Invasion of privacy laws in Indiana are designed to protect individuals who have a protective order, restraining order or no contact order in place. Anyone who violates an existing order may face an invasion of privacy charge, which is a criminal offense. If found guilty, he could spend up to 12 months in jail, so an invasion of privacy charge isn’t to be taken lightly.
Invasion of Privacy in Indiana
Under Indiana law, a person commits the offense of invasion of privacy if she intentionally violates:
- a protective order to prevent domestic or family violence or harassment;
- an ex parte protective order or an emergency order (if the order involved a family or household member);
- a workplace violence restraining order;
- a no contact order in a dispositional decree; or
- a no contact order issued as a condition of probation.
An invasion of privacy charge may also be brought if a person violates a similar protective or no contact order issued in another state or a protective order or no contact order issued by a Native American tribe or other organized group or community.
Violating an Order
If a person has been harmed, threatened or placed in fear of harm by a family or household member, he may get a protective order by petitioning the civil court. This type of order is far-reaching. As well as prohibiting someone from threatening or committing acts of violence, it may prohibit certain actions relating to property. For example, the order may require someone to stay away from the residence, school or workplace of the petitioner.
A no contact order is similar in nature to a protective order, but it’s often ordered by a judge in a criminal case. Typically, if any type of criminal case involves an alleged victim, a no contact order is issued. Sometimes, a no contact order terminates when the criminal case comes to an end, but in other cases, it remains in effect for the length of the criminal sentence.
Not all orders are limited to direct contact. Depending on the nature of the case, some may prohibit indirect contact, contact through third parties, social media contact, phone contact, email contact, contact through text messages, and/or contact through letters or notes.
Invasion of Privacy Conviction
To secure a conviction of invasion of privacy, the State of Indiana must first prove that the defendant knew about the no contact order. If someone is accused of violating an ex parte order (an order granted without his being present at the court hearing), the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was on notice of the order.
Someone accused of violating an ex parte order may have a viable defense if he has not received formal notice of the order. Another defense is that the encounter with the alleged victim happened by chance and was not intentional.
A no contact order can be violated if someone responds to an invitation to communicate with the protected party. In other words, the protected party is legally allowed to make contact with the defendant, but the defendant is prohibited from responding.
Read More: How to File an Invasion-of-Privacy Lawsuit
Invasion of Privacy Penalties
Under Indiana law, a misdemeanor may be Class A, Class B or Class C. Invasion of privacy is a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious type. It’s punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Invasion of privacy may be charged as a Level 6 felony if the person was previously convicted for invasion of privacy in an unrelated case. This carries a mandatory jail term of between six months to 2 1/2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Indiana General Assembly: Indiana Code 35-46-1-15.1 Invasion of privacy; offense; penalties
- Indiana General Assembly: Indiana Code 34-26-5 Chapter 5. Indiana Civil Protection Order Act
- Indiana General Assembly: Indiana Code 35-50-2-7 Class D felony; Level 6 felony; judgment of conviction entered as a misdemeanor
- Indiana General Assembly:Indiana Code 35-50-3-2 Class A misdemeanor
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.