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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Understanding Indiana's Cave-Related Offenses 35-43-1-3



Indiana boasts an incredible underground world filled with naturally occurring wonders like stalagmites, stalactites, and historical artifacts concealed within its caves. However, these hidden treasures are not open to the public for unregulated exploration. In this blog post, we'll dive into Indiana Code IC 35-43-1-3, which outlines unlawful acts related to caves. At B. Hicks Law, we are committed to helping you understand your rights when it comes to these unique legal matters.


Defining the Terms:

Before we delve into the details of this statute, it's essential to understand some key definitions:

  1. Cave: A "cave" refers to any naturally occurring subterranean cavity, including caverns, pits, potholes, sinkholes, wells, grottoes, and tunnels, whether or not they have a natural entrance.

  2. Owner: The "owner" is the person who holds title to or possesses the land on or under which a cave is located, or their lessee or agent.

  3. Scientific Purposes: "Scientific purposes" are activities related to exploration and research conducted by individuals affiliated with recognized scientific organizations. The intent must be to advance knowledge and publish the results in an appropriate medium.

Understanding the Offenses:

IC 35-43-1-3 outlines the unlawful acts relating to caves in Indiana, which can result in criminal charges if violated. Here are the key points:


A. Class A Misdemeanor (Knowingly and Without Consent of Cave Owner):

  1. Disfigure, Destroy, or Remove: It is a Class A misdemeanor if you knowingly disfigure, destroy, or remove any stalagmite, stalactite, or other naturally occurring mineral deposit or formation, or archaeological or paleontological artifact in a cave, for purposes other than scientific exploration.

  2. Break Locks, Gates, Fences: Committing the offense of breaking any lock, gate, fence, or other structure designed to control or prevent access to a cave without the owner's express consent is a Class A misdemeanor.

  3. Destroy, Injure, Remove, or Harass Animals: If you knowingly destroy, injure, remove, or harass any cave-dwelling animal for purposes other than scientific exploration, it constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.

B. Class C Infraction (Knowingly Without Consent, Depositing Litter):

Depositing trash, rubbish, chemicals, or other litter in a cave without the owner's consent is a Class C infraction. However, if this violation is committed knowingly or intentionally and the person has a prior unrelated adjudication or conviction for a violation of this section within the previous five years, it is elevated to a Class C misdemeanor.


Protecting Your Rights:

Understanding Indiana's cave-related offenses is vital to avoiding criminal charges and protecting your rights. If you find yourself facing legal issues related to these laws, it's crucial to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney. At B. Hicks Law, we are here to help you navigate the legal complexities of cave-related offenses and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.


B. Hicks Law is committed to helping you understand your rights and the implications of Indiana's cave-related offenses. If you require legal assistance, don't hesitate to contact our experienced criminal defense team. We are here to guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and provide expert legal representation tailored to your unique circumstances. Your rights matter, and we are here to safeguard them.

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