New Law on Domestic Violence in Indiana
On April 20th, 2023, Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, signed Senate Bill 158 into law. This new law on domestic violence in Indiana aims to provide better protection to survivors by extending the current cooling-off period for domestic violence crimes from 8 hours to 24 hours. This would give victims more time to separate themselves from the individuals causing harm, make necessary arrangements and seek assistance from victim service providers and violence detectives.
However, this new law is not without controversy. Some organizations, like the Indiana Public Defenders Council, worry that holding a person accused of domestic violence in jail for 24 hours, especially if they are innocent, could have serious detrimental effects on their life. Furthermore, they raise issue with the law implementing a blanket extension of jail time, rather than handling these cases on a case-by-case basis.
If you have been arrested or charged under Indiana’s domestic violence laws, the first thing you should do following the cool-off period is call an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we employ a team of driven defense litigators many of whom have experience as former prosecutors. This means they know how the state will aggressively attempt to prosecute those accused of these offenses and what tactics can be taken to defeat them both in and out of court. We utilize a teamwork-based approach to cases of domestic violence in Indiana. This means that your Indiana defense attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP will have the resources to thoroughly investigate your case, consult with experts who might also serve as witnesses, and see your case through to the best possible outcome.
Whether you have questions about the new domestic violence law in Indiana or would simply like to speak with an attorney today, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
The domestic violence laws in Indiana are aimed at protecting the victims of domestic violence and holding offenders accountable for their actions. Per Indiana Code 35-31.5-2-78, domestic violence is an offense or the attempt to commit an offense that contains an element of the use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon and is committed against a family or household member.
Common Crimes Defined as Domestic Violence
- 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
- Interference with the reporting of a crime under Indiana Code 35-45-2-5
- 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
- Domestic violence animal cruelty under Indiana Code 35-46-3-12.5
In Indiana, domestic violence is a serious crime that carries serious penalties. For example, at a minimum, 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, like a previous conviction for domestic battery, the offense can be elevated to 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.
Collateral Consequences for Convicted Domestic Violence Offenders
Furthermore, those convicted of domestic violence often encounter significant and far-reaching collateral consequences that impact their personal and professional lives. For instance, the mere existence of a domestic violence conviction on one’s criminal record may prevent a person from obtaining sound employment or a professional license in Indiana. It could also impact a person’s ability to find quality housing or secure a much-needed loan.
Per Indiana Code 35-47-4-7, those convicted of a crime considered to be domestic violence are also perpetually prohibited from possessing a firearm, even if convicted of a misdemeanor offense. If the offender is caught with a firearm following a domestic violence conviction, they could face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Furthermore, the laws on Indiana expungement and firearms state that anyone with a domestic violence conviction on the criminal record cannot restore their right to possess and carry a firearm through expungement, but instead must petition the court for a restoration of their rights to possess a firearm. However, this process can be very complicated and often requires the help of an experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer with a deep understanding of your firearm possession and carry rights.
The New Law on Domestic Violence in Indiana
The new law on domestic violence in Indiana, which goes into effect on July 1st, 2023, amends Indiana Code 35-33-8-6.5. Previously, this law stated that “The court may not release a person arrested for a crime of domestic violence on bail until at least eight (8) hours from the time of the person’s arrest.” However, the new law changes eight (8) hours to 24 hours. This means that following an arrest, a person charged with domestic violence will need to spend an entire day in holding prior to being set for bond or released on pretrial release. However, a suspect with an Indiana no-contact order cannot be released until they are served with the order by the court.
The intended purpose of this new law on domestic violence in Indiana is to provide the victim with more adequate time to collect themselves following the incident and make the necessary arrangements to remove themselves from the individual causing them harm. Furthermore, the new law hopes to provide victims with more time to seek out assistance from victim service providers and provide law enforcement with more details regarding the offense.
In addition to extending the “cooling-off” period for suspects of domestic violence, Senate Bill 158 also added three new criminal charges to the list of offenses that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms. Come July 2023, Indiana Code 35-47-4-5 will include attempted murder, strangulation, and human trafficking as convictions that deem a person to be a serious violent offender in Indiana. Furthermore, the bill amended Indiana’s invasion of privacy law located in Indiana Code 35-46-1-15.1. Previously, under this law, a person who committed invasion of privacy could only have their charge elevated from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony if they had previously been convicted of invasion of privacy. Now, an invasion of privacy charge can be elevated if the person either has been previously convicted of invasion of privacy OR has been previously convicted under the Indiana stalking laws located in Indiana Code 35-45-10-5.
Further Questions About Domestic Violence in Indiana?
If you have questions about the new domestic violence laws in Indiana, or have been charged with domestic violence, it’s highly recommended that you seek experienced counsel. You’ll want to have a skilled Indiana defense attorney who is willing to fight for you and protect your reputation. The Indiana domestic battery defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP thoroughly investigate each case and keep up to date with all changes to the law. To speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.