What should I do if I am charged with a domestic battery or an assault and battery?
An “assault” is an intentional act that is meant to cause fear of harm. There may be no actual physical contact with an assault, only the fear of imminent bodily harm. Assault and battery is handled as “battery” in Indiana. A “battery” involves intentional contact, without the consent of the other person that is, at a minimum for a criminal act, rude or angry or insolent and may result in bodily harm. Battery in Indiana ranges from a misdemeanor to felony, depending on the level of harm inflicted on the victim by the battery.
The crime of misdemeanor battery is committed by touching another person in a rude or insolent way. Generally, battery is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. However, battery that causes injury or to certain protected victims may be punished as a felony.
For example, batteries that cause serious injury or are committed with a deadly weapon are felonies. A knowing or intentional touching is misdemeanor in certain domestic relationships defined by statute as domestic battery, namely if the battered person is a former or current spouse, living that way, or has a child with the person. If convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery, the person is Brady-disqualified and thus may not possess firearms.
If you are facing assault and battery criminal charges, which again is battery under Indiana law or domestic battery, there are many benefits to hiring a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney will analyze your case for any possible defenses to your assault and battery charge, represent you in court hearings, and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney relative to a variety of pleas, which may include a plea to battery instead of domestic battery or felony battery with AMS (alternative misdemeanor sentencing upon completion of terms of probation). This is retroactive and means you would never have a felony conviction.
Domestic battery, and any felony battery, carries serious consequences for work and firearms possession. Future firearms possession, unless the person’s rights are restored in some way later in life, is a state and federal felony. Thus, with any assault and battery or domestic battery your choice of a criminal defense attorney should be given serious consideration. As in all criminal matters, the earlier you consult and retain an attorney, the greater protection you will receive when it comes to preserving and asserting your rights—your defense to the charges.
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