Published in Criminal Law on October 2, 2015.
With Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season approaching, many are looking forward to spending time with their friends and loved ones. Unfortunately the stresses caused by the holiday season can also lead to an increase in domestic violence incidents. Domestic battery charges are typically treated more seriously throughout Indiana than standard battery. There are also federal restrictions that will prohibit someone from possessing firearms.
For a battery offense to qualify as domestic battery the two individuals involved must be married, living together as though they were married, divorced or have a child together. When deciding if a couple is living together as a married couple the trier of fact (judge or jury) has many factors to consider. They may look at how long the couple has been together, the duration of the relationship, the frequency of contact, the financial arrangement, and anything else the trier of fact thinks is important. Battery is defined by Indiana Code 35-42-2-1 as the knowing or intentional touching of another person in a rude, insolent or angry manner. This is a class B misdemeanor. If there is pain or injury it may be filed as a class A misdemeanor. If there are additional circumstances the charges can be increased to something as serious as an Aggravated Battery.
If there is a circumstance where someone would typically be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor Battery, there was pain or injury, and one of the domestic circumstances from above is met the case can be filed as a Domestic Battery. If there is no pain or injury there is no Class B Domestic Battery so there should be no charge. This charge starts out as an A misdemeanor, however, there are factors that can increase the charge to a If charges are filed Domestic Battery there are circumstances that could increase the charges up to a felony depending on other circumstances.
Circumstances that Enhance Domestic Battery to a Felony
If someone has been previously convicted of domestic battery, then the charge could be a level 6 Felony. If the domestic battery was committed in the presence of a child that is under the age of 16 years old, then it is may be a level 6 felony.
If the battery is of a more serious nature, such as causing serious bodily injury or substantial risk of death, then more serious charges such as battery resulting in serious bodily injury or aggravated battery may be charged.
If the battery is alleged to have been committed on a pregnant woman it may be charged as a level 5 Domestic battery case.
Often a victim will decide they want to take the other partner back which can lead to the alleged victim not showing up in court or for depositions. They may also become uncooperative with the prosecutor after some time has passed. A lot of times if there is no cooperation from the victim and there are not other charges or witnesses the prosecutor may not be able to prove their case and they might be forced to dismiss the charges. For this reason many prosecutor’s offices have prosecutors that only handle domestic battery cases and in some instances have victim advocates to assist with maintaining contact with victims.