Criminal code changes on the way

Police, judges and the prosecutor will be closely watching what happens next month when a new law begins that could result in offenders serving less time in prison and more time in the county jail.

Starting July 1, the state will begin using a new system for classifying felony crimes, such as rape, burglary, drug dealing and theft. Legislators reduced penalties for several crimes and limited which convicted felons can be sent to state prisons.

Under the new system, a person making a small amount of methamphetamine would go to prison for a maximum of only six years instead of 20, and someone caught for the first time with painkillers that aren’t prescribed to them no longer would be charged with a felony.

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