Regulated Under Indiana Code 35-48-4-7
In Indiana, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription is a crime. A controlled substance is everything “classified in schedule I, II, III, or IV, except marijuana, hashish, salvia, or a synthetic cannabinoid” and constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. IC § 35-48-4-7 (Burns, Lexis Advance through P.L.169-2018, with gaps of P.L.152-2018 to 154-2018 and 161-2018, from the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
However, if an “enhancing circumstance applies,” a possession charge would increase to a Level 6 felony. Id. Below are examples of drugs falling in schedules I-IV.
- Schedule I: heroin, marijuana, ecstasy
- Schedule II: cocaine, Adderall, methadone
- Schedule III: anabolic steroids, ketamine
- Schedule IV: Xanax, Valium, Tramadol
- Schedule V: Lyrica, Lotomil
In. gov. (2018). ISDH: Drug Schedules 1-5 [online] Available at: https://www.in.gov/isdh/27380.htm
Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance
The potential penalties for possession of a controlled substance are either a Class A misdemeanor or a Level 6 felony.
“A person who commits a Class A misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than one (1) year; in addition, he may be fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).” IC § 35-50-3-2 (Burns, Lexis Advance through P.L.169-2018, with gaps of P.L.152-2018 to 154-2018 and 161-2018, from the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
Additionally, if an enhancing circumstance applies, which might include possession on school property or having a prior conviction, one may be convicted of a Level 6 felony.
The penalty for a Level 6 felony is “imprison[ment] for a fixed term of between six (6) months and two and one-half (2 1/2) years, with the advisory sentence being one (1) year. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).” IC § 35-50-2-7 (Burns, Lexis Advance through P.L.169-2018, with gaps of P.L.152-2018 to 154-2018 and 161-2018, from the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
What if I’m in a Car while in possession of a controlled substance?
In Garcia v. State, , the court held an open pill container laying in plain sight in a car amounts to the necessary probable cause needed to search a person without a warrant so long as he is already lawfully stopped by a Police Officer for another purpose. Garcia v. State, 47 N.E.3d 1196 (Ind. 2016) citing U.S. v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S. Ct. 467, 38 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1973).
This means you could be charged with possession if you have non-prescribed controlled substances in your car, even if you were initially just pulled over for speeding.