What You Need to Know About Domestic Violence in Indiana

In Indiana, there can be severe penalties for domestic violence. Here’s everything you need to know about Indiana’s domestic violence law and resources.

Most domestic violence cases involve domestic battery. Domestic battery is battery against a family or household member. But other domestic violence cases, like harassment or stalking, are not specific to domestic violence alone and can occur in non-domestic settings. In Indiana, domestic violence can result in both criminal and civil repercussions for the offender.

What is Domestic Violence in Indiana?

Indiana law defines domestic violence as when an individual uses or attempts to use physical force against a household or family member.

Domestic violence can also take the form of:

  • Threatening to use a deadly weapon against a family or household member.
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm
  • Stalking a family or household member.
  • Committing a sex offense against a family or household member.
  • Harming an animal to threaten or harass a family or household member.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Indiana

In Indiana, family or household members include:

  • A current or former spouse, dating partner, or sexual partner.
  • Someone related by marriage, blood, or adoption.
  • Someone who shares a child with the person.
  • Or, a current or former custodian, guardian, ward, or foster parent.

Indiana Domestic Battery Criminal Penalties

Domestic battery is when an individual intentionally touches a family or household member in an aggressive, angry, or hostile manner. The victim suffering domestic battery does not need to sustain bodily injury to prove the battery occurred. The act itself occurring is enough for a criminal conviction.

If a domestic violence conviction consists of domestic battery, the court rules the crime as a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor results in a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Here are the circumstances in which domestic battery becomes a felony:

  • The offender has prior domestic battery or strangulation convictions.
  • The offender violates someone’s protection order.
  • The offender knowingly commits the offense in the presence of a child.
  • The harm inflicted results in moderate to serious bodily injury.
  • The offender uses a deadly weapon.
  • Or, the victim is particularly vulnerable. Particularly vulnerable individuals include those under 14, the mentally or physically disabled, and the pregnant.

When the domestic battery is a felony, it can range from a level six felony to a level two felony. If the domestic battery is a level six felony, the court sentences the offender to 6-30 years of prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the domestic battery is a level two felony, the court sentences the offender to 10-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Indiana Orders of Protection

If you are a victim of domestic violence, Indiana allows you to file for an order of protection, or restraining order, against your offender.

The court can issue an ex parte order of protection as soon as you file the petition for an order of protection. Once the ex parte order is served to the offender, you or your offender have 30 days to request a hearing. If no hearing is requested, the ex parte order will last for two years from the date it was given. Ex parte orders cannot be issued based on harassment alone.

Courts issue final orders of protection after the hearing in which you and your offender will present evidence at. Courts can still issue final orders even if the offender is not present at the hearing, as long as the offender was notified of the hearing. Final orders last two years but can be extended upon request.

How to File for an Indiana Restraining Order

You can obtain an order or protection in these five steps:

  1. Go to your county courthouse and file a petition for a restraining order. You may also file the petition in the county the offender lives in, or the county where the domestic violence occurred.
  2. Fill out the petition for an order of protection and the confidential form. Click here to view the forms.
  3. The court will hold an ex parte hearing. The judge may ask you questions after reviewing your forms.
  4. Law enforcement will serve copies of the petition, ex parte order, and notice of hearing to the offender.
  5. The offender may request a hearing for a final order of protection. You may have to prove the offender committed domestic violence and you need protection.

Related: Types of Divorce: What Are My Divorce Options?

Can You Sue Someone for Domestic Violence?

Yes, you may file a lawsuit against a domestic violence offender based on any injury you sustained, including bodily injury and emotional distress. Indiana small claims court allows you to recover damages up to $10,000, and you may not need an attorney.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Indiana Domestic Violence Law & Resources, get your free consultation with one of our Domestic Violence Attorneys in Indiana today!