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Indiana Serious Violence Offender Classification Updates

Senate Bill 158, which was recently signed into law by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, amended Indiana Code 35-47-4-5 to include attempted murder, strangulation, and human trafficking as convictions that classify a person as an Indiana serious violent offender. Individuals who have been deemed serious violent offenders are prohibited from possessing firearms and can be charged with a Level 4 felony if found in the possession of a firearm. This new law goes into effect on July 1st, 2023, and may apply to individuals who were convicted and successfully completed their sentence prior to July 2023.  

If you have been previously convicted of a crime that may soon classify you as an Indiana serious violent offender, it’s vital to you speak with an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney about your Indiana gun rights moving forward. The penalties associated with a Level 4 felony are serious and it’s best to have a strong understanding of your rights prior to this new law taking effect. If you’d like to speak with a knowledgeable Indiana defense attorney about this matter, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.  

The Basics of the Indiana Serious Violent Offender Classification 

Under federal law, specifically 18 USCS § 922(g)(1), anyone who has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison (which is any felony conviction in Indiana) is barred from possessing a firearm, regardless of the duration of their actual sentence length. Furthermore, Indiana Code 35-47-4-5 bars those classified as an Indiana serious violent offender from possessing a firearm. Prior to July 1st, 2023, a person would be considered a serious violent offender if they were convicted of one or more of the following offenses:  

  • murder 
  • reckless homicide not committed by means of a vehicle 
  • battery as a Level 2 felony, Level 3 felony, Level 4 felony, or Level 5 felony 
  • domestic battery as a Level 2 felony, Level 3 felony, Level 4 felony, or Level 5 felony 
  • aggravated battery  
  • kidnapping 
  • voluntary manslaughter
  • criminal confinement  
  • rape  
  • criminal deviate conduct (before its repeal) 
  • child molesting  
  • sexual battery as a Level 5 felony 
  • robbery
  • carjacking (before its repeal) 
  • arson as a Level 2 felony, Level 3 felony, or Level 4 felony 
  • burglary as a Level 1 felony, Level 2 felony, Level 3 felony, or Level 4 felony 
  • assisting a criminal as a Level 5 felony 
  • resisting law enforcement as a Level 2 felony, Level 3 felony, or Level 5 felony 
  • escape as a Level 4 felony or Level 5 felony 
  • trafficking with an inmate as a Level 5 felony 
  • criminal organization intimidation 
  • stalking as a Level 4 felony or Level 5 felony 
  • incest 
  • dealing in or manufacturing cocaine or a narcotic drug  
  • dealing in methamphetamine or manufacturing methamphetamine 
  • dealing in a schedule I, II, or III controlled substance 
  • dealing in a schedule IV controlled substance 
  • dealing in a schedule V controlled substance 
  • dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death  

Now, following the passage of Senate Bill 158, the list above will be amended to include three new offenses: attempted murder, strangulation, and human trafficking. In Indiana, attempted murder shares a definition with murder, which can be found in Indiana Code 35-42-1-1, but simply pertains to the attempt to commit murder, rather than the act of committing murder. Strangulation, on the other hand, is defined in Indiana Code 35-42-2-9, as an act committed by a person who in a rude, angry, or insolent manner, knowingly or intentionally, applies pressure to the throat or neck of another person; obstructs the nose or mouth of another person; or applies pressure to the torso of another person in a manner that impedes the normal breathing or blood circulation of the other person. Finally, per Indiana Code 35-42-3.5-1.4, human trafficking refers to an offense where a person knowingly or intentionally pays; offers to pay; or agrees to pay money or other property, or offers a benefit; for a human trafficking victim with the intent to induce or obtain the product or act for which the victim was trafficked.  

Potential Penalties for Indiana Serious Violent Offenders 

If a person who is classified as an Indiana serious violent offender is found in possession of a gun, they could be charged with a Level 4 felony. Under the Indiana sentencing guidelines, this charge carries a potential penalty of up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $12,000. Furthermore, the person would risk being charged with a federal crime under The Gun Control Act (GCA).  

The Gun Control Act, for the purposes of Indiana Serious Violent Offenders

Expungement For Serious Violent Offenders 

Many individuals who are classified in Indiana as serious violent offenders are NOT eligible for expungement under Indiana Code 11-8-8-5. However, there are a variety of serious violent offenses that may be eligible for Indiana expungement, including arson, non-domestic battery, burglary, assisting a criminal, resisting law enforcement, escape, trafficking with an inmate, criminal organization intimidation, and offenses related to drug dealing in Indiana. If an offender’s conviction is eligible for expungement, they may petition the court to expunge their criminal record and regain their right to possess a firearm if they meet the following criteria:  

Level 6 Felony Expungement:  

  • 8+ years have passed since the conviction 
  • No new criminal convictions during that time 
  • No current pending criminal charges 
  • Successful payment of all fines, fees, court costs, restitution orders, and expungement filing fee 

Level 5 Felony Expungement:  

  • 8+ years have passed since the conviction OR 3+ years since the completion of the sentence, whichever is later 
  • No new criminal convictions during that time 
  • No current pending criminal charges 
  • Successful payment of all fines, fees, court costs, restitution orders, and expungement filing fee 

Serious Felony Expungement:  

  • 10+ years have passed since the conviction OR 5+ years since the completion of the sentence, whichever is later 
  • No new convictions during that time 
  • No criminal charges currently pending  
  • Successful payment of all fines, fees, court costs, restitution orders, and expungement filing fee  
  • The prosecutor consents to expungement 

It’s vital to understand that expunging felonies is no slam dunk, especially for those considered a serious violent offender. However, a skilled felony expungement lawyer will understand everything that needs to be done to put you in the best position possible to have your records sealed. If you’re looking one of the best expungement lawyers in Indiana, feel free to call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.  

Questions about the New Laws on Serious Violent Offenders in Indiana?  

If you have any questions about who will be classified in Indiana as a serious violent offender under this new law, feel free to contact the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our Indiana criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience litigating criminal cases and a thorough understanding of Indiana criminal law. We stand ready to help you understand how these new laws may impact your ability to carry a firearm and can walk you through all options related to restoring your Indiana gun rights. To speak with an attorney today 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Summary
Updates to Indiana Serious Violent Offender Classification
Article Name
Updates to Indiana Serious Violent Offender Classification
Description
This article describes the new updates to the Indiana serious violent offender classification that will go into effect on July 1st, 2023.
Author
Publisher Name
Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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