A domestic violence conviction in Indiana brings serious penalties and consequences, like fines and jail time or prison time. When you’re accused of battering an intimate partner or a close family member, it can mean criminal charges against you as well as a protective order from the civil court. Not to mention the stigma and damage to the reputation that comes from being accused of being an abuser or a batterer when the alleged battered victim calls for a restraining order. 

This article will discuss the basics of domestic battery cases in Indiana. If you have any questions regarding your domestic abuse case, it’s best to consult our Elkhart criminal defense attorneys. Prevent a criminal record and the accompanying punishment by fighting the allegations now with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Domestic Violence Crimes

In Indiana, domestic violence is criminalized under different sections of the law. Domestic battery is considered a crime against a family member or household member. Other criminal statutes can apply to both non-domestic and domestic crimes – trespassing, harassment, or kidnapping.

According to Indiana family law, domestic violence or family violence can be charged when a family member or a household member commits any of the following:

  • Abuses or kills an animal to threaten, terrorize, harass, or coerce another family member
  • Forces another family member to commit sexual acts under threat of harm or duress;
  • Puts a family member in a position where they fear physical harm; or
  • Causes, threatens, or attempts physical harm to another household member.

Domestic Battery

Domestic Battery You commit a domestic battery if you intentionally touch a household member or family member rudely, insolently, or angrily. A person counts as a family member or of the household if he or she is

  • a current or former guardian, ward, custodian, or foster parent.
  • someone who has a kid with the person, or
  • someone related by blood, adoption, or marriage
  • a past or present spouse, dating partner, or sexual partner

Penalties

Domestic battery counts as a Class A misdemeanor. The punishments include

  • Up to $5000 fine, 
  • Up to a year in jail.

If other crimes are involved, these penalties may be increased and may include firearm confiscation or GPS tracking for bail, among others. 

Related Crimes

The Indiana Code identifies crimes that involve family violence, which include child neglect, bigamy, intimidation, voyeurism, sex offenses, harassment, stalking, kidnapping, homicide, arson, burglary, among others. If these crimes are involved, they can increase the penalties involved for the domestic battery case. 

Domestic battery accusations are no trivial matter. Get proper legal representation by hiring our experienced Elkhart criminal defense lawyers to fight for you. Convictions of assault charges can set you back. With a criminal attorney from the Law Office of Wilson & Kinsman by your side in the courtroom, you’ll stand your best chance at preventing a conviction.

Orders of Protection

For civil protection orders, domestic violence expands to include sex offenses and stalking, in addition to those mentioned above. 

Acquiring a Protective Order

A victim – or their parent/guardian –  of domestic violence may petition the court for a protective order. 

The court may issue the order “ex parte,” which neither requires notification of the person charged with abuse nor a hearing. This can only be issued by the judge if the petition shows that the accused (AKA the respondent) has committed domestic violence.  The order may have numerous provisions, including no contact with the petitioner, surrender of the property, or vacating the home.

When the court issues an order of protection ex parte, a hearing must be held within three days of the issuance and the respondent must be notified of this hearing. If after this hearing, the court deems that the protection order is necessary, it can issue one that may last for two years. 

Violating a Protective Order

A respondent who violates the protective order will have it counted as a misdemeanor with up to one year of jail time.  If the violation involves stalking, then it can be considered a Level 5 felony, which can include up to six years in prison. If the person has a prior conviction for invasion of privacy, a violation could count as a Level 6 felony, which carries up to 30 months’ imprisonment.

If you’ve been accused of domestic battery, don’t plead guilty. A criminal record can make your life difficult from then on out. Our experienced Indiana criminal attorneys will clear your good name and protect your rights. Contact our Indiana law firm today for a personalized case evaluation!

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