A Look at Indiana’s Domestic Violence Laws

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With all the media attention from the NFL focusing on the issue of domestic violence, this blog takes a timely look at the domestic violence criminal laws in Indiana.  For those suffering from domestic abuse for numerous resources to assist victims of domestic violence.

In Indiana domestic related abuse is a separate charge.  To qualify as a domestic violence the two individuals involved must be related as either spouse, former spouse, living or having lived as spouses, or having a child in common.  To determine if a couple is living as spouses the court is required to consider the duration of the relationship, the frequency of contact, the parties financial interdependence, whether the two are raising children together, whether the two engage in activities toward maintaining a common household, and any additional factor the court deems appropriate.  If one of those relationships exists then what would otherwise be a regular battery charge, is now elevated to domestic battery.

A domestic violence charge is under battery which is defined as someone knowingly or intentionally touching another person in a rude, insolent or angry manner.  Then if one of the above listed forms of relationships exist, it is charged as domestic violence.   This charge starts out as an A misdemeanor, however, there are factors that can increase the charge to a felony.
First, if a defendant has a prior conviction for domestic battery either in Indiana or out of another jurisdiction, then the charge will be a level 6 Felony.  Additionally, if the domestic battery was committed in the presence of a child that is under the age of 16 years old, then it is also a level 6 felony. If the battery is of a more serious nature, such as causing serious bodily injury or substantial risk of death, then more serious charges such as battery resulting in serious bodily injury or aggravated battery may be charged.  See our  blog on general battery charges for more information on those charges.

Domestic battery cases are a real challenge for the prosecution.  Due to the nature of the relationships involved in domestic battery cases, the victims many times become uncooperative with the prosecutor after some time has passed.  Without the cooperation of the victim, if there are not other witnesses, many times the prosecutor can’t prove their case and they are forced to dismiss the charges.  For this reason many prosecutor’s offices have prosecutors that only handle domestic battery cases and in some instances have victim advocates to assist with maintaining contact with victims.

Banks & Brower is a law firm located in central Indiana handling cases in Indianapolis, central Indiana and throughout the state of Indiana.  If you have any questions about your legal situation contact our Indianapolis domestic violence lawyers today at 317-870-0019.