Indiana Stalking Charge Defense for all of Central Indiana
Being charged with criminal stalking in Indiana may be an incredibly difficult and personal ordeal. It may involve very personal situations that are designed to protect victims from potential (not actual) harm. If you find yourself charged with stalking in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you should seek the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense counsel, such as Chris Eskew of Eskew Law, as soon as possible to help you achieve a favorable result.
Criminal Stalking under Indiana Statute
Under Ind. Code § 35-45-10-1, stalking is defined as knowing or intentional course of conduct consisting of two or more incidents that involves repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause him or her to suffer emotional distress and actually causes such distress. If convicted, it is usually considered a Level 6 felony punishable by up to two and a half years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $10,000 as provided by Ind. Code § 35-50-2-7.
There are certain aggravating circumstances that makes stalking a Level 5 felony punishable by a possible prison term of between one and six years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000. It includes the following:
- The offender stalks a victim and makes an explicit or implicit threat with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear of sexual battery, serious bodily injury, or death;
- A protective order to prevent domestic or family violence, a no contact order, or a workplace violence restraining order, has been issued by the court to protect the same victim or victims from the offender, and he or she has been given actual notice of the order;
- The stalking violates an order issued as a condition of pretrial release, including release on bail or personal recognizance, or pretrial diversion if the person has been given actual notice of the order;
- The stalking violates an order issued in a paternity action if the person has notice of the order;
- The stalking violates an order issued in another state, or by an Indian tribe, band, pueblo, or nation, that is substantially similar to the orders listed above if the offender has been given actual notice of the order;
- A criminal complaint of stalking that concerns an act by the offender against the same victim or victims is pending in a court and the person has been given actual notice of the complaint.
The court may consider the alleged offense a Level 4 felony punishable by a prison term lasting between two and twelve years and a fine not exceeding $10,000 if he following aggravating circumstances are present:
- The stalking was committed while the offender was armed with a deadly weapon; or
- The offender has an unrelated conviction for criminal stalking against the same victim or victims.
The definition of stalking involves harassment as conduct that may constitute stalking. Harassment is defined under Ind. Code § 35-45-10-2 as conduct that includes repeated or continuing contact, which may include intentionally pursuing or following someone, that would cause someone to suffer emotional distress and actually causes such distress.
Protective Orders, Workplace Violence Restraining Orders, and No Contact Orders
Protective orders, as described by Judicial Conference of Indiana, play a major part in many of the stalking cases prosecuted in Indiana. These are orders issued by a court to protect people from domestic or family violence, stalking or sex offenses. It requires the respondent (the accused offender) to stay away from the party requesting the order. On the other hand, a no contact order is often ordered by a judge upon a prosecutor’s request. It imposes reasonable restrictions on the activities, movements, associations, and residence of the defendant during the period of release and requires the defendant to refrain from any direct or indirect contact with the individual.
On the other hand, workplace violence restraining orders under Ind. Code § 34-26-6-6 are available to an employer if one of his or her employees is a victim of abuse, and the employer can request it even if no violence has occurred at the workplace. The employer can request this order from a court if the employee has experienced violence that occurred at the workplace or a credible threat of violence. This may include repeated incidents of following or stalking the employee to or from the place of work, entering the employee’s workplace, following the employee during work hours, or making phone calls to an employee during his or her work hours.
If you were charged with stalking in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. It is a serious charge that can result in severe penalties, in addition to the incursions to your personal matters by the state. Call Eskew Law at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form. We will review your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and help you determine your best course of action.