The Laws on Sexual Battery in Indiana
Sexual battery in Indiana is a very serious crime. Per the definition of sexual battery in Indiana Code, if convicted, an offender would face up to 12 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, required registration with the Indiana sex and violent offender registry, and a permanent revocation of their gun rights. However, many individuals accused of sexual battery have little understanding of the actual laws surrounding the offense or the seriousness of the penalties associated with a conviction. Therefore, it’s vital for anyone facing these charges to retain the services of an aggressive and skilled Indianapolis sex crimes lawyer.
The Indianapolis criminal defense law firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP employs a team of experienced sex crime lawyers, who fight tirelessly to protect the rights and livelihood of each client that walks through our doors. We understand just how scary and uncertain this time can be, and stand ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the best possible outcome in the case against you. To begin crafting your defense, call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation
Sexual Battery Definition in Indiana Code
The sexual battery definition in Indiana Code can be found in Indiana Code 35-42-4-8, which states that sexual battery occurs 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 when that person is compelled to submit to the touching by force or the imminent threat of force; or that person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to the touching cannot be given. An act of sexual battery also occurs when a person touches another person’s genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or a female breast when that person is unaware that the touching is occurring.
The Difference Between Rape and Sexual Battery in Indiana
Although there is quite a bit of overlap between the definitions of rape and sexual battery in Indiana, they are two separate offenses. However, whenever someone commits the offense of rape, they most likely committed the offense of sexual battery as well. Per Indiana Code 35-42-4-1, rape occurs when a person, knowingly or intentionally, has sexual intercourse with another person; or when a person intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to other sexual conduct; AND the other person is either compelled by force or imminent threat of force; unaware that the sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct is occurring; the other person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct; or the person disregarded the other person’s attempts to physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts.
Given this, it’s clear that the main difference between the rape and sexual battery definition in Indiana is that rape involves sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct, while sexual battery only involves touching or fondling another person without consent, for the purpose of arousal or to satisfy the sexual desires of themselves or another person. For example, a person had intercourse with an individual who was incapacitated due to excessive alcohol consumption, they could be charged with rape. However, if a person fondled the breasts of an individual who was incapacitated due to excessive alcohol consumption but did not engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct, they would be charged with sexual battery in Indiana.
Potential Penalties for Sexual Battery in Indiana
If one is convicted of sexual battery in Indiana, they would face a Level 6 felony. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction of this degree can result in a sentence of up to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, under some circumstances, a sexual battery conviction can be elevated. Per Indiana Code 35-42-4-8(b), if the act of sexual battery was committed using or threatening the use of deadly force; while armed with a deadly weapon; was facilitated by furnishing the victim, without their knowledge, with a drug or controlled substance; or while knowing that the victim had been given a drug or controlled substance without their knowledge, the offender would commit a Level 4 felony. In the state of Indiana, a Level 4 felony carries incredibly harsh penalties, including up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
For those charged with sexual battery, the potential penalties of being convicted may seem daunting. However, there is no reason for someone to resign themselves to the maximum sentence. An experienced, skilled Indiana sex crimes attorney could help a defendant build a strong defense argument around the topics of consent, mistaken identity, accident/mistake, false accusation, or lack of intent. If you’d like to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis who knows, understands and has experience representing those charged with sex crimes in Indiana, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Registering with the Sex or Violent Offender Registry for Sexual Battery in Indiana
In addition to the penalties mandated by the Indiana sentencing guidelines, those convicted of sexual battery in Indiana will also need to register as a sex or violent offender with the Indiana Sex or Violent Offender Registry. Although this is one of the least restrictive of the various types of sex offenders in Indiana, it still places harsh limits on where a person can live, spend time, and/or with whom they can communicate.
Furthermore, offenders who are required to register as a sex or violent offender often experience a massive hit to the reputation, limiting their social interactions and ability to find sound employment. This is due to the fact that a large amount of personal information about the offender is made public on the registry, including:
- Their name and aliases
- Current home, work, volunteer and other residential addresses
- Height, weight, eye color, hair color, and prominent features like scars, tattoos or piercings
- List of convictions
Permanent Loss of Indiana Gun Rights
Another collateral consequence of being convicted of sexual battery in Indiana is the permanent loss of one’s gun rights. The Indiana expungement and firearms laws allow most offenders convicted of a felony to restore their gun rights through expungement. However, Indiana Code 35-38-9-5 does not allow for those deemed sex or violent offender to pursue the expungement of their criminal records. Therefore, under Indiana and Federal law, they are not able to lawfully purchase, own or possess a firearm.
The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Battery in Indiana
The statute of limitations for sexual battery is dependent wholly on the circumstances of the offense. Per Indiana Code 15-41-4-2, if the victim of the offense is an adult, prosecution must commence within five years after the offense occurred. However, if the victim is a child, prosecution must commence within ten years after the commission of the offense, or within four years after the victim ceases to be a dependent of the person alleged to have committed the offense, whichever occurs later.
For offenses of sexual battery that are classified as a Level 4 felony, and would otherwise be barred due to the statute of limitations above, a prosecution may be commenced under two circumstances. First, prosecution can commence within one year after the earlier of the date on which the state first discovers evidence through DNA analysis that is sufficient enough to charge the offender. Secondly, prosecution can commence one year after the earlier of the date on which the state within one year after the earlier date on which the state could have discovered evidence sufficient to charge the offender with the offense through DNA analysis through the exercise of due diligence.
Need to Speak with a Sex Crimes Lawyer in Indiana?
If you have been accused of sexual battery in Indiana, you don’t have to face the criminal justice process alone. An Indianapolis sex crimes lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP is available to defend you and protect your rights. Our team can provide quick and decisive defense, no matter where you are in the state of Indiana. Call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’re ready to begin identifying the best course of action in the case against you.