Why Is My Domestic Battery Case a Felony?

Domestic Battery is one of the most common criminal charges in the state of Indiana, starting off as a Class A misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to a year in jail. Like other kinds of Battery, the domestic variety can easily become a felony.

Domestic Battery is like any other Battery, except that it occurs between two parties who are spouses, ex-spouses, domestic partners, former domestic partners, or who have a child in common. Domestic Battery starts as a misdemeanor, but there are multiple ways in which the charge can be enhanced to a felony, all of which depend on either your criminal history or the context of the circumstances in which you were charged.

If you’re charged with Domestic Battery and you already have an unrelated Domestic Battery conviction, the new charge will be a Level 6 felony. It’s possible, however, to be charged with Level 6 felony Domestic Battery even if you have no prior convictions. If the Battery was allegedly committed “in the physical presence of a child less than sixteen years of age, knowing that the child was present and might be able to see or hear the offense,” this can be charged as a Level 6 felony. The maximum penalty for a Level 6 felony two-and-a-half years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. It’s worth noting that the potential severity of the charges isn’t capped at Level 6—things can always get worse, depending on the amount of physical damage you’ve inflicted.

There are also a number of aggravating factors that—if applicable to your alleged Battery—will result in you being charged with a Level 5 felony. Some of the ways you can make your Domestic Battery appear considerably worse in the eyes of the law include: a) causing serious bodily injury; b) using a deadly weapon; c) directing violence at pregnant woman; and d) battering someone that you’ve previously been convicted of battering. Level 5 felonies are punishable by up to six years in jail.  

A felony conviction is a terrible burden, and it could spell disaster for your career, your family life, and your future in general. A felony on your record can influence your parenting guidelines, which directly affects the amount of time you’re allowed to spend with your children. In many cases, a Domestic Battery conviction doesn’t even need to be a felony to prevent you from accompanying your child on a school field trip. Additionally, Indiana law prohibits convicted domestic batterers from possessing firearms. This penalty can be especially problematic for police officers, security guards, members of the military, or any Second Amendment enthusiast.

Despite our seemingly natural tendency toward black-and-white value judgments, incidents of Domestic Battery are not populated exclusively by victims and villains. Sometimes the truth of the matter is more complicated. It’s not unheard of for people to use allegations of Domestic Battery in order to gain relationship bargaining power over their partner. Based on experience, the Marc Lopez Law Firm believes that police officers take a better safe than sorry approach to domestic calls of this sort. Even in the absence of physical evidence, law enforcement is likely to take the complainant’s word, arrest the alleged batterer, and let the Prosecutor’s Office sort out the details. This strategy makes a certain amount of practical sense to officers on the streets, but it leads to skewed results in the courtroom. When a Prosecutor’s Office has a specialized domestic violence unit, and that unit’s policy is never to reevaluate whether a case should’ve been filed in the first place, this puts the falsely accused in an incredibly difficult situation.

At the Marc Lopez Law firm, we take Domestic Battery charges seriously. We know that cases like these—whether they’re misdemeanors or felonies—can have long-term, detrimental effects in almost all areas of your life. If you or someone you love is facing a Domestic Battery charge, the attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm are here to help. Call us at 317-632-3642 for a free consultation.