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Self-Defense Laws in Indiana: What You Need to Know in Indianapolis Contact Us
Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > Self-Defense Laws in Indiana: What You Need to Know in Indianapolis

Self-Defense Laws in Indiana: What You Need to Know in Indianapolis


After you are charged with battery in Indianapolis, it is vital that you retain a qualified criminal defense attorney. An attorney can work with you to develop a defense strategy that can help you achieve a favorable outcome. One of the possible legal defenses that may be available for use in your case if you are facing battery charges is the defense known as “self-defense.” In Indiana, self-defense laws, which are codified under Indiana Code 35-41-3, support the principle that people have the right to defend themselves, others, and property. However, self-defense is not justified in all circumstances. Read on to learn some crucial things about self-defense laws in Indianapolis.

Understanding When Self-Defense Is Justified in Indianapolis

Before discussing when self-defense is justified in Indianapolis, it is important to mention that self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means you admit guilt when you raise this defense, but argue that your actions were legally justified.

In Indianapolis, you have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself or another from the imminent use of illegal force. You also have the right to use reasonable force to prevent a person from trespassing or criminally interfering with the property that;

  • is in your possession; or
  • is in the possession of an immediate family member; or
  • belongs to someone whose property you have the authority to protect

Facts You Should Know About Self-Defense Laws

The following are some crucial facts you should know about Indiana’s self-defense laws.

  • Reasonable force means that the amount of force used by someone protecting themselves, another person, or property must be proportional to the amount of force used by the attacker. For example, if someone punches you, it is not considered reasonable force if you take out a gun and shoot them.
  • To claim self-defense, you must have had a reasonable belief that you or another person was in imminent danger. For example, hitting a person because they yelled would be unreasonable.
  • Deadly force is justified if a person reasonably believes such force is necessary to prevent serious harm or a forcible felony.
  • If you instigate the situation, you do not have the right to claim self-defense when someone attacks back.
  • If you are justified in using force to defend yourself, you don’t have a duty to retreat.
  • Your right to defend ends when the danger ends. If the attacker flees, you cannot chase after them to continue with the attack.

Understanding the Stand Your Ground Law

In Indiana, there is a Stand Your Ground law. According to this law, you have the right to defend yourself in your home using force, including deadly force, and do not have a duty to retreat when defending an attack on your home or occupied vehicle. Additionally, according to the Stand Your Ground Law, you don’t need to prove reasonable fear of harm to successfully use the defense of “self-defense.” The proof of reasonable fear of harm is that someone unlawfully entered your home or attacked your occupied vehicle.

Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges, our skilled Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Rigney Law LLC can work with you to develop a solid defense strategy. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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