Indiana Stalking Laws
The Indiana stalking laws located in Indiana Code 35-45-10 are designed to protect individuals from repeated or continuous harassment. This could include actions like following a person or showing up repeatedly, unannounced at their workplace or home without being invited or repeatedly calling, texting, or emailing a person despite being told to stop. However, under Indiana law, to qualify as criminal stalking, the actions must be directed at a specific person. Furthermore, they would need to cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened; and actually, cause the victim to feel these emotions.
If you have been charged with a felony under the Indiana stalking laws, the best course of action you can take right now would be to hire an experienced and skilled Indiana criminal defense attorney, like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our founding partners, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, are former prosecutors who have a strong understanding of both sides of the criminal justice system. They understand the local courts in Indianapolis, as well as those across the state, and have deep experience in negotiation as well as inside the courtroom.
Our firm takes a teamwork-based approach to criminal defense cases, which means that your Indiana defense attorney will have ample resources to thoroughly investigate your case, consult with experts who might also serve as witnesses, and see your case through to an optimal outcome. If you’d like to speak with one of our Indianapolis attorneys today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Indiana Code on Stalking
The Indiana stalking laws located in Indiana Code 35-45-10 define criminal stalking as a knowing or intentional course of conduct that involves the repeated or continuing harassment of another person. Furthermore, the actions taken by the offender must meet the standard of causing a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and actually cause the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened.
At the lowest level of offense, criminal stalking is a Level 6 felony in Indiana. However, the area of Indiana code on stalking states that a charge of criminal stalking can be elevated to a Level 5 felony if the offender makes an explicit or implicit threat with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear of sexual battery, serious bodily injury, or death; the offense violates a judicial order – like a protective order or no contact order; or the offense violates a condition of pre-trial release or pretrial diversion.
Furthermore, the offense of criminal stalking can be a Level 4 felony in Indiana. This can occur when the act(s) were committed by an offender armed with a deadly weapon or who had previously been convicted for criminal stalking against the same victim(s).
It’s also important to note that the article of Indiana code of stalking contains another related offense called “remote aerial harassment.” Per Indiana Code 25-45-11, this is defined as operating an unmanned aerial vehicle in a manner that is intended to subject another person to harassment. Under the Indiana stalking laws, this offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which can be elevated to a Level 6 felony if the offender has a prior unrelated conviction for this offense.
Potential Penalties under Indiana Law
Depending on the circumstances of the criminal stalking offense, a person convicted under the Indiana stalking laws could face up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a person convicted of a Level 6 felony under this law would face between 6 months to 2.5 years in prison. If that charge were elevated to a Level 5 felony, they would face between 1 to 6 years in prison. Furthermore, if the offender was armed with a deadly weapon or has previously been convicted of criminally stalking the same victim, they would be convicted of a Level 4 felony, which carries a potential sentencing range of 2-12 in prison.
Offenders who have been convicted of “remove aerial harassment,” which is a Class A Misdemeanor in Indiana, face between 0-365 days in prison and fines of up to $2,000. However, like criminal stalking, if the offender has previously been charged with a prior unrelated offense of stalking, they could be convicted of a Level 6 felony, which carries a potential sentencing range of 6 months to 2.5 years in prison.
Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions
The mere existence of a criminal record in Indiana can create tremendous burdens in one’s life. Even after successfully completing their sentence following a conviction under the Indiana stalking laws, past offenders often find themselves having to explain their criminal past to prospective employers, lenders, landlords and more; complicating otherwise normal actions like applying for a job, a car loan, or simply trying to move into a new apartment. Furthermore, those convicted of felony offenses are stripped of several, critical civil rights, including:
- The Right to Vote
- The Right to Serve on a Jury
- The Right to Own and Carry a Firearm
- The Right to Run for Public Office
However, Indiana’s expungement law could give past offenders a chance at moving forward with their lives. Indiana expungement gives Hoosiers the ability to request that the courts seal the records related to most arrests, charges, or convictions. If granted, their past conviction(s) would not show up in public records databases, and when asked if they have a criminal record, the past offender could truthfully and legally answer, “no.” In addition, under most circumstances, expungement would restore a past felon’s civil rights, once again allowing them to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office, and possess a firearm.
Don’t let your criminal past prevent you from starting a new chapter in your life. Contact the Indiana expungement lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP today by calling 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have an entire team devoted to helping guide Hoosiers through the Indiana expungement process in a precise and timely manner. Plus, we offer a money-back guarantee on qualifying expungement services—a win-win for those clients!
Millie’s Law: New Digital Stalking Law in Indiana
In April of 2023, the Indiana House and Senate both voted to adopt the conference committee bill for SB 161, also known as Millie’s Law. The purpose of this law is to outlaw the covert planting of tracking devices on a person for the purpose of stalking them. Now, SB 161 is headed to Gov. Holcomb’s office to be signed into law.
Millie’s law is named in honor of Millie Parke, who in 2021 was nearly stabbed to death by an abusive, ex-boyfriend who had stalked her by placing a GPS device inside of her car. In the aftermath of this tragic incident, several lawmakers decided to take action, introducing three State senate bills aimed at adding “Unlawful Use of a Tracking Device” to the already existing criminal code chapter containing Indiana stalking laws.
As co-sponsor State Senator Aaron Freeman told Fox59 News, “I wanted to pair this with the stalking statute which is a serious crime. It starts at a Level 6 Felony and can go to a Level 5 Felony if a person has a prior history of this.”
There are, however, some exemptions to this upcoming law. For one, it would not apply to law enforcement, people who are incarcerated, or the automotive industry. It would also not apply to situations where a person places a device on their own personal property, such as within their own car or backpack.
Finally, family members – specifically, spouses, children and grandchildren, regardless of age – are exempt from this new law as well. This means that it will still be legal to place a tracking device on your child or grandchild without their knowledge, a practice that is becoming more and more common in today’s increasingly connected world.
Need to Speak with an Attorney?
If you have questions about the Indiana stalking laws, or have been charged with criminal stalking, it’s best to speak with an experienced defense attorney in Indiana. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our team of driven defense litigators is made up of former deputy prosecutors. This means that we understand how the state will aggressively attempt to prosecute those accused of criminal stalking and what tactics can be taken to defeat them both in and out of court. If you’re looking for a high-quality, dedicated criminal defense team who can minimize your criminal penalties and protect both your rights and your future, call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.