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Indianapolis Criminal Attorney
John "Jack" Razumich
Criminal Attorney
Andrew Redd
Criminal Attorney


Understanding the Criminal Justice System

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“But He Started It!” – You Shouldn’t Be Arrested for a Fight You Did Not Start in Indiana, But You Can Be

The right to self-defense is woven into the fabric of Indiana’s legal statutes. Whether a drunken hooligan decides that you looked at them the wrong way, a criminal uses physical force in the commission of a crime, or you respond to an instigation of some other kind, you should not be arrested for any fight that you didn’t start.

However, you can be arrested for a physical altercation—law enforcement officials don’t always get it right. The threat of an unjust arrest is especially great when there is no direct evidence of the altercation (such as video footage) or if there are conflicting accounts of who started the scrap.

Indiana’s Castle Doctrine Instills Your Right to Defend Yourself

IC 35-41-3-2 states that “it is the policy of this state that people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime.” The statute couldn’t be clearer: If someone chooses to punch, slap, brandish a weapon, or otherwise threaten harm, you have the right to defend yourself. 

Of course, in cases where the instigator of the altercation suffers serious bodily harm, you may face intense scrutiny for your actions. Even in cases where someone uses deadly force against those who threaten them, however, the legal doctrines are on their side.

Wrongful Arrests Do Happen

Law enforcement officers are not perfect, and you may find yourself facing serious criminal charges simply because you chose to defend yourself (or others) from physical violence. An officer may arrest someone like you because:

  • They are new to the job and don’t have a firm understanding of self-defense laws in Indiana
  • They make an impulsive decision
  • They fail to collect all relevant evidence and witness accounts that would prove who started the altercation
  • There is limited evidence or witness accounts, and it was merely your word versus your assailant’s

You may even face life-changing charges,
like felony battery, if an officer makes the wrong decision in the heat of the moment. If you face a criminal charge of any kind, hire an attorney to prove that you acted within your legal rights.

How an Attorney May Establish That You Acted in Self-Defense

A lawyer will cast reasonable doubt on the allegations that you acted improperly but will go even further, showing without a doubt that you acted in self-defense. In making this case, your lawyer may cite the following:

  • Witness accounts
  • Video footage
  • Your own account
  • The assailant’s criminal history (especially if it involves other acts of unprovoked violence)

Criminal defense lawyers handle cases of improper arrests all the time, and they will know how to craft your defense.

Call Razumich & Associates Today for a Competent Legal Defense

Our firm stands for Indianans’ rights to defend themselves. We’ll represent you in any legal proceedings stemming from a fight you didn’t start. Call Razumich & Associates today at 317-449-8661 or contact us online.

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