Facing Battery Charges in Indiana?
Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the specifics of criminal charges. In Indiana, battery charges carry their own set of definitions, nuances, and potential penalties that can have significant consequences on the lives of those involved. With the term “battery” often being used interchangeably with “assault,” it’s crucial for Indiana residents to grasp the legal distinctions and implications of these charges.
In this post, we’ll dissect the Indiana Criminal Code pertaining to battery, particularly Indiana Code 35-42-2-1 and Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.3, as well as the ramifications of a battery conviction. However, if you have already been charged with battery in Indiana, the first step you should take is to secure legal counsel. Under some circumstances, battery can be a serious, felony offense and thus requires swift action to protect both your rights and your freedoms.
If you’re not sure where to turn or would like to speak with an Indiana defense lawyer today, contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team has extensive experience defending Hoosiers against battery charges in Indiana and understands how the prosecution typically approaches cases of this nature. Ultimately, we’ll do everything in our power to limit your potential criminal penalties, have the charges reduced or even dismissed altogether.
Definition of Battery in Indiana
Indiana laws set forth a clear boundary between acceptable social conduct and criminal behavior, emphasizing the intention behind the action. A touch that might be deemed socially acceptable in one context could be considered battery in another if done with an intentional disregard for the dignity of the other person. Furthermore, the term “battery” denotes a physical act that can range from a mere touch to a violent blow; encompassing a wide variety of interactions.
As defined by Indiana Code 35-42-2-1 battery can occur when an individual recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally touches another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or in a rude, insolent, or angry manner places any bodily fluid or waste on another person. This broad definition captures a spectrum of physical contact, acknowledging that even a slight touch, if done in a certain demeanor, qualifies as battery.
Battery vs Assault in Indiana
Although battery is often confused with assault in Indiana, these are two completely different behaviors. Assault is often associated with the threat of harm rather than the act itself. There are no specific criminal offenses that are referred to as assault in Indiana Code but the most closely related offense would be “intimidation.” Under Indiana Code 35-45-2-1, a person commits the criminal act of intimidation, a Class A Misdemeanor, when they communicate a threat with the intent that:
- Another person engages in conduct against their will;
- Another person be placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act; or
- Another person be placed in fear that the threat will be carried out
Potential Penalties for Battery in Indiana
At its foundation, battery charges in Indiana are Class B misdemeanors. Those convicted of this offense would face a potential sentence of 0-180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, as outlined in Indiana Code 35-42-2-1, there are four more forms of battery, which could result in much more serious criminal penalties. For example, in cases of battery where the victim sustained a bodily injury, the offender may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor; however, if the victim sustained moderate bodily injury that charge could be elevated to a Level 6 felony. If convicted at this level, a person would face potential penalties as serious as one year in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Under the most severe circumstances, a person may be charged with a Level 2 felony for battery in Indiana. This may only occur if the offense resulted in the death of one or more person under the age of 14 (if the offender is over the age of 18) or an endangered adult. If a person is convicted of Level 2 felony battery, they would face a prison sentence of between 10-30 years.
Other Types of Battery
Beyond the standard battery offense, there are three other types of battery charges in Indiana that a person may face. These include sexual, aggravated, and domestic battery. Sexual and aggravated battery are very serious crimes, both of which carry significant criminal penalties. Domestic battery in Indiana is an equally serious crime, however, the criminal penalties associated with a conviction for the offense can be less severe.
As defined by Indiana Code 35-42-4-8, sexual battery may occur when a person who, with the intent to arouse or satisfy their own sexual desires (or the sexual desires of another person) touches another person who is compelled to submit to the touching by force or the imminent threat of force. In addition, sexual battery may occur when, rather than being compelled to submit, the victim is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to the touching cannot be given. Finally, sexual battery may also occur when a person simply touches another person’s genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or a female breast when that person is unaware that the touching is occurring.
Sexual battery in Indiana is a Level 6 felony offense. This means a conviction for this offense could result in the offender being sentenced to up to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, a convicted individual will need to register as a sex offender in Indiana for a period of up to ten years following the end of their sentence.
- the use or threat of the use of deadly force
- while armed with a deadly weapon
- furnishing the victim, without their knowledge, with a drug or controlled substance
- while knowing that the victim had been given a drug or controlled substance without their knowledge
Under Indiana’s Sentencing Guidelines, a Level 4 felony carries incredibly harsh penalties, including up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. On top of that, under the Indiana sex offender laws in Indiana Code 11-8-8-19, those convicted of Level 4 felony sexual battery will be required to register as a sex or violent offender for the duration of their life.
Per Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5, aggravated battery occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally inflicts injury on a person that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious permanent disfigurement; protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ; or the loss of a fetus. This offense is a Level 3 felony which, for those convicted, could result in a sentence of up to 16 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
As outlined in Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.3, a person commits domestic battery as a Class A misdemeanor when they knowingly or intentionally touch a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner. It may also occur when a person places any bodily fluid or waste on a family or household member in a ruse, insolent, or angry manner.
Beyond the scope of what is described above, there are a variety circumstances under which domestic battery can be considered a felony offense. For example, if the offender has a prior, unrelated conviction for domestic battery or strangulation; or if the offense was committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old or was committed against a family or household member who is 14 years old or younger; they may be charged with a Level 6 felony. In cases like these, it’s vital that the offender retains a domestic battery defense attorney as soon as possible; as a felony conviction under the domestic battery laws in Indiana could lead to a variety of collateral consequences down the road.
Facing Battery Charges in Indiana?
If you’re facing battery charges in Indiana, it’s vital that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible. While you don’t need to resign yourself to the maximum penalties under Indiana law, these types of cases must be handled in a careful, precise manner; ideally by an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indiana who has a strong understanding of which defense strategies often lead to the optimal outcome in cases like these.
Whether you’ve been charged with an act of battery or domestic battery in Indiana, the Indiana battery offense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP stand ready to defend you. Our managing partners, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, are both former deputy prosecutors who have successfully prosecuted AND defended cases of this nature. Given this, they understand how the prosecution typically handles cases like this, and which defense avenues are the best to pursue. To speak with a defense attorney today, call 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.