Providence Rhode Island Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John E. MacDonald, Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island

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Experienced Rhode Island Sex Assault Defense Attorneys Ready to Defend Your Sex Crime Charges

About the Law Office Of John E. MacDonald, Inc.

Rhode Island Sexual Assault Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald has over twenty-five years of experience representing clients who are facing criminal prosecution for sexual assault. Attorney John E. MacDonald is a former public defender attorney from the Rhode Island Department of the Public Defender and has extensive trial experience with violent crime defense. 

Below you’ll find important information and resources on Rhode Island sexual assault laws and penalties, what you should know if you’re facing sexual assault charges, and other details related to sex crimes. First, we suggest you review some of our case results to learn more about what the Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc Sexual Assault Defense Attorney can achieve for you. 


Sexual Assault Case Results

Just some of the results achieved by the Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc.:

  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sex Assault – Not Guilty After Jury Trial: Client was charged with First Degree Sex Assault based upon the physical helplessness of the complaining witness. The Attorney General relied heavily on the complainant’s testimony and the presence of DNA evidence. Working as co-counsel, Attorneys John MacDonald and Dan Griffin were able to secure a Not Guilty verdict after a one week trial in Kent County Superior Court.
  • criminal defense reviews Sexual Assault Investigation closed – Client retained attorney John MacDonald after being advised by Providence Police that he was the target of a sex assault investigation. Attorney MacDonald worked closed with the Attorney General’s office to monitor the investigation and offered his client’s testimony at grand jury. Fortunately, no such testimony was necessary as the Attorney General determined a lack of probable cause to even charge the case. Client is therefore spared from any criminal charging or record.
  • criminal defense reviews Sexual Assault Charge – Dismissed within 30 Days – This client was charged with the first degree sexual assault of an acquaintance. He had a credible claim that the sexual activity was consensual and he lacked a criminal history. Despite these details, this client was held without bail for a bail hearing. A family member immediately obtained the services of sexual assault defense attorney John E. MacDonald. Attorney MacDonald arranged for the client’s bail to be set and he was released on his bail hearing date. Attorney MacDonald then obtained exculpatory follow-up statements from the complainant and requested an immediate Attorney General Review. All charges were dropped by the Attorney General within 30 days of the client being retained. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault – Dismissed – This was a sexual assault charge made by a client’s soon-to-be ex-wife. After a thorough investigation, attorney MacDonald discovered that these malicious allegations were a coordinated effort to maximize her divorce settlement. MacDonald was able to persuade police and the Attorney General’s office to set bail at the arraignment in court. This allowed the client to avoid waiting two-weeks in jail for a bail hearing. MacDonald coordinated with the Attorney General’s office to have his client and another witness testify at the Grand Jury. At the conclusion of the Grand Jury investigation, no-true bill was handed down and all charges were dropped. 

    “I can’t thank John MacDonald enough for guiding me through this difficult process. He was able to get me bail right away and then worked with myself and other witnesses to ensure that our side was properly presented before the grand jury.”

