The crime of battery is much more common than an individual may think. While most of us may have an idea of what criminal battery is, or have at least heard the phrase, many fail to understand the complexities involved in the offense. For example, we often hear questions like “what are the penalties involved?” Or “is battery a misdemeanor or a felony?” or “are there any possible defenses?” In this blog, we look to answer these types of questions while providing a general overview of the crime and potential defenses.
The crime of battery is statutorily defined in Indiana. In general, the crime of battery involves the following elements: (1) a person; (2) knowingly or intentionally; (3) touches another person; (4) in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.1 A person can also be charged with the crime of battery if the following elements exist: (1) a person; (2) knowingly or intentionally; (3) in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; (4) places any bodily fluid or waste on another person. Therefore, in order to be convicted of battery in Indiana, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an individual committed each of these elements.
The penalty for battery based on the elements listed above a class B misdemeanor. However, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the crime of battery can range from a B Misdemeanor all the way to a Level 2 Felony. For example, the crime of battery is a level 2 offense if, in addition to the elements listed above, it results in the death of: (1) a person less than fourteen (14) years of age if the offense is committed by a person at least eighteen (18) or (2) an endangered adult.2
In addition to the varying penalties for the crime of battery, there are different classifications of battery. To expand, statutory code elevates the crime of battery to domestic battery if, in addition to the elements listed above, the victim of the battery is a household or family member.3 Even more, statutory code elevates the crime of battery to aggravated battery if a person who knowingly or intentionally inflicts injury on a person that creates a substantial risk of death or causes: (1) serious permanent disfigurement; (2) protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ; or (3) the loss of a fetus.4
Due to the fact-sensitive nature of the crime of battery, listing all possible defenses is nearly impossible. However, there are a few common defenses worth pointing out in this blog. First, statutory code permits a parent to engage in reasonable discipline of their child. Thus, if a parent is facing battery charges against their child, a possible defense may be that of parental discipline. Another common defense is that of self-defense. A claim of self-defense requires the defendant to have acted without fault, been in a place where he or she is lawfully allowed to be, and been in reasonable fear of apprehension of bodily harm.
The above information is general in nature. It is important to know that criminal cases are usually complex matters, regularly turning on the specific facts of the case. Going through a criminal trial is scary. Moreover, individuals oftentimes feel alone or trapped when they find themselves in such situations. However, remember that you aren’t alone or trapped. You have rights and you have options. If you find yourself in trouble, skilled defense counsel is crucial to protect your rights. This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle the full spectrum of criminal cases throughout Indiana. This blog is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.