In Indiana, the answer is a qualified yes that a parent can spank their children. However, the ability to do so is not without limitations.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has said, “[w]e are mindful that courts and juries must exercise utmost restraint when considering whether corporal punishment of a child amounts to criminal conduct.” Williams v. State, 829 N.E.2d 198, 201 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005). However, the Court continued and noted that, “there is a significant distinction between reasonable corporal punishment of children by their parents and conduct so extreme that it clearly damages a young person.” Indiana courts have looked to the level of force and the length time the force was applied as markers to determine reasonableness and criminal culpability. The Court in Williams conceded that pain is an integral part of corporal punishment, but noted that corporal punishment that lasted for two hours went well beyond any boundary of reasonableness. That is, while pain is necessarily a part of corporal punishment, it can become criminal if done for an extended period of time.
Looking for an Indiana criminal defense or an attorney experienced in addressing crimes involving parents and children? Contact the attorneys at Keffer Barnhart LLP today if you have questions or believe your parental, constitutional, or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.