Home > It's A Legal Matter > Invasion of privacy

Invasion of privacy

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2013-01-07


In Indiana, a person commits the crime of invasion of privacy when he knowingly or intentionally violates a no contact or protective order. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable up to one year in jail. If the accused has a prior conviction for that offense, he can be charged with a Class D felony and be sentenced up to three years in prison.

Under certain circumstances, a judge or magistrate can enter an order prohibiting one person from having any type of contact with another person. If the person who has been ordered to stay away from the other person receives notice of the order and then decides to have contact anyway, that person can be charged with invasion of privacy. So who
would ever violate a no contact or protective order, right?

Meet Jim. Jim is 58 years of age. Jim and his wife Susan have been married 32 years. They have three adult children and the youngest still lives at home. Jim and Susan have lived in the same house for almost two decades. Jim and Susan are not real people. I made them up.

Jim was aware that his wife had been unhappy with their marriage. Recently, she talked about taking a trip by herself to see what it would be like to be alone. Jim commented that if she left she shouldnít plan on returning. Jim didnít really mean what he said. Jim and Susan didnít discuss the topic again.

Five days before Christmas, a police officer appeared late in the afternoon at Jimís place of work and handed him an ex parte order for protection forbidding him to return to his home or to have any contact with his wife.

Jim left work and started driving. He was a mess. Normally, Jim would drive straight home after work. Jim didnít do much else other than go to work and come home. Jim liked to work in his workshop in the garage. Jim always had a home improvement project underway. He was almost finished with his renovations to the master bathroom.
Jim got some fast food and called his wifeís phone but no one answered. Jim sent a text to Susan asking her if she was okay. Jim didnít get a response. Jim went to a bookstore and looked around. He sent another text asking Susan if she would talk to him. No reply. It was getting late. Jim had no clothes and no place to go so he decided to stop by the house.

Jim pulled into the driveway and tapped the horn hoping his wife would come outside. She didnít. Jim sent another text asking Susan to please pack a bag for him with work clothes, pajamas and a toothbrush. No response. Jim got out of the car and knocked on the door. No answer.

Jim heard sirens and saw a police vehicle pull up to the residence. After the officer spoke with Susan inside the house, he placed Jim under arrest. Jim learned the next morning in court that he was charged with four counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy, one count for each text sent and one count for being at the residence.

After spending almost 24 hours in jail, Jimís brother drove in from Michigan to pay his bond. Jimís brother told Jim that Susan had filed for a divorce. Jim stayed at a hotel that night. Jim is still at that hotel. Fortunately, Jim still has his job. Heís spoken with his children but he still doesnít have a lot of answers.

Tomorrow he meets with an attorney to discuss his criminal case.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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