Threatening someone, even when you don't come into physical contact with them, is against the law. An example of this is the offense of extortion which involves the unlawful gain of property, money, or an advantage by threatening another person. In Indiana, extortion laws are covered by the statutes for the offenses of "intimidation" and "harassment." These crimes involve making threats to intimidate or place the victims in fear.
Indiana Intimidation and Harassment Laws at a Glance
Making sense of complex statutes takes a lot of time and effort. Effort that could be spent elsewhere, especially if you're trying to figure out how the law will directly impact your life. Read on, for a chart that discusses Indiana extortion laws in a simple and direct way.
Intimidation occurs when an individual communicates a threat with the intent to:
- Force another person to act against their will;
- Put another person in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act; or
- Cause another person to be removed from their home, building, structure, or vehicle.
Intimidation is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of 6 months in jail.
Intimidation is a Level 6 felony if the threat is to commit a forcible felony and the threat involves one of the following:
- A law enforcement officer;
- A witness (or spouse or child of a witness) in any pending criminal proceedings against the person who made the threat;
- A school employee;
- A probation dept. employee;
- A community corrections dept. employee;
- An employee of a church, hospital, or religious organization, or a person who owns a building or structure, open to the public or is an employee of that person;
- Someone with a previous unrelated conviction concerning the same victim; or
- Someone using school property or property of another government entity.
Level 6 intimidation is punishable by incarceration for up to 2.5 years.
Level 5 intimidation involves the use of a deadly weapon. It is punishable by incarceration of up to 6 years.
Harassment occurs when an individual, who intends to harass, annoy, or alarm another person (but without any intent of legitimate communication), engages in the following:
- Makes a phone call (regardless of whether a conversation ensues);
- Communicates with a person by telegraph, mail, or other form of written communication;
- Transmits an obscene message, or indecent words on a Citizens Radio service channel; or
- Uses a computer network, or other form of electronic communication to communicate with a person or transmit an obscene message or indecent words to a person.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Indiana Intimidation and Harassment Laws: Related Resources
Discuss Intimidation and Harassment Laws with an Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney
The line between extortion and intense negotiations may not always be that clear, but what is clear is that a conviction of violating Indiana's intimidation and harassment laws could land you time behind bars. If you're facing charges of intimidation or harassment, then you should discuss your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can work to resolve your situation in the best way possible.