In an ideal world, homes would be a safe haven, a personal space where a person and their family can rest and relax without unwelcome encroachment from the outside world. Neighbors would become friends, or at least remain cordial in their interactions.
For many folks, this dream is a reality. An unlucky few, however, find themselves on the receiving end of intimidation and harassment from their neighbors. Whether this is due to a property dispute or something more personal, Indiana law provides a path forward.
What Is Considered Intimidation and Harassment?
A neighbor being unpleasant is not enough to initiate legal repercussions. Some standards must be met for interactions to be considered intimidation or harassment. As per Indiana Code 35-45-2:
Intimidation is when a person threatens harm or danger against another person. This could include a neighbor threatening damage to your property or vehicle. Intimidation is typically a Class A misdemeanor but can become a felony if certain factors are present (such as using a firearm when communicating the threat).
Harassment (a Class B misdemeanor) is when a perpetrator intentionally annoys or alarms someone using persistent and unnecessary communication, often including an obscene message.
What To Do If Your Neighbor Intimidates Or Harasses You
Since both are criminal offenses, filing a report with the police is an option. This may be the right route if your neighbor makes you feel unsafe. A police report will create a record that can later be used as evidence in a court case if needed. A lesser version of police involvement might include making noise complaints (if applicable).
Another option is a restraining order. While housing logistics with neighbors can make this more difficult, it is worth discussing if this is a viable remedy.
In some cases, emotional distress from harassment could allow you to seek damages from a civil court.
Unsure what direction to take? The best way to move forward is to contact a local Indiana law firm like Razumich & Associates. We are experienced in these types of cases. We can review your specific case details and ensure you take the correct course of action. Visit us online or by calling 317-449-8661 to get started.