Enhancing Circumstances in Indiana
If you’re facing charges of drug possession, manufacturing, or dealing in Indiana, it’s important to know that given the circumstances of your offense and arrest, you may be subject to enhancing circumstances in Indiana. In some cases, this means that an offense that typically would result in a Class A misdemeanor can become a Level 6 Felony if an enhancing circumstance in Indiana applies to your offense. For more serious Indiana drug crimes, it may mean that an offense that’s usually a Level 4 felony will become a Level 3 felony. This enhancement could add as much as 1-4 years of incarceration to your sentence.
To better understand the legal context of the prosecution’s case against you, it’s best that you speak with an experienced and well-versed drug attorney in Indianapolis. This is no time to try to navigate the Indiana criminal justice system all on your own. To ensure the best possible outcome in your case, call one of the former deputy prosecutors at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team has experience prosecuting and defending drug crime cases in Indiana, giving us intimate knowledge regarding the various strategies the prosecution may deploy in the courtroom.
If you’re ready to better understand the seriousness of the charges against you and start building an effective defense, schedule a free consultation with our team today by calling 317-857-0160 or by completing our online contact form.
Indiana Drug Crimes and Possible Penalties
While Indiana’s drug laws are voluminous, there are several kinds of drug crimes in Indiana that are most common, including possession, dealing, and manufacturing. The penalties for each of these crimes differ based on the amount of drugs discovered at the time of arrest or at the conclusion of the law enforcement investigation. The penalties also differ based on the type of drug and the presence of any enhancing circumstances for certain offenses.
For example, under most circumstances, a person charged with the simple possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana in Indiana would only face a conviction of a Class B Misdemeanor, per Indiana Code 35-48-4-11. This conviction may carry a penalty of 0-180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Furthermore, if this is the person’s first drug-related offense, Indiana Code 35-48-4-12 allows for courts to refrain from entering judgment of their conviction, defer further proceedings and place the person into the custody of the court under certain conditions. If the person fulfills these conditions, such as probation, Indiana house arrest, or mandatory drug and alcohol counseling, the court may dismiss the charges altogether.
In contrast, as stated in Indiana Code 35-48-4-6, a person charged with the simple possession of a half gram of heroin would face charges of a Level 6 felony in the state of Indiana. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, an Indiana Level 6 felony conviction could result in a sentence of between 6 months and 2.5 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. This conviction, however, could be elevated to a Level 5 felony if one of several enhancing circumstances in Indiana applies to the offense. This means that the person would now face 1-6 years in prison, in addition to fines of up to $10,000.
Enhancing Circumstances in Indiana
The enhancing circumstances used to elevate convictions of some drug crimes in Indiana are detailed in Indiana Code 35-48-1-16.5. As stated in this law, the 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.
Enhancing Circumstances in Indiana: Possible Defense for School and Park Enhancement
Indiana Code 35-48-4-16 does provide Hoosiers with a defense for the enhancing circumstance of delivering, financing the delivery of, or possessing cocaine, a narcotic drug, methamphetamine, or a controlled substance within 500 feet of a school or public park where a person under the age of 18 was reasonably expected to be present. As stated in the law, a person charged may assert the defense that they were briefly in, on, or within 500 feet of the school or park while a minor was reasonably expected to be present, however, no minor was present at the time the offense occurred. The law also allows a person to assert the defense that they were on the school or park property at the request or suggestion of a law enforcement officer or an agent of law enforcement while a person less than 18 was reasonably expected to be present.
Have Further Questions about Enhancing Circumstances in Indiana?
Remember, even low-level felonies in Indiana have the potential to impact all aspects of your daily life. Therefore, if you are facing drug dealing charges in Indiana, or charges related to the possession or manufacturing of a controlled substance, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Indiana as soon as possible.
The defense attorneys at the Indianapolis law office of Keffer Hirschauer LLP have vast experience defending individuals charged with drug crimes in Indiana and are available to speak with you about enhancing circumstances in Indiana and other important elements of your case. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form.