If you’ve been accused of committing a crime of violence in Indiana, you may be facing stiff penalties. The nature of the alleged crime, the harm done and how it was committed can impact what sentence could be enforced. No matter the allegation, defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and it’s the prosecution, not the defense, who has the burden of proof. If you are facing these kinds of charges you need to talk to an attorney so you can decide what you should do next.
There are many statutes that cover criminal acts which resulted in the death or injury of a person or involve threatening violence. Here are some of them.
Indiana Murder Charges
Murder is generally the intentional, unlawful taking of another’s life. Indiana has one murder statute (there’s an intent to kill) and manslaughter laws for voluntary manslaughter (killing someone during the “heat of passion”) and involuntary manslaughter (killing another by accident). The possible penalties for murder in the state vary according to the circumstances of the incident, including the ages of the alleged perpetrator and victim, and how the victim was murdered.
There are many potential defenses in a murder case. Innocence, if believed by the judge or jury, would result in a not-guilty verdict. There are partial defenses, such as self-defense or intoxication, where there’s an admission the defendant caused the death but under circumstances showing a murder charge is not appropriate. The incident may have been manslaughter. Or there may have been mitigating factors that should be considered at sentencing.
The death penalty can be issued if a person is found guilty of murder and the facts warrant it. In murder cases, there are two phases to a trial. The first is to determine whether the defendant is guilty. If there is a guilty verdict, the next issue is sentencing. During the sentencing hearing, there could be evidence presented showing aggravating factors that could justify a death penalty or mitigating factors which should lead a judge or jury to decide against the death penalty.
Indiana Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
Voluntary manslaughter could be a charge if a person intentionally kills another while acting out of passion or anger without having the time to calm down. It could apply in cases where the killing is caused in situations that arouse emotional excitement so intense (considered “sudden heat”) that a reasonable person would have acted the same way. If the accused had time to think about the situation and cool off before the killing occurred, it would be considered a murder.
Circumstances where this type of charge may apply would be where one is defending oneself against an attacker but overreacts and kills the other person, or when a person discovers his or her spouse having sex with another and kills one or both people. If time passes after the discovery and the aggrieved spouse takes time to prepare for the killing and commits it, that could be a murder charge.
Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by ten to thirty years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indiana Sex Crime Charges
Intentional sexual contact with a child or a non-consenting adult, whether rape or touching the person’s body for sexual arousal, is a crime in Indiana. Potential penalties vary depending on whether the alleged incident included violence, a threat of force, the use of weapons to threaten the victim, other “aggravating” factors, and the ages of the victim and defendant. Aggravating circumstances can increase penalties if the defendant is found guilty.
Under Indiana law, it’s a crime to rape (to have oral, anal or vaginal sex or penetrate the genitals or anus of another with an object by force, threat of force, or while the person was incapacitated due to mental disability or unconsciousness). Rape is a lower level felony than aggravated rape, which involves using deadly force or a weapon, causing serious bodily injury to the victim, or the use of “date rape” drugs.
Sexual battery is the touching of another to sexually arouse yourself or the victim by use of force, threat of force, or when the victim is so mentally disabled that he or she is unable to consent. Sexual battery is also touching a person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts when the person is unaware it occurred.
Innocence, insanity and consent are possible defenses if the alleged victim was over the age of consent (16), was conscious and wanted the sexual contact. Consent can be a defense to limited statutory rape cases where the alleged victim and the accused are around the same age. Consent can’t be a defense if the alleged victim is a child or a person with intellectual disabilities so severe he or she can’t consent to sexual acts.
The possible penalties range for these sex crimes range from two to forty years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indiana Battery Charges
Battery is a non-consensual touching, which could be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor. Batteries causing serious injury or committed with a deadly weapon are felonies. It would be a misdemeanor if the touching is intentional or knowing in a rude, insolent or angry way. If it results in a physical injury (any impairment of the person’s physical condition, including pain, a bruise or burn), a misdemeanor battery will be punished more severely.
Domestic battery under Indiana is one that causes bodily injury to certain relatives or romantic partners, including current or former spouses, people who live together or have lived together as spouses, and people who are parents.
Battery causing injury and domestic battery are punishable by up to one year of incarceration and fine of up to $5,000.
If you’re facing these kinds of charges, we can help.
We know how the Indiana criminal justice system operates and how to use the unique circumstances of each case to develop a thorough defense strategy that takes advantage of every opportunity for case dismissal, reduction of charges, reduction of sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment. Let us plan the aggressive defense that you will need. To get more information and explore your options, contact McNeely Stephenson today by calling 812-725-8224 or by filling out our online form. The initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Whatever the specifics of your case, we are relentless in fighting for you.