Indiana Felony Battery Laws

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In Indiana, a person commits the crime of felony battery by touching someone in a rude or disrespectful way and inflicting serious injury or using a deadly weapon. Domestic battery is also a felony when the defendant has prior convictions for similar conduct or commits the offense in front of a child.

Batteries that cause injury to certain protected victims may be punished as a felony or a misdemeanor, as explained below. A battery that causes mere bodily injury (not "serious" physical injury), or that causes no injury, is a misdemeanor. For more information on these crimes, see Indiana Battery Laws.

(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.)

Aggravated Battery

Under Indiana’s laws, the crime of aggravated battery is committed by intentionally inflicting injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious and permanent disfigurement, lasting impairment of any part of the body, or loss of a fetus.

(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.5.)

The crime of aggravated battery is punished severely because the defendant intentionally inflicts injury. For example, intentionally shooting someone in the face would likely be considered aggravated battery.

Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury

In Indiana, the crime of battery causing serious bodily injury is committed by intentionally or knowingly touching another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner that results in serious bodily injury to the victim. Serious bodily injury creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious and permanent disfigurement, unconsciousness, extreme pain, loss of a fetus, or permanent or lasting impairment of any part of the body. A person engages in conduct “intentionally” if, when he engages in the conduct, it is his conscious objective to do so. A person engages in conduct “knowingly” if, when he engages in the conduct, he is aware of a high probability that he is doing so.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-31.5-2-292, 35-41-2-2, 35-42-2-1.)

For this type of battery, the defendant does not necessarily intend to inflict serious damage (as with aggravated battery), but rather intentionally engages in conduct that results in serious injury. For example, punching someone so hard that the blow resulted in unconsciousness or extreme pain would likely be considered battery causing serious bodily injury.

Battery Committed by a Deadly Weapon

Battery committed by means of a deadly weapon is also felony battery. Under Indiana’s laws, a deadly weapon is any:

  • firearm (whether loaded or unloaded)
  • taser or stun gun, or
  • other weapon (including a biological weapon), destructive device, animal, or material capable of causing serious bodily injury in the way it is used or intended to be used.

The law exempts tasers, stun guns, gas, and other devices used by law enforcement officers in the course of the officers’ official duties.

Objects such as knives or attack dogs might be considered deadly weapons if used in such a way that serious injury could result.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-41-2-86, 35-42-2-1.)

Battery Causing Bodily Injury Against Protected Victims

Indiana’s laws also punish more severely any battery that causes bodily injury (any injury, including pain) when the victim is:

  • a police officer, community policing volunteer, correctional officer or employee, firefighter, health care provider, school employee, judicial officer, or employee of the department of child services, and is engaged in official or job duties
  • a child under the age of 14 years and the defendant is 18 years or older
  • a family or household member (spouses, people who have dated, people related by blood, marriage and adoption, people who have children together, guardians, wards, custodians, and foster children), and the defendant is over the age of 18 and committed the offense in the presence of a child 16 years old or younger, knowing that the child was present and might be able to observe the offense
  • mentally or physically disabled and the defendant is a person who takes care of the victim
  • a pregnant woman and the defendant knows of the pregnancy, or
  • an endangered adult.

Endangered adults are unable to care for themselves or manage their property because of mental illness, intellectual disability, addiction, dementia, or other physical or mental incapacity.

Indiana law also punishes more severely battery causing bodily injury when the defendant has previously been convicted of battery against the same victim.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 12-10-3-2, 35-31.5-2-128, 35-42-2-1.)

Felony Battery by Body Waste

In Indiana, battery by body waste (placing blood, human waste, or another bodily fluid such as semen or saliva) is a felony if the offense is committed:

  • and results in moderate bodily injury to another
  • on a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, first responder, probation officer, judicial officer, or court or child services employee engaged in the performance of his duties
  • against a child under the age of 14 years and the defendant is 18 years or older
  • against a person of any age who has a mental or physical disability and is committed by a person having the care of the person with the mental or physical disability
  • against an endangered adult
  • by a family or household member who is at least 18 years old and in the physical presence of a child less than 16 years old, or
  • against a public official, and the defendant knew or recklessly failed to know that the bodily fluid or waste placed on another person was infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or human immunodeficiency virus.

(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.)

Felony Domestic Battery

Under Indiana’s laws, the crime of domestic battery is committed by causing bodily injury against certain relatives or romantic partners, including current and former spouses, people who live together or have lived together as spouses, and people who have children together.

Domestic battery is a felony if the defendant:

  • has prior convictions for domestic battery (in Indiana or another state), or
  • committed the offense in the presence of a child 16 years old or younger, knowing that the child was present and might be able to observe the offense.

(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.3.)

For more information on domestic violence, see Indiana Domestic Violence Laws.

Punishment

Level 1 Felony. Batteries by an adult (someone 18 years or older) against a person under 14 years old that cause death are punished by 20 to 50 years’ imprisonment and fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1.5, 35-50-2-4.)

Level 3 Felony. The following batteries are punishable by between three and 16 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000:

  • aggravated battery
  • battery by an adult (someone 18 years or older) against a person under 14 years old that cause serious bodily injury, and
  • battery against an endangered adult that results in death.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1.5, 35-50-2-5.)

Level 5 Felony. The following batteries are punishable by one to six years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000:

  • battery that causes serious bodily injury
  • battery committed with a deadly weapon
  • battery against an endangered adult that results in serious bodily injury
  • battery against a pregnant woman that causes bodily injury, and
  • the defendant has a previous conviction for battery against the same victim.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1, 35-50-2-6.)

Felony battery by bodily waste is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and anywhere from six months in jail to 50 years in prison, depending on the disease, and whether the battery results in transmission of the disease or death.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1, 35-50-2-4, 35-50-2-4.5, 35-50-2-5, 35-50-2-5.5, 35-50-2-6.)

Felony domestic battery is a Level 6 felony, punishable by between six months in jail and 30 months in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1.3, 35-50-2-7.)

Battery causing bodily injury to a protected victim is a Level 6 felony, but the judge may reduce the conviction to a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in a jail and a fine of up to $5,000), so long as the defendant has not had a prior felony conviction reduced in the past three years. The judge must state, on the record, the reason for reducing the felony conviction to a misdemeanor.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-2-1, 35-50-2-7.)

Getting Legal Advice and Representation

Being charged with a felony battery crime can result in serious consequences, including a prison sentence, a fine, and a criminal record. Or, most likely with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed, or obtain a not guilty verdict or a lighter sentence than the maximum allowed by law. An Indiana criminal defense attorney will be able to tell you how your case is likely to fare in court, help you navigate the criminal justice system, and make the strongest arguments on your behalf.

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