What you need to know about changes in Indiana law


INDIANAPOLIS — July 1, 2020, means many of Indiana’s new laws will go into effect.

Indiana leaders are working hard to raise awareness about these laws but many of the people we talked in downtown Indianapolis on the first said they had no idea some of their biggest habits could now get them in trouble.

“I’m happy that you told me about all of those things,” said Kelsey Tyler after we informed her about some of the new laws going into effect. Tyler is 20 years old and moved to Indianapolis for a job recently. She said she often uses the GPS feature on her phone since she doesn’t know the area well.

“I’ll hold my phone and my steering wheel,” said Tyler. “So, now I realize that would be illegal now as of today I guess.”

Police understand people will need time to learn about the new law.

Sgt. Ron Galaviz stopped to help a woman on the side of the road while our news crew followed on the first day of this new distracted driving law. As we watched, Galaviz also took the time to remind the woman about the new hands-free driving mandate.

For now, Galaviz said you will likely just get a written warning for holding your phone and driving. The education period for this law could take until the end of the year.

“There will be some instances, and again, it will be on a case by case basis, where a citation may be necessitated, as a result of a crash for instance,” said Sgt. Galaviz.

Starting Wednesday, it’s against the law to get married at age 15 or younger, for someone to force you to get microchipped or to get a surprise medical bill.

Smoking or vaping under the age of 21 is also illegal.

Tyler says that law doesn’t impact her, but it does impact her friends.

“It’s kind of unfortunate that it was moved up because some people are already addicted to it,” said Tyler.

A license to carry a gun is now easier to get in Indiana. There are no fees for a five-year permit but a lifetime one still has a price tag.

“I just recently signed up to get my gun permit so it’s actually a good thing for me right now,” said Leonard Maynard, an Indiana resident enjoying July 1 on the circle in downtown Indy.

Educating the public about new laws is so important but eventually, it will become common knowledge and result in consequences.

For example, it’s a $500 fine for holding a phone while driving and up to $2,000 if you’re caught selling tobacco products to minors.

“I think at the end of the day you know it’s all about saving lives,” said Sgt. Galaviz. “We are not out here trying to write a bunch of tickets. We want to educate the motoring public because, at the end of the day, the more education, the more information somebody has, the better off they are going to be.”

There was one law that was supposed to go into effect July 1 but didn’t because it was blocked by a federal judge. That’s the panhandling law. It would essentially make it illegal to panhandle in places like downtown Indianapolis. We’ll continue following that to see if it ever does become law in Indiana.

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