Your best defense is a call away Harassment

Indiana Harassment Defense Attorneys

If you were arrested or charged with harassment of a spouse, roommate, or another individual, do not hesitate to contact The Criminal Defense Team. We could represent you in your case and provide the defense you need to fight the charges you face.

Harassment is a form of domestic battery that involves continued or repeated contact with another person that causes emotional distress. There doesn’t have to be bodily harm or physical contact for you to be arrested for harassment. If the victim becomes emotionally affected by the incident, you could face criminal charges.

At The Criminal Defense Team, we understand the personal, financial, and legal ramifications you can face if convicted of the crime. Harassment is a severe offense with harsh penalties, including a prison sentence. Following an arrest for harassment, you might worry about how it will affect your family, job, and reputation. The consequences can negatively impact every part of your life.

You can depend on our Indiana domestic battery defense lawyers to protect your rights and fight by your side throughout your case. We will develop a legal strategy to try to get the charges against you reduced, or the case dismissed entirely. We will be the advocate you need during this challenging time in your life.


Call The Criminal Defense Team at (317) 565-2221 for your free consultation and learn more about what we can do to secure your freedom and future.


What Is Harassment?

According to Indiana statute 35-42-2-1.3, domestic battery occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly:

  • Places waste or bodily fluid on a member of the family or household in a matter considered insolent, rude, or angry; or
  • Touches a household or family member in an angry, rude, or insolent manner.

Harassment is a type of offense that falls under the category of domestic battery. According to Indiana statute 35-45-10-2, harassment is continuing or repeated impermissible contact that would cause emotional distress to a reasonable person and actually causes the victim emotional distress.

Harassment can take various forms, including but not limited to:

  • Verbal Harassment: This includes using derogatory language, threats, insults, or offensive remarks to intimidate or demean the victim.
  • Physical Harassment: This involves physical actions intended to intimidate, harm, or violate the personal space of the victim, such as pushing, shoving, hitting, or blocking their path.
  • Sexual Harassment: This encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or offensive environment.
  • Stalking: Stalking involves a pattern of unwanted and obsessive attention or contact that makes the victim feel fearful or unsafe. This can include following the victim, surveillance, repeatedly showing up at their home or workplace, or sending unwanted gifts or messages.
  • Cyber Harassment (Cyberbullying): This form of harassment occurs online or through electronic communication channels. It includes sending threatening or abusive messages, spreading rumors or lies about the victim, impersonating the victim, or sharing private or intimate information without consent.
  • Emotional or Psychological Harassment: Emotional or psychological harassment involves behaviors aimed at causing emotional distress, humiliation, or manipulation. This can include gaslighting, manipulation, constant criticism, or isolating the victim from friends and family.
  • Discriminatory Harassment: Discriminatory harassment involves targeting an individual based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other protected characteristics. It can include derogatory remarks, exclusion, or differential treatment based on these characteristics.
  • Workplace Harassment: Workplace harassment occurs in a professional setting and can include any of the aforementioned forms of harassment. It may involve actions by supervisors, co-workers, or clients that create a hostile work environment or interfere with an individual's ability to perform their job.

Proving harassment begins with showing the defendant and victim have a special relationship. The parties involved in a special relationship can include:

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Co-parents
  • Children
  • Roommate or another member of the household
  • Parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • Intimate partners
  • Family members


 

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      Sentencing for Harassment in Indiana

      A harassment conviction can lead to various penalties depending on the severity of the crime and whether specific factors exist, such as a prior domestic battery conviction.

      Typically, harassment is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Sentencing includes:

      • Up to one-year imprisonment
      • No more than a $5,000 fine

      A harassment charge can increase to a level 6 felony if one or more of these circumstances apply:

      • You were previously convicted of strangulation or another battery offense;
      • You were at least 18 years old and committed the crime against a household or family member in the presence of a child under 16, knowing the child could have seen or heard what was happening;
      • The offense caused a family or household member moderate bodily harm;
      • You were 18 years old or older and committed the offense against a member of the household or family under 14 years old;
      • The victim is a household or family member with a physical or mental disability and in your care whether due to legal obligation or voluntary;
      • The victim is an endangered adult; or
      • The victim is a family or household member with a protection order or no-contact order against you.

