Domestic Violence Laws in Indiana
According to Indiana Code 35-31.5-2-78, domestic violence is any offense committed against a family or household member that involves either the use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.
By law, “family or household member” applies to the following people:
- Your current or former spouse
- A person related to you by marriage, i.e., an in-law
- A person you are currently dating or have previously dated
- Your sexual or intimate partner(s)
- A person related to you by blood or adoption
- Your guardian, ward, custodian, foster parent, or similar person
- A person you have a child with
- The minor child(ren) of any person listed above, even if they are not your child
If police suspect you of harming, attempting to harm, or conspiring to harm any of the above individuals, there is a good chance you will be arrested.
Mandatory Jail Time for Domestic Violence
While in police custody for an alleged domestic violence offense, you cannot be released on bail until at least 24 hours from your arrest (IC 35-33-1-1.7). This holding period used to be only eight hours in Indiana until Act 158 was passed in 2023, that tripled the amount of time.
This law demonstrates how seriously domestic violence charges are taken in Indiana: you might spend a day or longer in jail and miss out on work and personal obligations before you even have the chance to prove your innocence.
With so many factors working against you, it is essential not to talk about the incident to the police or contact any family or household members involved. Instead, remain silent and hire a defense attorney right away.
Indiana Domestic Violence Penalties
The legal penalties for any domestic violence offense are steep. You may be facing a misdemeanor in the best-case scenario. Still, these charges can easily become a felony if you have prior offenses, cause bodily injury, commit the offense in the presence of a child, or other aggravating factors apply.
Indiana prosecutors take domestic violence cases seriously and will try to make an example of you. Depending on the severity of your domestic violence charges, you could face any of the following:
- Class A Misdemeanor: up to one year in prison and no more than $5,000 in fines
- Level 6 Felony: six months to two and a half years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 5 Felony: one to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 4 Felony: two to 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 3 Felony: three to 16 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 2 Felony: 10 to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 1 Felony: 20 to 40 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
Domestic Violence Conviction – Collateral Consequences
The negative impact of a domestic violence conviction does not begin and end with the legal penalties. Collateral consequences will likely follow you for the rest of your life. For example, a domestic violence conviction can lead to:
- Loss of your child custody rights
- Loss of your Second Amendment rights (IC 35-38-1-7.7)
- Certain bail conditions, such as a monitoring device (IC 35-33-8-11)
- Limited job opportunities
- Damage to your standing or reputation within the community