the amount of the drug in their possession, and whether any enhancing circumstances apply to their case.

In Indiana, the possession of a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV (not including marijuana, hashish, salvia, methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug) is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor. Per the Indiana sentencing guidelines, a conviction of this level can result in a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, if certain enhancing circumstances apply to the case, they could face a Level 6 felony in Indiana, which is punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Under Indiana Code 35-48-1-16.5, enhancing circumstances include:

  • Having a prior conviction, in any jurisdiction, for dealing in a controlled substance (except for marijuana, hashish, hash oil, or salvia), including an attempt or conspiracy to commit the offense
  • Having committed the offense while possessing a firearm
  • Having committed the offense on a school bus or in, on, or within 500 feet of a school property while a person under the age of 18 was reasonably expected to be present
  • Having committed the offense in a public park while a person under the age of 18 was reasonably expected to be present
  • Having delivered or financed the delivery of the drug to a person under the age of 18, who is at least three years younger than the offender
  • Having manufactured or financed the manufacturing of the drug
  • Having committed the offense in the physical presence of a child under the age of 18, knowing that the child was present and may be able to see or hear the offense taking place
  • Having committed the offense on the property of a penal facility or juvenile facility
  • Having committed the offense in, on, or within 100 feet of a facility (created or funded under Indiana Code 12-23-14 or Indiana Code 33-23-16) certified under Indiana Code 12-23-1-6 or used for the purpose of conducting a recovery or support group meeting, and at which a drug abuser may be provided with treatment, care or rehabilitation.

When it comes to the possession of methamphetamine, cocaine or narcotic drugs, the potential penalties are much more serious. Under Indiana code 35-48-4-6 and 6.1 a person found in possession of less than 5 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug may be charged with a Level 6 felony, if no enhancing circumstance applies to their offense. If an enhancing circumstance applies, or they’re found in possession of between 5-10 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug, they may be charged with a Level 5 felony; if convicted this could result in a sentence of up to six years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Furthermore, one may be charged with a Level 4 felony in Indiana if they are found in possession of between 10-28 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug, or between 5-10 grams, but an enhancing circumstance applies. If convicted at this level, a person would face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, and fines of up to $10,000.

In Indiana, the most serious charge for possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, or a narcotic drug is Level 3 felony possession. This may occur if the person is found in possession of 28 grams or more of the drug, or between 10-28 grams of the drug, but an enhancing circumstance applies. If convicted at this level, a person could face up to nine years in prison.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Indiana

While some of the drug possession laws in Indiana are rather harsh, the possession of marijuana does not carry as serious of penalties as other controlled substances. At a minimum, being found in possession of marijuana is considered a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted of this charge, a person would face 1-180 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. However, if the person found in possession of marijuana has a prior drug offense and they possess under 30 grams of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish, hash oil or salvia, they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Furthermore, if the amount of marijuana they possess exceeds 30 grams (or 5 grams of hashish, hash oil or salvia) they can be charged with a Level 6 felony, which carries a penalty of six months up to two and a half years of jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. 

Questions about the Drug Possession Laws in Indiana?

If you have questions about the drug possession laws in Indiana or have been charged with a drug-related crime, like possession or drug dealing, do not hesitate to contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our criminal defense team is made up of former deputy prosecutors with experience on both sides of the criminal justice system. They will strategically manage all evidentiary matters related to the case against you, while also working to protect your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

To speak with an Indianapolis drug crimes attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Summary
Your Guide to the Drug Possession Laws in Indiana
Article Name
Your Guide to the Drug Possession Laws in Indiana
Description
This article is on the drug possession laws in Indiana, and potential penalties associated with a conviction.
Publisher Name
Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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