      Sentencing for a level 6 felony can include:

      • Between six months and two and a half years in prison
      • Maximum of a $10,000 fine

      Harassment can become a level 5 felony if any of these factors apply to the crime:

      • The victim is a family or household member who suffered a serious bodily injury;
      • You committed the crime with a deadly weapon;
      • The household or family member who was the victim was pregnant and sustained bodily injury, and you knew about their pregnancy;
      • You have a prior conviction of strangulation or another battery crime against the same victim of the current offense; or
      • The offense caused bodily injury to an endangered adult, member of the household or family with a physical or mental disability you care for, or a minor under 14 years if you are at least 18 years old.

      level 5 felony can include these penalties:

      • Between one and six years in prison
      • Up to a $10,000 fine

      A harassment conviction can also have collateral consequences. Besides serving a prison sentence and paying an expensive fine, you could also face challenges in your daily life. Upon your release, you might experience difficulty in or be unable to perform various important life events, such as:

      • Finding a job
      • Looking for a place to live
      • Possessing or carrying a firearm
      • Obtaining a professional license
      • Applying for higher education

      The Indiana harassment defense lawyers of The Criminal Defense Team have experience defending clients facing harassment charges. We are familiar with state laws and know what it takes to prove your innocence, get the charges against you reduced to a lesser charge, or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. The defense strategy we use will depend on the circumstances of the offense and what we believe will work best.

      Common Defenses Used in Harassment Cases

      The prosecutor must prove you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is our job to discount the prosecution’s theories and find a way to instill doubt in the juror’s minds so they can’t convict you of harassment.

      The most common defenses used to fight a harassment charge include:

      • Innocence – The most basic defense is you that didn’t commit the crime. We will need to establish an alibi with evidence to prove you were nowhere near the scene of the crime when it occurred.
      • The victim lied – The victim might have made up a story about you harassing them. Sometimes, divorcing couples or family members with contentious relationships will make up lies to seek revenge or get what they want out of the situation.
      • Violation of your rights – The prosecutor might have valid evidence against you. However, if someone obtained it illegally, we could file a motion to prevent the jury from ever seeing it in court. For example, if law enforcement showed up at your home and performed an illegal search, anything they seized would not be admissible during the trial.
      • Lack of Intent – One defense is to argue that the alleged actions were not intended to harass or intimidate the victim. If the defendant can demonstrate that they had no intention of causing harm or distress, it may undermine the harassment claim.
      • First Amendment Rights – In cases involving verbal or written communication, such as speech or expression, the defendant may assert their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. However, this defense may not apply if the speech constitutes unprotected speech, such as threats or defamation.
      • Consent – The defendant may argue that the alleged victim consented to the behavior in question. This defense is often raised in cases involving sexual harassment or other forms of consensual relationships where the boundaries are disputed.
      • Mistaken Identity – In some cases, the defendant may claim mistaken identity, asserting that they were not the individual responsible for the alleged harassment.
      • Legitimate Purpose – The defendant may argue that their actions were undertaken for a legitimate purpose and not with the intent to harass. For example, if the alleged behavior occurred in the context of a workplace evaluation, performance feedback, or disciplinary action, the defendant may claim that it was justified by legitimate business reasons.
      • Lack of Evidence – Finally, the defendant may challenge the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution. They may argue that there is insufficient proof to establish the elements of harassment beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Contact Us

      If you face charges for harassment in Indiana, contact The Criminal Defense Team immediately. You need a dedicated and aggressive defense team in your corner to help you prepare a solid case. If you attempt to handle legal proceedings alone, you could end up with the maximum possible sentence.

      Call us at (317) 565-2221 right now for a free consultation with one of our Indiana harassment defense lawyers.