There are a number of ways that battery can lead to felony charges in Indiana. The wide range of felony battery charges in the state means that any time that you are involved in an altercation there is a very real chance that it could lead to serious criminal charges. A felony battery charge carries severe criminal penalties and a felony conviction will follow you for the rest of your life.
If you’ve been involved in any sort of physical confrontation you will want to contact an experienced Indianapolis felony battery lawyer to provide you with a solid defense. Call our skilled assault and battery attorneys today at Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800 to find out how we can help you.
Definition of Battery
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 the charge can be elevated depending on the victim of the battery and the severity of any injuries that resulted from the battery.
Felony Battery if the Victim is a Public Official
Indiana law elevates battery from a misdemeanor to a felony if the act is committed against certain categories of victims. The first class of protected victims are public safety officials while the official is engaged in official duty. Under battery law, public safety officials are defined as:
- A law enforcement officer, including an alcoholic beverage enforcement officer
- An employee of a penal facility or a juvenile detention facility
- An employee of the department of correction
- A probation officer
- A parole officer
- A community corrections worker
- A home detention officer
- A department of child services employee
- A firefighter
- An emergency medical services provider
- A judicial officer
Felony Battery if Committed Against Other Protected Classes
Battery against certain individuals that are not public safety officials can also lead to felony battery charges. The other classes of victims that can turn a misdemeanor battery charge into a felony are:
- A person less than14 years of age if committed by a person at least 18 years of age
- A person of any age who has a mental or physical disability if committed by a person having the care of the person with a disability
- An endangered adult, who is defined in Indiana law to be a person at least 18 years of age who is incapable by reason of mental illness, intellectual disability, dementia or other physical or mental incapacity of managing or directing the management of the individual’s property or directing the provision of self-care
Felony Battery Based on the Degree of Injury
The degree of injury caused by a battery can also lead to felony battery charges. If the offense causes moderate bodily injury to any other person, then it will be considered felony battery. Indiana law defines “moderate bodily injury” as any impairment of physical condition that includes substantial pain. It is important to note that the law specifies an injury to any other person, not just the victim. So if a battery does not harm the victim but instead causes moderate bodily injury to a bystander it could still be considered felony battery.
While an offense causing moderate bodily injury can elevate a battery to a felony, increases in the severity of the injury serve to increase the level of the felony charge.
Felony Domestic Battery
Indiana has created a separate crime for domestic battery, which is outlined in IC 35-42-2-1.3. According to the Indiana law, domestic battery is defined as a person who knowingly or intentionally:
Touches a family member or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or
In a rude, insolent, or angry manner places any bodily fluid or waste on a family or household member
Domestic battery law functions similarly to the general battery law, as the basic offense is considered a misdemeanor but is elevated to felony domestic battery based on the victim or degree of injury. Domestic battery is considered a felony if:
- The person who committed the offense has a previous conviction for battery or a substantially similar offense
- The person who committed the offense is at least 18 years of age and committed the offense against a family member in the presence of a child less than 16 years of age, knowing that the child was present and might be able to see or hear the offense
- The offense results in moderate bodily injury to a family or household member
- The offense is committed against a family or household member who is less than 14 years of age and is committed by a person at least 18 years of age
- The offense is committed against a family or household member of any age who has a mental or physical disability if committed by a person having the care of the family or household member with a disability
- The offense is committed against a family or household member who is an endangered adult
Use of a Deadly Weapon
Both Indiana’s battery law and domestic battery law also contain a provision regarding the use of a deadly weapon. If the offense is committed with a deadly weapon a battery is considered a Level 5 felony regardless of the victim or if it caused any injury.
The most severe instances of battery are subject to Indiana’s aggravated battery law. Aggravated battery occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally inflicts injury on a person that creates a substantial risk of death or causes:
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ
- The loss of a fetus
Aggravated battery is considered a Level 3 felony, but is elevated to a Level 1 felony if it results in the death of a child less than 14 years of age when committed by a person at least 18 years of age.
Penalties for Felony Battery
The criminal penalties for felony battery depend on both the victim of the offense and the degree of injury that was caused. Because of all the potential combinations involved the level of the felony and resulting penalties can vary widely, as the charges can range from a Level 6 felony all the way up to a Level 1 felony for aggravated battery.
The lowest level felony conviction is a Level 6 felony, an example under felony battery law being a battery that is committed against a public official who is engaged in an official duty. The criminal penalties for a Level 6 felony are a prison term of between six months and 2.5 years, with an advisory prison term of one year. The law provides for a fine of up to $10,000.
The potential prison term for felony convictions increase with the level of severity, but the potential fine remains up to $10,000. Potential prison terms for the other felony levels are as follows:
- Level 5: Between one and six years, with an advisory sentence of three years
- Level 4: Between two and 12 years, with an advisory term of six years
- Level 3: Between three and 16 years, with an advisory term of nine years
- Level 2: Between 10 and 30 years, with an advisory term of 17.5 years
- Level 1: Between 20 and 40 years, with an advisory term of 30 years
How an Indianapolis Felony Battery Attorney Can Help
Situations that escalate to the point where physical contact is involved can get out of control quickly. Under Indiana law there are numerous ways that even minor physical contact can lead to a felony battery charge, meaning that one incident could change your life forever.
If you or someone you know is facing a felony battery charge, you need an experienced Indianapolis felony battery lawyer on your side. Attorney Sean Hessler is a knowledgeable Indiana criminal defense lawyer with years of experience handling felony cases. He works hard to provide his clients with the best defense possible.
Contact Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800 for a free phone consultation.