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domestic violence charges

domestic violence charges

What To Do If You Are Facing Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence crimes in Indiana include domestic battery, stalking and invasion of privacy. Of course, Indiana police and courts take domestic violence cases seriously. Therefore, if you are facing domestic violence charges, you will need an experienced Indiana domestic violence attorney.

In Indiana, domestic violence incidents can result in both the prosecutor filing criminal charges and a civil issuing a protective order, also known as a restraining order.

Additionally, the police file more criminal charges if a person violates the protective order.

What Are Domestic Violence Crimes in Indiana?

In Indiana, the law criminalizes domestic violence in several sections of the criminal code. Therefore, domestic battery pertains specifically to a crime against a family or household member.

However, other criminal statutes that don’t specifically reference domestic violence apply to both domestic and non-domestic crimes.

For instance, the police could charge harassment and kidnapping as domestic violence crimes if they occur against a family or household member.

In short, crimes of domestic violence in Indiana include incidents in which the defendant uses or attempts to use physical force or threatens to use a deadly weapon against a family member or household member.

Furthermore, a family or household member could be a current or former spouse, dating partner, or sexual partner. It could also be someone related by blood, adoption, or marriage to the defendant.

Additionally, it could be someone who shares a child with the person.

Lastly, a current or former guardian, ward, custodian, or foster parent could be considered a family or household member.

Domestic Battery in Indiana

The most common domestic violence offense in Indiana is domestic battery. Domestic battery occurs when a person intentionally touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.

In addition, a person who places bodily fluid or waste on the victim also makes commits battery.

Domestic battery is a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Notably, this offense level doesn’t require that any physical injury happen. Simply shoving, pulling hair or jabbing the victim angrily is a class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

When is Domestic Battery a Felony?

There are several instances when domestic battery becomes a felony. For instance, the offender commits domestic battery and has prior convictions for domestic battery or strangulation.

Likewise, it becomes a felony if a protection order is in place or the offender knowingly commits the battery in the presence of a child.

As another example, it is a felony if the harm results in moderate or serious bodily injury to the victim or the offender uses a deadly weapon.

Lastly, if the victim is vulnerable (has a mental or physical disability, is pregnant, or is under 14 years old) the battery is a felony.

Other Domestic Violence Crimes

There are other domestic violence crimes besides battery crimes, such as:

Violating a Protective Order

A person who knowingly or intentionally violates a protective order commits the crime of invasion of privacy. This is a class A misdemeanor. Consequently, violation of this law means penalties of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

In addition, the penalty increases to a level 6 felony if the defendant has a prior unrelated conviction for invasion of privacy. A level 6 felony carries between six and 30 months’ incarceration.

If the protective order violation involves stalking, the penalty increases to a level 5 felony offense. Stalking is the repeated or continued harassment that causes a victim to feel frightened or threatened.

A person convicted of a level 5 felony faces one to six years in prison.

Domestic Violence Animal Cruelty

Indiana law makes it a level 6 felony to kill an animal intending to threaten, harass, coerce, or terrorize a family or household member. Conviction for this crime means six months to two and a half years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.

Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Domestic Batterer

Indiana law prohibits firearm possession by a person who’s been convicted of domestic battery. Unlawful possession is a class A misdemeanor, subjecting the defendant to up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Arrest, Bail, and Firearm Restrictions for Domestic Violence Offenses

The law imposes additional consequences, such as mandatory arrest, jail holds, bail conditions, and firearm confiscation and restrictions, for domestic or family violence crimes. Domestic or family violence crimes include not only those that specify the victim is a family or household member (such as domestic battery). They also include certain crimes where a family or household member was involved. These crimes include homicide, kidnapping, sex offenses, etc.

Duties of the Police When Responding to Domestic Violence Calls

Indiana law imposes certain duties upon law enforcement officers when investigating allegations of domestic or family violence.

For example, officers must use all reasonable means to prevent further violence, including assisting the victim in gathering personal effects. Additionally, they must provide transportation for the victim and any children to a safe place to meet with a domestic violence counselor, family member, or friend.

Arrests and Jail Holds for Domestic Battery or Violence Offenses

A law enforcement officer may arrest a person when the officer has probable cause to believe the person committed a domestic battery or certain other domestic violence-related offenses. The officer can make the arrest regardless of the crime’s severity and even if they did not witness the unlawful conduct.

A jail must hold a person charged with a domestic violence crime for at least eight hours from the time of the arrest.

Bail and Pretrial Release in Domestic Violence Cases

Pretrial release conditions in domestic violence cases typically include restrictions such as ordering the offender to stay away from and not contact the victim. Judges determine the bail amount and any conditions based on a defendant’s flight risk and risk of harm to the victim and others.

Conditions may include drug and alcohol monitoring, GPS tracking, and a domestic batterer’s program.

Firearms Restrictions for Domestic Violence Arrests and Convictions

Indiana law imposes certain duties on law enforcement officials when they investigate allegations of domestic violence. Officers may confiscate firearms and ammunition when they see such weapons at the scene. They also must believe the defendant used the weapons in committing domestic violence.

Alternatively, they may take the weapon if it poses an immediate threat of serious injury to the victim.

Anyone convicted of domestic battery or a crime of domestic violence cannot possess a firearm under state law. Federal gun bans may also apply.

What Are the Defenses to Charges of Domestic Violence Crimes?

There are several defenses to the charge of domestic violence. For instance, the defendant can show that there was no intent to harm and any injuries the victim suffered resulted from an accident.

The defendant can argue that the defendant’s actions did not cause the alleged victim’s injuries.

As another domestic violence defense, a criminal defense attorney can say the defendant acted in self-defense or defense of another person.

Lastly, the defense attorneys may try to show that the victim’s allegations of domestic abuse are false.

If You Are Facing Criminal Domestic Violence Charges, You Need an Experienced Indiana Domestic Violence Attorney

Being convicted of domestic violence can be life-altering for the defendant. But we can fight domestic violence charges. Domestic violence cases, while unique in some ways, are like all criminal cases. The prosecutors must prove each element of the criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a high burden. And Indiana criminal defense attorney Alex Mendoza will hold them to that burden.

In fact, most criminal cases settle by plea bargaining. If appropriate, Alex will negotiate a plea on your case from a position of strength.

However, if he can’t strike the right deal, he’ll prepare your case for trial to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed in their entirety.

Consequently, if the police have accused you of domestic violence, contact an aggressive domestic violence attorney. Call criminal defense lawyer Alex Mendoza at (219) 200-2000 or email us for a free consultation and case evaluation.