Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer reviews new criminal laws that took effect in Indiana

INDIANA – During the 2022 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly took action on a wide variety of issues, passing several new criminal laws dealing with everything from charitable bail to permitless handgun carrying. 

Sheriff Rick Meyer

Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer shares a look at new criminal laws that will affect Hoosiers:

Permitless/constitutional carry

Hoosiers no longer need a license to carry a handgun in Indiana as long as they’re allowed to have the weapon. House Bill 1296 repealed the law requiring licensing.  Background checks are still required to purchase a firearm from licensed firearm dealers (not private sellers).  

Under the new law, there are many who are prohibited from carrying a handgun, including people convicted of federal or state offenses punishable by more than one year (with some exceptions), those under age 18, persons unlawfully in the U.S., fugitives and those with convictions for domestic violence, domestic battery or stalking.

Those who wish to get a permit to carry may still do so.

Jail overcrowding

The legislature reversed a 2014 decision that sent low-level felons to county jails to serve their sentences. That change did reduce the population at state prisons but led to overcrowding at the county level.

Offenders sentenced to a Level 6 felony are again eligible to serve their sentence at a state prison facility. County sheriffs favored the change, saying it will reduce populations, and overcrowding, and keep costs down.

Rape loophole closed

The General Assembly closed a loophole in the state’s rape law to include situations when “the person disregarded the other person’s attempts to physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts.”

The change, the first since the 19th century, brings Indiana’s law in line with other states and helps sexual assault survivors seek justice.

Charitable bail changes

Charitable organizations are now allowed to post bail for indigent persons as long as the defendant is not charged with a violent crime or the individual doesn’t have a prior conviction for a violent offense.

Organizations are prohibited from bailing out more than three people in a six-month period without a license.

The law change was prompted by a string of murders and violent crimes committed by defendants facing similar charges after they were bailed out of jail by the non-profit organization, The Bail Project.  

Coerced abortion

Following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, the legislature will meet in a special session on July 25 to address abortion-related laws. Lawmakers already approved a measure on coerced abortion that requires abortion clinic staff to ask women if their abortion was coerced.

Clinics must tell patients that coerced abortion is illegal. If they learn of such a situation, the clinic must contact law enforcement.

The law makes it a Level 6 felony to coerce someone to have an abortion and a Class C infraction for a clinic that fails to report one.