Indiana Harassment Defense Lawyers
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) 687-8326 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.
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
- Roommate or another member of the household
- Parent, guardian, or foster parent
- Intimate partners
- Family members
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.
A 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.
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) 687-8326 right now for a free consultation with one of our Indiana harassment defense lawyers.