2018 Legislative Summary

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Indiana Court Times on 6/21/2018 by Court Times. Compiled By: Amanda R. Wishin | Research Attorney, Indiana Office of Court Services

New immunities

  • Community corrections officers and probation officers who administer an overdose intervention drug. S.E.A. 13, P.L. 4.
  • A guardian ad litem program and court appointed special advocate program when a child is placed on a waiting list for guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate services. S.E.A. 135, P.L. 120.
  • Fire department that operates a newborn safety device. S.E.A. 340, P.L. 205.
  • A person who assists and a health care provider who provides professional intervention in an investigation by the Department of Child Services (DCS) resulting from a report that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect. S.E.A. 431, P.L. 106.
  • An adult protective services unit or a DCS caseworker who makes a report of animal cruelty, abandonment, or neglect. S.E.A. 431, P.L. 106.
  • Employer for negligent hiring of employee participating in certain substance abuse treatment. H.E.A. 1007, P.L. 195.
  • Landowner that allows another person on their property to access a trail, a greenway, a park, or another similar area used for recreational purposes. H.E.A. 1115, P.L. 29.

New crimes and sentencing

  • Level 1-3 felonies: manufacturing or dealing controlled substances resulting in the death of user. H.E.A. 1359, P.L. 198.
  • Level 5 felony: a retailer knowingly sells marijuana packaged in a manner that appears to be low THC extract. S.E.A. 52, P.L. 153. Effective: March 21, 2018.
  • Level 5 felony: failure to register as a sex or violent offender for an offense originating in another jurisdiction. S.E.A. 60, P.L. 44.
  • Level 6 felony: theft for a person to knowingly or intentionally exert unauthorized control over a motor vehicle or its components with the intent to deprive the other person; Level 5 felony with a prior unrelated conviction for auto theft. H.E.A. 1060, P.L. 176.
  • Class A misdemeanor: possession of marijuana when it is packaged to appear to be low THC hemp extract and the person knows or reasonably should know that the product is marijuana. S.E.A. 52, P.L. 153. Effective: March 21, 2018.
  • Classifies infractions: Exceeding an altered speed limit established by a local authority (Class C); speeding in a school zone (Class B); maintaining minimum speed or exceeding speed (Class C). S.E.A. 266, P.L. 164.
  • Unless a court grants a waiver, a sex offender who knowingly establishes a residence within a mile radius of the residence of the sex offense victim commits invasion of privacy. S.E.A. 12, P.L. 87.
  • Murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and feticide may be committed against a fetus in any stage of development. A person who commits a felony that causes the termination of a pregnancy may receive an additional sentence of 6-20 years. Lawfully performed abortion excepted. S.E.A. 203, P.L. 203.
  • For sentencing purposes, a conviction in another jurisdiction is equal to a Level 6 felony conviction if the offender might have been imprisoned for more than one year but less than two and one-half years.  H.E.A. 1033, P.L. 20. Effective: March 8, 2018.
  • Court must advise a defendant, before accepting a guilty plea, that the court will be bound by terms of a plea agreement at the time of sentencing and for sentence modification. Without the consent of the prosecuting attorney, a court may not reduce the sentence of a person sentenced under a plea agreement if not authorized by the plea. S.E.A. 64, P.L. 45.
  • Home detention ordered as a condition of probation no longer must be at least 60 days, court can approve out-of-house activities for an offender, and offender on home detention must maintain a working phone. H.E.A. 1034, P.L. 21.
  • Individuals convicted of controlled substance crimes are still eligible for SNAP benefits unless they violate terms of the probation, parole, community corrections, or reentry court program. H.E.A. 1317, P.L. 209. Effective: July 1, 2019.

