Coming into 2023, Indiana criminal law did not have any notable changes. The average person will not have to worry about facing criminal charges in Indiana because of any new or altered laws. However, there are sponsored bills that have at least been introduced and discussed by state officials.

Keeping up with Indiana criminal law can be a challenge, so we’re reviewing a handful of proposals that would impact residents in the future.

House Bill 1186 – New Misdemeanor for “Encroachment on an Investigation”

While we noted above that there were no laws coming into 2023, this is one that was authored, introduced, passed, and signed into law early in 2023. HB 1186 creates a Class C misdemeanor charge for anyone who “encroaches” on an investigation by knowingly or intentionally approaching a law enforcement officer after being ordered to stop.

The bill defines the “emergency incident area” as an area 25 feet in all directions BEYOND the already defined perimeter of the area which is 150 feet in the state of Indiana. This means it would be wise to stay at least 175 feet away from an incident, though there are understandable circumstances where someone would want to monitor and/or record law enforcement actions.

House Bills 1297 & 1356 – Decriminalizing the Possession of Marijuana in Indiana

These two bills, introduced a week apart, would make similar changes to the way Indiana handles the possession of marijuana. HB 1297, which received a hearing, simply aims to decriminalize the possession and growth of up to two ounces of marijuana or marijuana-related products. HB 1356 includes far more detail about taxation and defines THC intoxication.

Neither of these bills received a vote at the time of this report. However, Indiana is joining the long list of states that have at least had the conversation which could mean state legislators are more open to the idea of legalizing marijuana in Indiana than they have been in the past.

Senate Bill 13 – Eliminating the Lower Speed Limit for Trucks

SB 13, authored, co-authored, and sponsored by seven Republicans and one Democrat proposes to eliminate the mandatory lower speed limit for trucks. Currently, vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds have a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour but this bill would allow them to go up to the state limit which is 70 miles per hour on highways that are:

  • On the national system of interstate and defense highways outside of urban areas where the population exceeds 50,000; OR
  • The responsibility of the Indiana Finance Authority

As we know, truck-involved accidents pose major risks to those involved and CDL violations are becoming harder and harder to get reduced or dismissed. This would loosen strict laws for truck drivers in Indiana, but it could increase safety concerns on the roads.

Stay Up on Indiana Criminal Law with a Dedicated Criminal Defense Team

At Blankenship Law, we are constantly monitoring important matters in Indiana criminal law. The law changes which can leave people confused or unsure of their rights. We dedicate time to make sure our clients understand their rights and have an up-to-date understanding of the law.

Contact our team and make sure you never get left behind by changes to Indiana law.