Criminal law issues

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 335 on criminal law issues sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald. The bill provides:

  • If certain criminal penalties are increased, or, in the case of an infraction, imposed, due to a prior conviction or infraction committed by a defendant, the new offense must have been committed not later than fifteen years from the later of the date of the conviction or infraction judgment or the person was released from incarceration, probation, or parole.
  • Certain crimes and classes of crimes are excluded from the fifteen-year lookback period.
  • the duties of an operator of a boat who is involved in an accident or collision resulting in injury.
  • Strangulation and domestic battery are added to the definition of “crimes of violence”.
  • References to a conviction for Indiana offenses include: (1) an attempt to commit the offense; (2) a conspiracy to commit the offense; and (3) a substantially similar offense committed in another jurisdiction.
  • Credit earned by a person on pretrial home detention does not include accrued time.
  • That it is a crime to possess a firearm with an obliterated serial number (under current law, it is only a crime to possess a handgun with an obliterated serial number).
  • A defense to possession of “smokable hemp” if the hemp is carried in continuous transit from a licensed producer in another state through Indiana to a licensed handler in another state.
  • A conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is an offense of the same class as the misdemeanor.

The bill was amended by consent to extend the distance for panhandling to within 50 feet of a public monument, ATM, bank, business, or restaurant. Representatives from Indy Chamber, Visit Indy, Downtown Indy, Inc., Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, Marriott Hotel, and Hyatt Hotel testified in favor of this amendment.

The bill was further amended by consent to incorporate similar provisions to those found in SB 16, juvenile delinquents and firearms, and HB 1159, juvenile expungements and firearms matters. With some germaneness concerns, an amendment was adopted to remove expiration dates from gift cards, allow a consumer to demand the monetary amount of a gift card, and create an action under the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act if a gift card is not honored.

The last adopted amendment changes the look back period from 15 years to 7 years, removes the conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor language, removes the smokable hemp defense, and deletes duplicative language in between Title 16 and Title 35.  A representative of the Indiana Primary Healthcare Association and Damian Center testified in favor of changing the language from “dangerous disease” to “serious disease” in reference to HIV, which was made in the last amendment.

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and Indiana Public Defender Council testified in favor of the original bill with some reservations about the amendments.  The amended bill passed 9-0.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/335