Indiana Senator Erin Houchin was instrumental in passing three crime bills that will help take dangerous criminals off the streets and also help solve crimes, exonerate the innocent and bring peace to victims and their families.
Houchin was instrumental in the following three bills – HEA 1406, SEA 322 and SEA 323:
- HEA 1406 is aimed at keeping the repeat drug dealers who fuel the heroin epidemic off the streets through tougher prison sentences.
- Prohibits a court from suspending any part of a sentence below the minimum sentence if a person is convicted of heroin dealing as a Level 2 or Level 3 felony, and the person has any prior felony conviction.
o Under previous law, this provision only applied to heroin dealing as a Level 2 felony, and only if the person had a previous felony conviction for dealing a drug other than marijuana or a synthetic drug.
- Provides that the amount of heroin sold over a period of no more than 90 days can be aggregated for purposes of criminal charges, with penalty levels as follows:
|Existing penalties for heroin sold in one instance||New penalties for heroin sold over a 90-day span|
|Level 4 felony||At least 1 but less than 5 grams / less than 1 gram with enhancing circumstance||At least 3 but less than 7 grams|
|Level 3 felony||At least 5 but less than 10 grams / at least 1 but less than 5 grams with enhancing circumstance||At least 7 but less than 12 grams / at least 3 but less than 7 grams with enhancing circumstance|
|Level 2 felony||At least 10 grams / at least 5 but less than 10 grams with enhancing circumstance||At least 12 grams / at least 7 but less than 12 grams with enhancing circumstance|
- Law enforcement agencies already collect identifying information of arrestees as a part of their standard booking procedures. Collecting a DNA swab is a more modern option that law enforcement will be able to use when investigating and enforcing Indiana’s laws. This will lead to solving more crimes, exonerating the innocent and bring peace to victims and their families.
- Requires individuals arrested for felonies to submit a DNA sample obtained from a cheek swab beginning in 2018.
- Requires the officer obtaining the swab to:
o Inform the arrestee of his/her right to have the DNA sample removed from the state DNA database under the circumstances described below; and
o Provide instructions and a form that may be used to request removal
- Provides that samples may not be shipped for identification in the DNA database unless a court has found probable cause for the felony arrest, or the arrest was pursuant to a felony warrant.
- Provides for the removal of DNA samples from the database if the arrestee is acquitted of all felony charges, the felony charges are dismissed or converted to misdemeanors, or the arrestee is not charged with any felonies within 365 days.
- Allows a court to increase or revoke a defendant’s bail based on DNA evidence tending to show that the defendant committed additional crimes that were not considered at the time bail was initially set.
- Allows victims of domestic violence to petition the court to divide a wireless service contract that is shared with their abuser to ensure victims of domestic violence are able to keep their contact network and not have their communications monitored by their abuser
- Allows a court to place a protective order on household pets in domestic violence situations
HEA 1406 addresses a variety of criminal offenses including a provision authored by Houchin that enhances criminal penalties for dealing heroin.