New laws take effect in Indiana today
New laws go into effect today and there's a lot you need to know.
There's a new gas use tax and guns are allowed in school parking lots. The biggest change involves the re-structuring of the criminal code, which hasn't changed since 1977.
That means a number of low-level crimes will receive lower sentences including extended probation or offenders doing their time in the county jail or through community corrections. That creates some concern for law enforcement.
"We feel as prosecutor that at certain level, those are very serious offenses they drive other crime as well. That is one area we have pretty significant concern about," said Terry Curry, Marion County prosecuting attorney.
But, the changes in the criminal code won't affect violent crime.
"Our goal and our police partner's goal at the state level and federal level has been and will continue to be--who are our individuals? It's often a small number of individuals committing the most serious crimes. How can we better target those individuals and take them off the streets?" said Curry.
Other changes to the code mean four felony classes will go to six classes with much more narrow transitions in the range of years an offender can be sentenced in each class. The series of sentences where the court is required to impose minimum executed sentences has also been drastically reduced.
There will also be more consistency in sentencing. There will be fewer circumstances where a person can get credit for time served. Now, for most sentences, they will serve a minimum of 75 percent of the time.
The changes to the criminal code were made in the name of eliminating redundancy and inconsistency and saving taxpayer dollars.
Other laws to go into effect, such as guns allowed in school parking lots. Parents, teachers, even students who have the proper approval can have guns locked in their cars while parked on campus.
The gas use tax is also changing from a standard 19 cents a gallon to 7 percent of the average price of gas from the previous month--meaning that tax could change from month to month.
The Lifeline Law is also expanding to extend protection to not to just underage drinkers calling 911 to report alcohol-related medical emergencies, but reporting sexual assaults and other crimes will be protected too.
Concussion awareness training is now required for football coaches. Coaches of players younger than 20 must be certified in concussion awareness.
Penalties will also be strengthened for trespassers who damage farm property.