House panel approves Steuerwald's bill increasing penalties for drug dealers

Posted by: Lindsay Devlin  | Thursday, January 21, 2016

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 21, 2016) – The House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code voted  8-3 in support of Rep. Greg Steuerwald’s (R-Avon) bill establishing stricter punishments on drug dealers.

If voted into law, House Bill 1235 would allow prosecutors to consider an offender’s criminal record when determining appropriate penalties for a subsequent drug-dealing conviction. If an individual has a prior conviction of distributing synthetic drugs, like spice and bath salts, the punishment will be more severe.

“We have a serious drug problem in Indiana that must be addressed,” Steuerwald said. “Hopefully drug dealers learn their lesson the first time they go to jail, but if they don’t, we will send them a longer sentence.”

The bill also stipulates that a Level 2 conviction of dealing controlled substances may not be suspended by the court. According to Indiana Code, a Level 2 violation for dealing a controlled substance is defined as selling an amount greater than 28 grams or in the range of 10-28 grams when accompanied by an enhancing circumstance.

“I want to make every effort to ensure the safety of our families and communities,” Steuerwald said. “Policymakers have introduced bills this session that challenge the significant drug issues plaguing Indiana. This legislation builds on that momentum and serves as another step toward increasing the safety of Hoosiers and getting drug dealers off of our streets.”

Steuerwald’s bill can now be considered by all members of the House of Representatives.

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Rep. Steuerwald (R-Avon) represents portions of Hendricks County.