Laws on Felony Intimidation in Indiana
The laws on felony intimidation can be found in Indiana Code 35-45-2. This chapter of criminal code defines the offense of intimidation, as well as other offenses related to communications, including harassment, unlawful disclosure, and interference with reporting a crime. This post will examine the laws on intimidation in Indiana, and briefly cover the other offenses found in this chapter of the law.
If you have already been charged with felony intimidation in Indiana, or a related offense, the Indiana criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP stand ready to assist in your defense. Our firm is led by Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, two former deputy prosecutors who have experience with both sides of the criminal justice system. This means they understand how the prosecution handles and approaches cases of this nature and are well-equipped to develop a solid defense strategy aimed at securing the best possible outcome for their clients.
If you’d like to speak with an experienced Indiana defense attorney today, contact the Indianapolis law office of Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Felony Intimidation in Indiana
While there are a handful of laws on felony intimidation in Indiana, it’s important to first understand what actions would constitute the commission of Class A misdemeanor intimidation. First, a person may commit an act of misdemeanor intimidation if they communicate a threat with the intent that another person engages in conduct against their will. For instance, it could be considered an act of intimidation for someone to say, “Walk into that building right now, or your life is over!” and the person being instructed to enter the building does not want to enter the building. Second, a person may commit misdemeanor intimidation if they communicate a threat with the intent that another person be placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act. An example of this type of threat would be if someone approached a person who had previously alerted police to criminal activity in an area and said, “I’m going to kill you for that.”
Furthermore, a person may be charged with misdemeanor intimidation if they communicate a threat with the intent of interfering with the occupancy or causing the evacuation of a vehicle, dwelling, building or other structure. For example, it may be an act of intimidation to enter a store and say, “Everyone has one minute to leave the store, and whoever is still left doesn’t value their life!” Finally, a person could be charged with misdemeanor intimidation in Indiana if they communicate a threat with the intent that another person be placed in fear that a threat will be carried out. For the purposes of this specific definition of intimidation, threat shall be taken to mean:
- Unlawfully injury the person threatened or another person, or damage property
- Unlawfully subject a person to physical confinement or restraint
- Commit a crime
- Unlawful withhold official action, or cause such withholding
- Unlawfully withhold testimony or information with respect to another person’s legal claim or defense, except for a reasonable claim for witness fees or expenses
- Falsely harm the credit or business reputation of a person
- cause the evacuation of a dwelling, a building, another structure, or a vehicle
Under the Indiana sentencing guidelines, a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor could face up to one year in prison and fines of up to $5,000. To many, these penalties may seem rather harsh. However, as with any criminal offense, the best outcomes in cases like these are often secured by hiring the best Indiana criminal defense attorney possible. To speak with one today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Indiana Code on Felony Intimidation
The laws in Indiana Code on felony intimidation state that under certain circumstances a person could be charged with a Level 5 or 6 felony for committing this offense. These are both very serious charges, and a conviction could result in hefty fines, years of incarceration, and collateral consequences that could impact an offender for years beyond the end of their sentence. Under the Indiana sentencing guidelines, the sentencing range for a Level 6 felony is between 6 months and 2.5 years, while the range for a Level 5 felony is between 1 and 6 years. Furthermore, individuals convicted at this level would have to carry the burden of a criminal record for at least 8 years after the date of their conviction, before they may even petition for felony expungement in Indiana.
Per Indiana Code 35-45-2-1(b), an act of intimidation may be a Level 6 felony offense if the threat is to commit a forcible felony or the subject of the threat (or the person to whom the threat is communicated) is a witness (or spouse or child of a witness) in any pending criminal proceeding against the person making the threat. In addition, a person may be charged with a Level 6 felony if the threat was communicated because of (or in connection with) the occupation, profession, employment status or ownership status of the person who threatened. Finally, intimidation may be a Level 6 felony if the offender had a prior, unrelated conviction for intimidation involving the same victim or the threat was communicated using property, including electronic equipment or systems, of a school corporation or other government entity.
Under Indiana Code 35-45-2-1(c), a person may be charged with intimidation as a Level 5 felony if while committing the act of intimidation they drew or used a deadly weapon. In addition, one may be charged with a Level 5 felony if the subject of the threat (or the person to whom the threat was communicated) is a judicial officer, bailiff of any court, a prosecuting attorney, or a deputy prosecuting attorney, and the threat was made in connection with the person’s official duties. Finally, intimidation may be a Level 5 felony if the threat was to commit terrorism or made in furtherance of an act of terrorism.
Other Communication Offenses in Indiana
Alongside the laws in Indiana Code on felony intimidation are several other related offenses, including harassment, unlawful disclosure, and interference with reporting a crime. While none of these offenses are as serious as intimidation, they are still criminal acts and thus carry serious criminal penalties.
Indiana Code on Harassment
As stated in Indiana Code 35-45-2-2, a person who, with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another but with no intent of legitimate communication commits harassment, a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, the offender could face penalties as serious as 180 days in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
It’s important to understand that harassment can only occur via telephone (regardless of whether or not conversation ensues), computer network, telegraph, mail or other forms of written communication. It may also occur when a person transmits an obscene message (or indecent/profane words) on a citizen’s radio service channel or through a computer network, as well.
For the purposes of this law, a message shall be deemed obscene if an average person, applying contemporary community standards, finds that the dominant theme of the message, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex; refers to sexual conduct in an offensive way; and lacks serious artistic, literary, political, or scientific value.
Indiana Code on Unlawful Disclosure
The law in Indiana code on unlawful disclosure can be found in Indiana Code 35-45-2-4. Under this law, an employee of a telegraph company cannot knowingly or intentionally disclose the contents of a message, sent or received, to any person except for the sender or receiver of the message, or an authorized agent of either person. In addition, an employee of a telephone company may not, knowingly or intentionally, disclose the contents of a conversation over a line of the company. If a person is found to be in violation of this law, they may be charged with a Class A infraction. Under Indiana Code 34-28-5-4, a conviction of this nature could result in a judgment for up to $10,000 being entered against the offender.
Indiana Code on Interference with the Reporting of a Crime
The laws in Indiana code on interference with reporting a crime can be found in Indiana Code 35-45-2-5. Under these laws, a person (whose intent is to commit, conceal, or aid in the commission of a crime) may not knowingly or intentionally interfere with or prevent an individual from using a 911 emergency telephone system; obtaining medical assistance; or making a report to a law enforcement officer. If a person is believed to have committed this crime, they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Charged with Felony Intimidation in Indiana?
If you’ve been charged with felony intimidation in Indiana, do not hesitate to call the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. While we are based in central Indiana, our criminal defense lawyers routinely work all throughout the state of Indiana and are passionate about protecting the rights and freedoms of Hoosiers, regardless of the circumstances at hand.
If you want an Indiana defense attorney who is invested in securing the best possible result in the case against you – whether that be dismissal, reduction of charges or a not-guilty verdict – call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.