Whenever families get stuck with each other for an increased amount of time, reports of domestic violence increase. They rise sharply every year over the holidays, and they’ve risen sharply recently as more couples have found themselves trapped together.
Stay at home orders have placed a great deal of strain on relationships across the United States. Couples in Indiana have suffered as much as anyone. In many cases, their strain has erupted into threats or violence. In others, the strain may lead to heated arguments and calls to the police, and people may find themselves facing charges even if they never committed a crime.
What does Indiana law say about domestic violence?
The Indiana criminal code does not have an entry for “domestic violence.” Instead, the definition of domestic and family violence is rooted in Indiana family law. The term covers most things commonly thought of as domestic violence, including:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Even though “domestic violence” isn’t listed as a crime, most of these elements are. The criminal code accounts for intimidation and sex crimes, and it has an entry specifically for domestic battery. According to the Indiana criminal code, domestic battery is any action that involves:
- Touching or striking a member of your family or household in a “rude, insolent, or angry manner”
- Covering someone with bodily fluids or wastes in a “rude, insolent, or angry manner”
You don’t need to hit someone, break bones or leave a bruise. The law looks at domestic battery as a combination of intention, contact and attitude. This means that if your spouse calls the police, you can easily find yourself facing an arrest. And once the police take you in, the matter is beyond your spouse’s control. It’s up to the prosecutor.
Among other things, this means if your argument gets hot enough that your spouse or partner calls the cops, your spouse may not be able to say it was a mistake. Even if your spouse changes his or her mind, you may still need to defend yourself from the charges. In the case of domestic battery, the crime starts as a misdemeanor. But the charges can quickly become more serious if the scene involved weapons, injuries or various other factors.
Avoiding further harm
Most of the time people report domestic violence, they have good reason. But there are also times when people call in the police even though no one’s committed a crime. These calls are unfortunate because they can lead to bigger problems. Once the police get involved, the matters not always in your hands or your partner’s.
At Kammen & Moudy, our attorneys understand that the police don’t always investigate reports of domestic violence as well as they should. They may misunderstand a situation or jump to conclusions. But their reports and the subsequent charges can dramatically affect your life. That’s why we work hard to question every detail, get the full story and make sure you have a fair shot at real justice.