Felonies in Indiana are designated from Level 1 to Level 6, with level 1 felonies including the most serious crimes such as murder and aggravated rape. Level 6 felonies are considered the least serious and can often be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the discretion of the prosecutor. A felony assault generally requires that you intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly caused physical harm to another person.
If you are charged with a felonious assault, it is a serious matter. However, Indiana law does provide some powerful affirmative defenses to felony assault. In this article, we’ll discuss the most powerful defenses to felony assault charges in Indiana.
Elements of the Crime
A common defense to an assault charge is to challenge the evidence of an element of the crime. Because a felony assault requires that the prosecution show beyond a reasonable doubt that you “intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly” caused physical harm to another person, in many cases, this means your attorney will attack the intentionality element of an assault. For example, they may argue that you acted unknowingly or accidentally.
Violation of Your Constitutional Rights
If your constitutional rights were violated before or after your arrest, this may be a defense to felony assault charges. For example, if the police failed to inform you of your Miranda rights or obtained evidence through an illegal search, this may allow your attorney to exclude evidence from court.
Indiana’s Stand Your Ground Law can provide an affirmative defense to an assault in a wide range of situations if you acted to protect yourself or someone else. The law provides an affirmative defense for people using force to protect themselves, their property, or others, including:
- Protecting Your Home
- Protecting Yourself or Others
- Protecting Property
- Preventing the Commission of a Serious Felony
- Preventing a Hijacking
In every case, you must have reasonably believed that force was necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or to prevent or end an unlawful entry into someone else’s home, area around the home, or car. Indiana law may also protect you from civil lawsuits related to the defense of yourself or others.
Indiana law may also provide an affirmative defense if you committed a crime while intoxicated, if a person became intoxicated against their will; a person is deemed not responsible because of a mental disease or defect; if a person was reasonably mistaken about an issue of fact that affects culpability; a person committed a crime under duress or entrapment; or if a person voluntarily abandoned their attempt to commit a crime and voluntarily worked to prevent it.
If you are facing a felony assault charge in Indiana, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney, like the lawyers at Razumich & Associates. We can help you navigate the process and determine the best way to defend your assault charge.