Indiana Assault Laws

The crime of assault is often misunderstood and confused with the crime of battery, since the two often are charged together (and they are also civil torts). While battery consists of the unwanted touching of another without their consent that is either harmful or offensive, assault is an attempt or a threat to commit battery. Most states have both assault and battery laws in their criminal statutes, but Indiana is unique. Indiana assault laws are not found in the criminal code with the term "assault," but that hardly means assault is legal in the state.

Indiana Assault Laws at a Glance

Details about Indiana's assault laws, or rather those statutes which cover the crime using other terminology, can be found in the following chart.

Statutes
  • Indiana Code Section 35-45-2-1 (intimidation / threat)
  • Indiana Code Section 35-42-2-2 (criminal recklessness)
  • Indiana Code Section 35-42-2 et seq. (criminal battery)
Classifications of the Offenses

Intimidation / Threat: Class A misdemeanor; Level 6 felony if threat is to commit forcible felony or communicated to a police officer, witness in a trial, etc. (see statute for complete list).

Criminal Recklessness: Class B misdemeanor; Level 6 felony if committed while armed with a deadly weapon ; Level 5 felony if committed by shooting a gun into a dwelling where people are likely to gather.

Battery: Class B or Class A misdemeanor (depending on various criteria); Level 6 felony if battery results in moderate bodily injury, is committed against someone under the age of 14, etc. (see statute for complete list).

Note: While battery and assault are different, a charge for battery in Indiana may include elements of assault (causing fear and apprehension, etc.).

Penalties

Intimidation / Threat: Up to 1 yr. in jail, up to $5,000 in fines (Class A misdemeanor); between 6 months and 2 1/2 yrs. in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (Level 6 felony).

Criminal Recklessness: Up to 180 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines (Class B misdemeanor); between 6 months and 2 1/2 yrs. in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (Level 6 felony); between 1 and 6 yrs. in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (Level 5 felony).

Battery: Up to 180 days (Class B misdemeanor) or 1 yr. (Class A) in jail, up to $1,000 (Class B misdemeanor) or $5,000 (Class A) in fines; between 6 months and 2 1/2 yrs. in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (Level 6 felony).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Intimidation / Threat Offenses Under Indiana Law

While elements of assault may be found in all three statutes cited above, the Indiana offense most closely associated with what we typically call "assault" is the state's law prohibiting intimidation and threats. However, keep in mind that a threat is not necessarily an act that causes fear of imminent bodily injury. For instance, a threatening letter to a witness in a criminal trial would not be charged as "assault" in states that have assault laws. However, pointing a gun at someone -- which poses a direct threat -- would be considered assault in most states (and "criminal recklessness" in Indiana).

In Indiana, a misdemeanor intimidation / threat charge may be filed against someone who communicates a threat to another person, with the intent:

  1. That the other person engage in conduct against the other person's will;
  2. That the other person be placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act; or
  3. Of causing a vehicle, building, or other structure to be evacuated.

A felony charge may be filed against someone who threatens to commit a forcible felony against a police officer, criminal case witness, school employee, court employee, corrections officer or employee, employee of a hospital or religious organization, or someone who owns a building that is open to the public.

Get a Free Legal Evaluation of Your Indiana Criminal Charge

If you have been charged of a crime in Indiana such as intimidation, criminal recklessness, or battery, you may be facing time in prison and fines in the thousands of dollars. The best course of action is to get prepared well before your trial. Get started today by having an Indiana criminal defense attorney evaluate your case at no charge.

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