The Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
Domestic violence charges can bring about hefty consequences and wreak havoc on one’s life, even for those who aren’t convicted. Given this, it’s vital that anyone accused of domestic violence seeks to fully understand the scope and legal implications of allegations made against them. However, the domestic violence laws in Indiana are both nuanced and complex. Therefore, to best protect their future, a defendant should seek to hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer; one with a thorough understanding of the domestic violence laws in Indiana and a strong track record of successful litigation.
When someone is charged with a domestic violence offense, it can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. Navigating the legal system and defending oneself against domestic violence charges can be challenging, and as the date of the trial approaches, the seriousness of the potential penalties can begin to sink in. To discuss the specifics of your case and better understand how Indiana domestic violence laws apply to you, contact an Indiana domestic violence defense lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP today.
The criminal defense team at Keffer Hirschauer LLP is made up of former deputy prosecutors, who can better anticipate how the prosecution will approach the case and the strategies they may use in court. Our entire criminal defense team has a strong understanding of Indiana’s domestic violence laws and can help put you into a position where the charges against you could be reduced or dropped altogether. To speak with an Indiana criminal defense attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Indiana Domestic Violence Laws
The Indiana domestic violence laws are aimed at protecting the victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Under Indiana law, domestic violence includes physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse between household members. The following are some of the domestic violence crimes recognized under Indiana law:
- Battery under Indiana Code § 35-42-2-1
- Strangulation under Indiana Code § 35-42-2-9
- Criminal confinement under Indiana Code § 35-42-3-3
- Intimidation under Indiana Code § 35-45-2-1
- Invasion of privacy under Indiana Code § 35-46-1-15.1
- Stalking under Indiana Code § 35-45-10-5
- Sexual battery under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-8
- Rape under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-1
- Domestic battery under Indiana Code § 35-42-2-1.3
In Indiana, domestic violence is a serious crime that can result in severe consequences for the accused. For instance, at its least severe, a conviction under the Indiana domestic battery law is a Class A misdemeanor that can lead to a one-year prison term and a $5,000 fine. If the offender has a criminal history, such as a prior conviction for domestic battery, the offense is considered a Level 6 felony, which can result in a maximum prison sentence of two and a half years and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Concerns Faced by Anyone Charged under Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
Being charged with a domestic violence offense in Indiana can have significant and far-reaching implications on one’s personal and professional life. It is essential to understand the concerns faced by anyone charged under domestic violence laws in Indiana to develop a defense strategy tailored to their case to navigate the legal system smoothly.
In addition to the criminal penalties imposed for the conviction, an accused may also face significant other consequences as a result of even being charged with a domestic violence offense.
Employment and Education
Domestic violence charges can have serious implications for employment and education opportunities. A domestic violence conviction can lead to job loss, the inability to obtain a job or professional license in certain industries, and difficulty in securing student loans. Additionally, some employers may conduct background checks on potential employees, and a domestic violence conviction can significantly decrease the chances of getting hired.
A domestic violence conviction can also affect housing opportunities. Some landlords perform background checks on potential tenants, and a domestic violence conviction can lead to the denial of rental applications or eviction from current housing.
For non-citizens, a domestic violence conviction can lead to deportation or inadmissibility. Domestic violence is considered a crime of moral turpitude, and a conviction can result in the loss of immigration status or the inability to obtain citizenship in the United States.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights
Domestic violence charges can significantly affect child custody and visitation rights. Under Indiana Code § 31-17-2-8, the court considers domestic violence when making child custody and visitation decisions. A domestic violence conviction can lead to the loss of custody or visitation rights, and a protective order can restrict contact with the children. When a person is convicted of domestic violence, supervised visitation may be ordered for the convicted parent under Indiana Code § 31-17-2-8.3, and the noncustodial parent may be required to attend an intervention program before unsupervised custody will be granted.
Reputation and Stigma
An Indiana domestic violence charge has serious consequences on a person’s life and freedom, but it can also lead to social stigma and shame. The accused may experience discrimination and judgment from their community, friends, and family. The stigma and shame associated with a domestic violence charge can have significant long-term effects on one’s personal and professional life.
After a domestic violence charge, the victim may seek a protective order, which can prohibit the offender from contacting the victim or entering their home. Violating a protective order can lead to additional criminal charges and other consequences, such as incarceration and the loss of custody or visitation rights.
Defense Strategies for Cases Involving the Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
If you have been charged under one of the domestic violence laws in Indiana, it is crucial to develop a strong defense strategy to protect your legal rights to have any chance at achieving a positive outcome. The specific strategy most likely to succeed in your case depends on the facts and the parties involved. However, following are some common defense strategies that Indiana domestic violence defense attorneys may use.
One common defense strategy for domestic violence cases is self-defense. Under Indiana Code § 35-41-3-2, if you can prove that you acted in self-defense, that defense may be a sufficient basis for seeking dismissal of the protection order.
In some cases, a person may falsely accuse someone of domestic violence for various reasons, such as revenge, jealousy, or to gain leverage in a divorce or custody battle. When appropriate evidence is available, a defense attorney who is knowledgeable about domestic violence laws in Indiana may use this strategy by gathering evidence to show that the allegations are false or exaggerated.
Lack of Evidence
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the domestic violence offense. If the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to support the charges, a defense attorney may argue that there is no case to answer, and the charges should be dismissed.
Inconsistencies in Victim’s Testimony
If the victim’s testimony is inconsistent or contradicts other evidence, a defense attorney may use this to weaken the prosecution’s case. Credible evidence disputing a victim’s testimony or demonstrating that it is unreliable.
A plea bargain is a common defense strategy in domestic violence cases. A defense attorney may negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the charges, agree to a plea deal, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser offense.
Pre-Trial Diversion Programs
In some cases, a defense attorney may negotiate with the prosecution to participate in pre-trial diversion programs. These programs are designed to divert offenders away from the criminal justice system and may involve counseling, community service, and restitution. If the offender successfully completes the program, the charges may be dismissed.
Again, the defense strategy best capable of achieving success in your case will depend largely on the underlying facts and the parties involved, but just as important is your choice of defense counsel. An Indiana domestic violence defense lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer has the depth of experience necessary to craft a powerful defense strategy and fight for you throughout your case.
Strong Defense against Charges under Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
Your future is precious. However, an allegation or charge under domestic violence laws in Indiana can put it all at risk. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, want to hire an experienced and skilled defense attorney who can not only fight for you, but protect your reputation. The Indiana domestic violence defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP thoroughly investigate each case and keep abreast of changes in the law to safeguard your future. For a free consultation, call us today at (317) 648-9560 or complete our online contact form.