Changes to criminal law

  • Sex offenders can attend a house of worship located on school property while classes, extracurricular activities, or other school activities are not being held. S.E.A. 12, P.L. 87.
  • Legalizes low THC hemp extract (CBD oil). S.E.A. 52, P.L. 153. Effective: March 21, 2018.
  • Sets forth the new civil forfeiture process. S.E.A. 99, P.L. 47.
  • Removes the minimum age requirement for operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death. S.E.A. 404, P.L. 63.
  • Defense to operating while intoxicated offenses involving the use of a controlled substance only applies if the controlled substance was consumed in accordance with a valid prescription. S.E.A. 404, P.L. 63.
  • Division of Mental Health & Addiction can establish a pilot program to provide services to misdemeanants. H.E.A. 1006, P.L. 65. Effective: March 13, 2018.
  • For criminal trespass, a property owner may deny entry to property by placing purple marks on trees or posts around the property. H.E.A. 1233, P.L. 181.
  • Adds battery as a “crime of violence”; bailiffs and special deputies are “public safety officials” for purposes of the battery statute. H.E.A. 1250, P.L. 80.
  • Plain clothes law enforcement officer in an unmarked police vehicle may make an arrest for reckless driving causing endangerment, recklessly passing a stopped school bus resulting in bodily injury, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person. S.E.A. 266, P.L. 164.
  • Reclassifies “human and sexual trafficking” to “human trafficking,” creating separate offenses for labor and sexual trafficking and renaming certain crimes. H.E.A. 1270, P.L. 144.
  • Murder is not bailable if the state proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the proof is evident or the presumption strong. H.E.A. 1328, P.L. 41.

Specialized Driving Privileges

  • Clarifies that specialized driving privileges petitions must be filed in the court that resulted in the order of suspension. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • Specialized driving privileges expire when the person is acquitted of the underlying conviction or it is reversed, vacated, or dismissed. S.E.A. 98, P.L. 46.
  • Court must inform the Bureau of Motor Vehicles of a termination of a suspension and expiration of specialized driving privileges. S.E.A. 98, P.L. 46.


  • DCS must file a motion requesting a change in placement and provide notice to the persons affected before changing the out-of-home placement of a CHINS who has been in the same placement for at least one year; juvenile court must hold a hearing if a written objection to the motion is filed. S.E.A. 128, P.L. 119.
  • CHINS definition expanded to include a child who lives in the same household as an adult who has been charged or convicted of an offense against another child in the household. S.E.A. 381, P.L. 71.
  • CHINS predispositional reports, reports prepared by the state for the juvenile court’s review of the court’s dispositional decree or use at a CHINS periodic case review must be provided at least 48 hours before a hearing. S.E.A. 402, P.L. 62.

Child Support

  • Incarceration of a parent is not voluntary unemployment for child support purposes. A court may modify the child support order without hearing if a petition to modify a child support order based on incarceration of a party is filed, and after receiving notice, no party files an objection or request for a hearing within 30 days. S.E.A. 179, P.L. 94.
  • Clerk may contract with a collection agency to collect past due annual support fees. Clerk may also recoup child support overpayments. H.E.A. 1406, P.L. 150.


  • Allows temporary guardianships to be extended for one 90-day period. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • Various changes made to probate and trust law relating to creditors’ claims, claims against non-probate transferees, and no contest provisions in wills and trusts. S.E.A. 247, P.L. 163.
  • Extends period for county clerks to issue letters testamentary or of administration from five months to seven months. S.E.A. 247, P.L. 163.
  • Allows a testator to execute an electronic will, trust, or power of attorney. H.E.A. 1303, P.L. 40.

Administrative Changes

  • State Court Administration and the Judicial Center have been changed throughout the code to the Office of Judicial Administration. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • Evening court sessions are not required. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • Magistrate may enter final appealable orders in small claims and protective order cases. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • Increases senior judges per diem to $175 for the first 30 days of service. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161. Effective March 21, 2018.
  • Add Marion County Small Claims judges as non-voting members of the Judicial Conference. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.
  • County may enter into an agreement with a municipality to use a municipal ordinance violations bureau or a city or town court for county ordinance violations. H.E.A. 1140, P.L. 75.
  • Victim, victim spouse, or an immediate family member of a deceased victim can obtain a free electronic copy of the criminal transcript with the assistance of the prosecuting attorney or victim assistance program. H.E.A. 1173, P.L. 78.
  • Initial user fee for a diversion agreement is $50 for a misdemeanor and $75 for a felony. Court can impose an additional program fee or cost reasonably related to rehabilitation. A monthly user fee cannot be collected beyond the maximum length of a possible sentence. H.E.A. 1057, P.L. 24.
  • Clerk of the county maintaining jurisdiction over the case shall collect the service of process fee. S.E.A. 238, P.L. 161.

All bills are effective on July 1, 2018, unless otherwise noted.

For summaries of all new relevant laws, please see the Legislative Update.

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