03 Nov Indiana Battery Charges: Moderate Bodily Injury vs. Serious Bodily Injury
Criminal Law Blog: Felony Battery Charges in Indiana
If you are facing battery charges in Indiana, you may be wondering why the charge was filed with either moderate bodily injury or serious bodily injury? What’s the difference and why does it matter for you case? In a simple battery case, Indiana’s bodily injury statute can be as simple as merely requiring “pain” to prove injury. This could be as small as a poke or shove, if it caused pain to another person, as the Indiana Criminal Code, defines bodily injury as “any impairment of physical condition, including physical pain.” I.C. 35-31.5-2-29.
However, moderate bodily injury is defined as “any impairment of physical condition that includes substantial pain.” I.C. 35-31.5-2-204.5. If the alleged victim in the case suffers injury that causes “substantial pain” the charge can be enhanced from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Level 6 Felony. Instead of carrying a penalty range from 0-365 days as a misdemeanor, the Level 6 felony battery charge now carries a penalty from 6 months to 2 ½ years in the department of correction. This difference in injury levels, from “pain” to “substantial pain” can seriously change the penalties you may be facing.
Additionally, if the alleged victim in the case suffers “serious bodily injury” the charge can be enhanced to a Level 5 Felony, carrying a possible penalty from one to six years. Under Indiana law, “serious bodily injury” is defined as “injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement; unconsciousness; extreme pain; permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ; or loss of a fetus.” I.C. 35-31.5-2-292. Examples can include lacerations to the head and face requiring stitches, being out of consciousness, loss of a limb or loss of use of some part of the body.
If you’ve been charged with battery causing moderate bodily injury or battery causing serious bodily injury, who decides what level injury was suffered by the alleged victim? In most cases, if the matter proceeds to trial, the jury would have to decide if the injury falls within the definition as charged. For example, if you’ve been charged with battery causing moderate bodily injury, but the jury decides the injury only caused “pain” but not “substantial pain” they could either acquit, or in some cases, enter a verdict of guilty for the lesser offense of battery as a Class A Misdemeanor.
You can find more information about battery charges in Indiana HERE.
Indiana Criminal Defense Attorneys Fighting for you!
If you’ve found yourself being accused of battery charges in Indiana, either as a misdemeanor or as a felony causing moderate bodily injury or serious bodily injury, you need an experienced trial attorney on your side. The lawyers at Chambers Law Office are former deputy prosecutors, bringing that unique experience to every case. We will be with you every step of the way to explain the process, answer your questions, advocate for you, and protect your rights. Contact Chambers Law Office at 317-450-2917 to speak with an attorney today!