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Drug offenses carry heavier penalties if they occur in or near school

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Drug-related Charges

To say Indiana’s drug possession laws are strict is an understatement. Even if an individual was caught with less than three grams of a controlled substance, they could face up to three years in prison plus thousands of dollars in fines. But those penalties become even more severe if law enforcement catches the individual in or near a school.

Indiana law on drug possession charges when minors are involved

By Indiana law, a court can hand out a Class A infraction to a person who manufactures, delivers, possesses with the intent to deliver, or finances the manufacturing or delivery of a drug. The charge can become a Level 6 felony if the offense is committed knowingly or intentionally.

That felony charge further upgrades to a Level 5 felony if the individual had more than five grams of a drug and delivered it in the following settings:

  • On a school bus
  • Within or at least 500 feet near school property
  • In a public park where a person under 18 years old was “reasonably expected to be present”

Because of the implications that the individual with criminal charges might be distributing drugs to minors in these cases, state law hands out harsher penalties.

Penalties for drug possession with school zone enhancements

A Level 6 felony typically carries jail time of up to two years and a maximum fine of $10,000. But individuals charged with a Level 5 felony for allegedly distributing controlled substances to minors can expect jail time of up to six years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Drug charges can lead to large fines, prison time and a criminal conviction on record that the individual must wait for eight years before they can have it expunged. Convictions can also ruin a person’s career and financial opportunities. Those facing a drug possession charge – whether caught near or far from a school – should consider seeking legal aid. An attorney can provide clients with representation in court, guidance on the legal procedure and ways to reduce their penalties.