There’s no single Indiana statute that covers all forms of violence of a political nature; a case will always depend on the facts. And, practically speaking, a prosecutor would likely consider filing a number of charges that would, and would not, include a political aspect. But let’s consider some state laws that can relate to political violence.
Unlawful Assembly and Rioting
Under the larger concept of “offenses against public order,” there is a trio of laws related to conduct during a political protest. One of these is Indiana Code section 35-45-1-2, which provides that someone can be charged with rioting if they are a member of an unlawful assembly and recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally engage in “tumultuous conduct.” Rioting is a Class A misdemeanor unless someone is armed with a deadly weapon while rioting. In that case, rioting becomes a Level 6 felony.
Another “offense against public order” is found in Indiana Code section 35-45-1-3. That section bans disorderly conduct, defined as when a person “recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
(1) engages in fighting or tumultuous conduct;
(2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
(3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons.”
Disorderly conduct is usually a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony if the conduct at issue was at an airport, impacted airport security, or took place within 500 feet of a memorial service or burial.
Note that this charge doesn’t only cover conduct during a political demonstration. Instead, the charge may apply if you interfered with someone else’s lawful participation in a demonstration.
U.S. Flag Desecration is Banned
Indiana Code section 35-45-1-4 makes it a Class A misdemeanor if someone intentionally mutilates, defaces, burns, or tramples any United States flag, standard, or ensign commits flag desecration.
Private Militias are Illegal
Article 1, section 33 of the Indiana Constitution and section 10-16-2-3 of Indiana state code forbid the organization of private military units without prior approval from the governor.
Politically involved cases raise complicated legal issues, and—compounding any formal legal charges—they are always politically and emotionally charged, too. If you have been charged for any crime related to political activity, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Razumich & Associates today for a free case evaluation.