Indianapolis Battery Defense Attorney
Accused of Battery? Defend Yourself.
The act of battery is a violent offense. Not to be confused with assault—which deals with threats of violence—battery requires actual and unwanted physical contact between parties. Indiana Code 35-42-2 officially defines battery as touching another person in a manner that is considered “rude, insolent, or angry.”
This may sound like a simple charge to define in court, but under Indiana law, there are many different factors to consider when determining the seriousness of a battery charge.
If you have been charged, then it is highly recommended that you contact competent legal counsel at once. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our team of driven defense litigators also has experience as former prosecutors. We 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.
Difference Between Misdemeanor vs Felony Battery Charges
The severity of your battery charge depends on a number of different factors. Depending on these, your charge may be considered a misdemeanor or it may be considered a felony.
Key factors in determining a battery charge include:
- Whether the victims was younger than 14 years old
- Whether the victim was a police officer, corrections officer, or fireman
- Whether the victim was a school employee or a healthcare provider
- Whether the victim was in the accused’s care
- Whether the victim has a physical or mental disability
- Whether the battery results in serious bodily injury
- Whether the battery is committed with a deadly weapon
- Whether the accused is 18 years old or older
- Whether the victim is pregnant
- Whether the battery results in the death of an endangered adult
- Whether the accused has been charged with battery against the victim before
Penalties for Indiana Battery
The following are several types of battery charges in Indiana and their penalties:
- Class B misdemeanor battery – Inflicting an intentional but improper touch can lead to a Class B misdemeanor charge, which carries a maximum 180-day jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Class A misdemeanor battery – If an alleged victim sustained a bodily injury, an improper touch is a Class A misdemeanor charge, punishable by a jail term of up to one year and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. If an improper touch that resulted in no injury involves a special victim (e.g. police officer, correctional or juvenile detention employee, community policing volunteer, or state chemist), it is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
- Battery causing moderate injury or risk of infection – If an alleged victim sustained a moderate injury or if the defendant knew or should’ve known that the bodily fluid placed on the victim contained HIV, hepatitis, or tuberculosis, battery is a Level 6 felony, which carries a maximum two-and-a-half-year prison sentence and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- Battery causing serious injury – If an alleged victim sustained a serious injury (e.g. serious or permanent disfigurement, impairment or lasting loss of body part, extreme pain, unconsciousness, loss of a fetus, or otherwise any injury that leads to a significant risk of death), this type of simple battery is a Level 5 felony, punishable by a prison term of up to six years and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Aggravated battery causing serious injury – If a defendant knowingly or intentionally injured another person and the alleged victim suffers a serious injury, aggravated battery is a Level 3 felony, which carries a maximum 16-year prison sentence and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- Battery with a deadly weapon – If a defendant uses a deadly weapon (e.g. firearm, stun gun, taser, biological weapon, or dangerous animal) to commit battery, it is a Level 5 felony, no matter what type of injury an alleged victim suffered.
- Battery against protected victims – If a defendant—who has a prior battery conviction on his/her criminal record—allegedly commits battery against the same victim or against a protected victim (e.g. public safety official, child under 14 years old, a mentally or physically disabled individual, a pregnant woman, or a foster home member), the offense is considered a felony.
Legal Defenses for Battery Charges
Many individuals are surprised to be charged with battery after a minor altercation, especially when no was hurt or suffered a serious injury. Even if an alleged victim was hurt badly, there are several effective legal defenses you can use to fight battery charges in Indiana.
The following are common legal defense to battery charges:
- Self-defense – If you reasonably believed that you or another person was in imminent danger of being unlawfully touched or suffering an injury, immediate force was required to protect yourself or someone else, and you used the reasonable amount of force necessary to defend yourself or someone else.
- Accident – If the alleged batter was simply an accident and you didn’t act willfully, you could argue that you didn’t intentionally harm the alleged victim.
- Parental right to discipline – As a parent, you have the right to use physical force against your child without facing criminal charges if the force used was reasonable and no excessive in nature.
- Consent – If the alleged victim expressed consent to physical contact, you won’t be convicted of battery.
Once these key factors are identified, a battery charge can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A felony and carry a varied spectrum of penalties. A charge of domestic battery or other circumstances of your violent crime charge can also affect the possible consequences.