How Are Indiana Drug Crime Penalties Determined?

Marijuana being rolled

Although the tide seems to be shifting, Indiana is still one of the most conservative states in the country when it comes to drug laws. The consequences of a drug crime conviction can vary widely from a case by case, and are based on a number of factors.

Factor #1: The Crime

The crime you are convicted of will be a major factor in determining your sentence. A conviction for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) will typically subject you to lower penalties than sale of a CDS, although this is not always the case. In Indiana, many drug possession offenses can subject you to a Class A felony charge, the most serious type of non-murder crime you can be charged with.

Factor #2: The Type of Drug

Indiana divides CDS’ into one of five “schedules,” similar to how these drugs are classified by the DEA. These schedules start with Schedule I, or the most addictive and dangerous drugs, down to Schedule V – drugs that are often readily available at the local pharmacy. Marijuana and its concentrates are classified separately.

Typically, the penalties you will face will depend on where the drug is classified. More serious drugs, such as Schedule I and II will subject you to more serious penalties, while the consequences of a conviction for Schedule V or marijuana will typically be lower.

Factor #3: The Amount

The amount of the drug in your possession is one of the most influential factors in determining your sentence. For example, possession of cocaine under 3 grams is typically a Class C felony – raise the amount to just over 3 grams, and you could be facing Class A felony charges!

Factor #4: The Circumstances

There are a number of other conditions which can affect the severity of the sentence. These include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • If you were on a school bus
  • If you were within 1000 feet of a school, public housing, or youth center
  • If you were in possession of a firearm
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