March 10, 2020
Drug crimes are one of the most common crimes to occur on campus. In Indiana, there are strict laws when it comes to drug-free zones in the state, and the penalties are severe. While you may be well aware that elementary schools and public parks are drug-free zones, you may not know that campuses are technically not on the list.
According to the Sentencing Project, Indiana’s first drug-free zone law passed in 1987. This law originally stated that any drug crime to take place within 1,000 feet of a school property, public housing complex, youth program center or a public park would fall under a Class A felony instead of a Class B. Class A felonies have much harsher penalties than Class B felonies and sentencing for those felonies can fall in between 20 and 50 years. Interestingly enough, Indiana does not consider college campuses to be part of the school property mentioned in the bill due to an overly broad interpretation of the term.
A bill passed in 2007 that examined the law’s impact on minorities since many drug crimes were more likely to take place in inner cities. The result of this bill was a decrease in the drug-free zones around those areas from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. Additionally, the bill removed the restriction around youth centers and housing complexes. The mandatory minimum sentence became one year instead of 20, and the requirement for a Class A felony now states that there must be a reasonable expectation that a minor will be present when the crime takes place to apply.