Indiana Sexual Battery Laws

Rape and sexual battery carry harsh felony penalties that can land an offender in prison for years.

In Indiana, it is a crime to engage in sexual conduct with a person by force or when the victim is unaware of what is happening or is unable to consent. Depending on the conduct involved, the crime may be classified as sexual battery, rape, aggravated sexual battery, or aggravated rape.

Indiana provides felony penalties for these sex crimes with increasing penalties for crimes involving harm, weapons, or vulnerable victims. (Although not discussed here, Indiana also imposes increased penalties for sex crimes involving minors.)

Sexual Battery

In Indiana, a person commits sexual battery by touching a victim in order to arouse or satisfy their own or another person’s sexual desires:

  • by use of force or threat of force
  • when the victim is unable to consent due to a mental disability, or
  • when the victim is unaware of the touching.

For example, forcibly fondling a person’s breasts would be considered sexual battery, as long as the fondling was sexually motivated. Fondling people while they sleep could also be considered sexual battery.

A person who commits sexual battery faces a Level 6 felony, punishable by six to 30 months’ incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code §§ 35-42-4-8; 35-50-2-7 (2020).)

Battery. An offender who causes bodily harm to a victim may also face battery charges. For more information, see Indiana Battery Laws and Indiana Felony Battery Laws.

Rape

Under Indiana’s laws, a person commits the crime of rape by having sexual intercourse with another person or by causing another person to perform or submit to sexual conduct:

  • through the use of force or threat of force
  • when the victim is unaware that sexual intercourse is occurring, or
  • when the victim is unable to consent because of a mental disability.

For example, forcing a person to have sex under the threat of physical harm is rape, as is having sex with a person who is so intoxicated that the person does not know what is happening.

Rape is a Level 3 felony, punishable by three to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code §§ 35-42-4-1; 35-50-2-5 (2020).)

Aggravated Sex Crimes

Rape and sexual battery are punished more severely if the defendant:

  • uses or threatens to use deadly force
  • is armed with a deadly weapon, or
  • gave the victim drugs, or knew that the victim had been given drugs, without the victim’s knowledge.

Rape is also punished more severely if the crime results in serious bodily injury to any person other than the defendant.

For example, any defendant who commits a sex crime while armed with a knife will be punished more severely, as will any defendant who seriously injures the victim.

Aggravated sexual battery is a Level 4 felony, punishable by two to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated rape is a Level 1 felony, punishable by 20 to 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code §§ 35-42-4-1, 35-42-4-8; 35-50-2-4, 35-50-2-5.5 (2020).)

Sex Offender Registration

People in Indiana who are convicted of rape or sexual battery are required to register as sex offenders for at least ten years after being released from confinement. Many offenders are required to register for life. Registered sex offenders must provide personal information and a photograph to local police and must sign a consent form allowing law enforcement officers to search their computers at any time.

(Ind. Code §§ 11-8-8-4.5, 11-8-8-7, 11-8-8-8, 11-8-8-19 (2020).)

Obtaining Legal Advice and Representation

Being convicted of a sex crime carries serious consequences. If you are charged with rape or sexual battery, consult with an Indiana criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Victims can find a list of resources on our Victim Resources page. Among the resources listed is RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country.

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