Among the things that can have major implications for people accused of drug crimes here in Indiana is whether the alleged offense is claimed to have involved “enhancing circumstances.”
Under Indiana law, for certain drug crimes, such as cocaine possession offenses, the offense level the crime would fall under goes to a greater level than normal if the crime involved an enhancing circumstance. For example, it might jump one felony level. The greater the offense level of a drug crime, the more severe consequences a person can face for a conviction.
What things qualify as an “enhancing circumstance”? This is defined by state law. Among the things that are considered to add an enhancing circumstance to a drug offense here in Indiana are:
- The crime being done on a school bus.
- The crime being done in or within 500 feet of a public park or school property, if a minor could reasonably have been expected to be in the area.
- The perpetrator having certain past drug crimes on their record.
- The perpetrator having manufactured the controlled substance the crime involved.
- The perpetrator having financed the manufacture of the controlled substance the crime involved.
- The perpetrator having possessed a firearm during the crime.
- The crime having knowingly occurred in close proximity to minors.
- The offense having involved the delivery of drugs to a minor (or the financing of such delivery), if the perpetrator was three of more years older than the minor.
So, when the drug crime allegations brought against a person contain allegations of such circumstances, the stakes in the person’s case can be particularly high.
It can be very important for a drug crime suspect to be aware of what the specific allegations brought against them mean for their legal situation. Having an incorrect picture of this could lead to a suspect inadvertently making a decision in their case that hurts their long-term interests. Among the things skilled Indiana defense attorneys can advise individuals accused of drug crimes on is whether the allegations they are facing contain enhancing circumstances or other factors that would increase the potential consequences of the allegations.