Indiana’s gun laws, like those of many states, strike a delicate balance between upholding the right to bear arms and ensuring public safety. While the Second Amendment guarantees this right, responsible gun ownership requires a keen understanding of the legal landscape and avoid gun charges.
This blog delves deeper into gun charges in Indiana and possible penalties. If you’re accused of a gun crime, don’t wait to seek help from an Evansville criminal defense lawyer. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.
Unlawful Gun Possession and Carry
Indiana’s gun laws are regulated by Indiana Code Title 35 Article 47. This article deals with weapons and instruments of violence which includes gun possession and carrying of a firearm.
Unlicensed Handgun Possession
Indiana Code § 45-37-2-1 requires a license to carry a handgun, with some limited exceptions such as shooting ranges and instructional courses. Carrying a handgun without a permit is a Class A misdemeanor.
You may face a penalty of up to one year in jail, $5,000 in fines, or both. However, aggravating factors like prior convictions or possessing multiple firearms can lead to increased penalties and even felony charges.
Prohibited Person Possession
Under Indiana Code § 45-37-4-6, it is illegal for a person who has been convicted of domestic battery to possess a firearm. Even owning a single round of ammunition can trigger this charge.
The possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon is a Level 4 felony and carries an advisory sentence of six years. Aggravating factors like the type of firearm can significantly increase the sentence.
Carrying a Loaded Handgun (IC §35-47-8-5)
The location matters here. Openly carrying a loaded handgun in a public place, even with a permit, is a misdemeanor. However, concealed carry within a permitted holster is legal in specific circumstances.
This is punishable by up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines. However, if the offense occurs in a school zone or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the penalties can be enhanced significantly.
Gun Charges for Firearm Use
Criminal Reckless Use of a Firearm (IC §35-47-2-1)
This felony goes beyond mere negligence. It requires knowingly or intentionally firing a gun in a way that endangers human life or property, even accidentally. This covers reckless firing toward buildings, into the air, or even in one’s own yard if it poses a risk to others.
If convicted, you face a potential sentence of six months to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Factors like the number of shots fired, the presence of injuries, and prior reckless behavior can influence the severity of the sentence.
Battery With a Firearm (IC §35-42-1-2)
This felony involves the use of a firearm to inflict bodily harm. It covers intentional shootings, but also situations where a firearm is used during a fight or assault, regardless of whether it’s fired.
A potential sentence of six to twenty years in prison and $10,000 in fines. The severity of the injury inflicted and the presence of aggravating factors like prior violent offenses can significantly increase the sentence.
Robbery With a Firearm (IC §35-42-5-1)
This severe felony combines the threat of a firearm with theft. Using a gun to demand or take someone else’s property automatically elevates the charge to a felony with potentially lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.
A potential sentence of sixteen to forty years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Additional charges for weapon possession or injury can further increase the penalties.
Penalties for Gun Crimes in Indiana
Certain gun offenses, particularly those involving violent crimes or drug trafficking, carry mandatory minimum prison sentences, regardless of extenuating circumstances. This underscores the seriousness of these offenses and the potential severity of the legal consequences.
Federal Gun Laws
Indiana’s laws must comply with federal statutes like the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act. Violations of these federal laws can result in separate charges and penalties, adding another layer of complexity to the legal landscape.
Indiana’s “castle doctrine” allows the use of deadly force in defense of your home or person. However, this justification has strict legal requirements. Merely owning a gun doesn’t automatically grant self-defense immunity. Specific circumstances, like an imminent threat, must be present.
Choose an Experienced Evansville Criminal Defense Lawyer
Gun charges in Indiana carry serious penalties, and you need an experienced Evansville criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. With over 30 years of handling criminal cases and more than 85 jury trials behind him, Verdelski Miller brings unmatched expertise in Indiana gun laws and gun-related cases.