What You Need to Know about Domestic Disputes Turning Criminal in Indiana

Family law encompasses many areas of contention amongst parties, but it is primarily handled in civil proceedings, however, there is some overlap with criminal law. Individuals involved in domestic conflicts must understand the potential legal ramifications and consequences. An experienced attorney would be able to inform you of potential legal ramifications that could arise from your domestic dispute. This blog discusses how domestic disputes and criminal law can interweave in Indiana.

Domestic violence disputes are taken seriously in Indiana and can result in criminal charges. Domestic violence charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the severity of the offense and whether there are aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon or the presence of children during the incident. Domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts committed by a family or household member against another: (1) attempting to cause, threatening to cause, or causing physical harm; (2) placing another person in fear of physical harm; (3) causing another person to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.

Another common domestic dispute that can result in criminal charges is the violation of a protective order. In domestic situations where there is a history of violence or abuse, a court may issue a protective order, also known as a restraining order or no-contact order. Violating the terms of a protective order is a criminal offense in Indiana, punishable by fines and potential jail time. Similarly to protective orders, stalking and harassment are domestic conflicts that lead to criminal charges. Stalking involves repeated instances of threatening behavior or unwanted contact that causes fear or emotional distress, while harassment involves repeated instances of crude insolent, or threatening language or behavior dictated at another person. These types of instances are common in domestic disputes such as separation or divorce. Some domestic disputes involve children and can result in criminal matters if there is evidence of child abuse or neglect. Indiana has strict laws protecting minors, and any intentional act or failure to act that results in physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or endangerment of a child’s health or welfare can lead to criminal charges. Pursuant to Indiana law, “a person who is or has been a victim of domestic or family violence may file a petition for an order for protection against a: (1) family or household member who commits an act of domestic or family violence; or (2) person who has committed stalking under IC 35-45-10-5 or a sex offense under IC 35-42-4 against the petitioner.”

Ultimately, domestic disputes can quickly become volatile and dangerous, thus resulting in criminal charges. While not all domestic disputes lead to criminal charges, it is crucial to understand the legal boundaries and potential consequences to avoid crossing the line into criminal behavior. If you find yourself in a domestic conflict that escalates to the point where you feel threatened and unsafe, it is advisable to remove yourself from the situation and seek assistance from law enforcement or domestic violence support services. Seek the services of an experienced attorney who will advocate for you throughout the legal proceedings. The attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. have experience in domestic disputes that result in criminal proceedings in Indiana. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. and this blog is not intended as specific legal advice or solicitations of services, as this is an advertisement.


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