Even if you didn’t start a confrontation, assault and battery charges can severely damage your life. Charges include time in prison to fines and an inability to find a good job because of a violent offense on your record. From domestic violence arrests to assault and battery allegations, it is critical to work with an experienced Indianapolis assault lawyer from the very beginning.
Maybe you were the victim of mistaken identity or provoked to where you needed to defend yourself. At Hessler Law, we know what you are up against and have the successful criminal defense background you need to protect yourself and move on with your life.
Call Indianapolis criminal defense attorney Sean Hessler at (317) 886-8800 for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll explain what you’re up against and how to improve your situation.
Assault & Battery in Indiana
Although the terms assault and battery are related and sometimes used interchangeably, they are very distinct crimes. While battery is defined by Indiana Code 35-42-2 as touching another person in a “rude, insolent, or angry” manner, assault, deals with the threat of violence and is treated differently under Indiana law.
Regardless of the charge, these are serious crimes with harsh consequences:
- Time in jail or state prison
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- A permanent mark on your criminal record
- Denial of employment or affordable housing
- Loss or denial of a professional license
- Loss or denial of child custody or visitation
- Negative impact on your immigration status
- Damage to your personal and/or professional reputation
- Protection orders limiting other freedoms
Indiana Battery Charges
Battery in Indiana is committed when someone intentionally or knowingly touches another in a disrespectful or harmful way. However, causing an injury is not necessarily required. This makes the battery laws in Indiana complicated and confusing to the person charged. But the severity of an Indianapolis battery offense will depend on various factors and could be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Due to its wide-ranging definition, almost any confrontation from domestic situations to bar fights can result in a misdemeanor battery charge and serious penalties if convicted. Learn how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help.
Under IC 35-42-2-1(c), Indiana defines battery as a person who knowingly or intentionally:
- Touches another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or
- In a rude, insolent, or angry manner places any bodily fluid or waste on another person
Battery is considered a Class B misdemeanor but is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if it results in bodily injury to any other person or if it is committed against a member of a foster family home by a person who is related to the member but is not a resident of the foster family home.
Broad Definitions for Battery
Two critical elements in the crime of misdemeanor battery are the intent of the accused and the actual touching of another party. Indiana courts have a history of broadly defining both of these elements. Court decisions have established that intent for the offense of battery can be presumed simply from the voluntary commission of the act.
The standard for touching has been long established in Indiana to include not only the unlawful touching of another person by the defendant but also by any substance put in motion by the defendant. Accordingly, actions such as pushing another person into the victim or throwing water on someone would be considered battery. Even the touching of a person’s clothes would be considered battery, as Indiana courts have stated: “a person’s apparel is so intimately connected with the person that it is regarded as part of the person for purposes of the battery statute.”
Misdemeanor Battery Penalties
A battery charge that is considered a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine. Domestic battery or battery that results in bodily injury to another person is considered a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000.
When aggravating factors exist or the degree of injury warrants it, a battery charge can be heightened to felony battery. This increases the possible penalties and severity of the situation. If you are accused of such a sever offense, it is essential to work with an experienced Indianapolis battery defense attorney.
Assault-Related Offenses in Indiana
Assault is usually an attempt or threat to commit a violent act, like battery, but not in Indiana. However, this does not mean that attempts or threats are legal. In fact, these crimes can also be misdemeanors or felonies and carry serious penalties.
- Intimidation/ Threats (Indiana Code 35-45-2) – Communications with the intent to force another person to act against their will, places the person in fear, or causes a vehicle, building, or structure to be evacuated.
- Criminal Recklessness ( Indiana Code 35-42-2-2) – Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally performing acts that create a substantial risk of bodily injury. This can be heightened to a felony if the act involves the use of a deadly weapon or results in injury.
Domestic violence in Indiana is defined as aggressive or violent acts typically between spouses or domestic partners. The most common criminal charge associated with domestic violence is domestic battery. Under Indiana law, this is any intentional touching that inflicts injury to a spouse, former spouse, or another person with whom the accused has lived with or had a child.
Domestic battery is usually charged as a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $5,000. Under certain situations, the offense can also be heightened to felony domestic battery with even harsher punishments.
Work with an Indianapolis Assault & Battery Lawyer
Violent offenses like battery are serious. If you are facing charges for assault and battery in Indianapolis or anywhere in Marion County, you need a strong voice working for you. One who will fight for the best outcome possible.
An experienced defense attorney will look at all of the evidence and listen to your side of the story. From there, a skilled assault and battery lawyer will pursue a strategy that may include having the charges reduced, dismissed, or possibly taking your case to trial.