Indiana domestic violence laws apply when a crime involves a domestic relationship. The offense may be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the offender’s prior record and the circumstances. Understanding domestic battery charges are an important part of preparing an appropriate criminal defense.
Indiana domestic battery laws
Indiana law 35-42-2-1.3 prohibits domestic battery. The law defines an offense as intentional touching in a rude, insolvent or angry manner causing injury. The parties must have a domestic relationship. However, the parties don’t have to be married for a domestic relationship to exist under the law. Qualifying relationships include:
- A spouse
- Live-in partners
- Children in common whether or not the parties are living together
Generally, domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted. By contrast, general assault and battery is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. If an offender has a prior conviction, domestic battery is a class D felony offense.
Defending against domestic battery laws
If you’re facing a domestic battery charge, it’s important to fight the allegations. A domestic violence conviction may result in significant jail time, loss of employment, hefty fines and a criminal record that follows you for life. However, you have a right to a trial. Domestic battery charges often hinge on the credibility of witnesses. A criminal defense strategy may question witnesses and challenge the strength of the state’s case on each element. If the jury votes to acquit, you do not receive penalties or a criminal conviction on your record.
Understanding domestic battery charges
When you understand domestic battery charges, you can better fight the charges against you. The state must prove each element of the charges, including the existence of a domestic relationship and offensive touching. You have the right to make questioning state witnesses, calling witnesses and arguing your case to the jury part of your defense strategy.