  • criminal defense reviews Third Degree Sexual Assault – Amended to Non-Sex Offense – This was a third-degree sexual assault charge, which is consensual sex with a minor of 15 years of age. Lawyer John MacDonald successfully negotiated an amendment to a non-sex offense, thereby sparing his client the sex offender registration with the Rhode Island courts. 
  • criminal defense reviews First and Second Degree Sexual Assault – Not Guilty  – This client was charged with sexually assaulting his 15-year-old niece. The client retained the services of lawyer John MacDonald and lawyer John Grasso. An extensive review of the state’s evidence led to the discovery of text messages that directly contradicted the state’s chief witness. After a 5-day jury trial in Washington County Superior Court, the client was found not guilty of all counts. 
  • criminal defense reviews Second Degree Sexual Assault – Dismissed – This client was charged with sexually assaulting his daughter. Defense lawyer John Grasso and lawyer John MacDonald collaborated to fully investigate these allegations, which arose from a toxic parental relationship. The Attorney General’s office ultimately decided to dismiss all assault charges. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault – Dismissed – Defense attorney MacDonald prompted an investigation into the charges and was able to deliver video evidence and witness information to law enforcement, which confirmed the encounter was purely consensual. The Attorney General dismissed the case and this matter has been expunged from the client’s criminal history. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault in Providence Superior Court – Not Guilty . This client was facing two counts of first degree sexual assault. After a six-day trial in court, in which the state called 9 prosecution witnesses, including a DNA expert, our client was found not guilty on all counts. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault in Pawtucket Rhode Island – Not Guilty – This client was charged with two counts of first degree sexual assault arising out of a house party. The client was represented by lawyer Rui Alves and lawyer John MacDonald. After a jury trial in court, the Providence Superior Court found this client not guilty on both assault counts. 
  • criminal defense reviews Interstate Transportation of a Minor, Federal Felony Charge – Dismissed – This client was charged with the federal crime of interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. This is a serious felony charge with a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison. An investigation prompted by the law office of John MacDonald revealed that the complainant lied about her age and background both online and in person. This investigation also showed that the complainant had engaged in similar behavior with other adults. Charges were dismissed by the United States Attorney’s Office. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault – Not Charged – This client’s girlfriend made allegations of first degree sexual assault to the police. After further investigation with the police and the Attorney General’s office, the decision was made to not charge the client based on the factual inconsistencies and contradictions in the complaint. 
  • criminal defense reviews Second Degree Sexual Assault – Not Charged – This client’s sister-in-law made accusations to the police of second degree sexual assault. Defense attorney MacDonald and his client met with the police and disclosed video evidence that clearly contradicted the complaint. No charges were filed by the police. 
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault – Dismissed – This client was charged with first-degree sexual assault by his girlfriend. It was dismissed by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office after further investigation and pre-grand jury negotiations. The case was eventually expunged from his criminal history.
  • criminal defense reviews First Degree Sexual Assault: NOT GUILTY after jury trial.
  • criminal defense reviews Domestic Assault: NOT GUILTY after jury trial.

These are just a few examples of successful cases defended by the Law Office of John MacDonald. If you, or someone close to you, has been accused of sexual assault, rape, child molestation, or any other form of a sex crime, it’s important to speak with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Call us at 401.421.1440 or EMAILus today.


About Sexual Assault Crimes

Allegations of sexual assault can be the most frightening charges an individual can face for many reasons. First, the punishment for a sexual assault crime in Rhode Island can be extreme. Punishment for some sex offenses can be as high as life imprisonment or in excess of twenty years in prison. The sentences for a sex crime are not only significantly higher than most other criminal offenses, but conviction often requires a lifetime requirement of registration as a sex offender. 

What can be even more frightening is the fact that false and/or mistaken allegations of sexual assault are not unusual. Many studies have found that a significant number of allegations of sexual assault are intentionally false, motivated by personal animosity, or arise as a response to mistaken identity.

A 1996 Department of Justice Report found that approximately 10,000 sexual assault cases analyzed with DNA evidence over the previous seven years, 2,000 excluded the primary suspect, and another 2,000 were inconclusive. This report also notes that these findings mirror a National Institute of Justice survey of private laboratories, and suggests that “some strong, underlying systemic problems that generate erroneous accusations and convictions” exists. Other law enforcement studies have found that as many as half of all sexual assault allegations are false. 

In addition, when children are involved, false statements, mistakes and manipulation by adults, coupled with the public’s understandable urge to protect the young and helpless, can often lead to situations where individuals were wrongly accused of child molestation, and in many cases, wrongly convicted. These cases often start with a switch of the “emotional” burden of proof, forcing the suspect to prove his or her innocence. While this is not the true legal burden required in court, it is often the reality that a defendant must face and prepare to counter at every opportunity.

For the above reasons, it’s imperative that an individual suspected or charged with a sex offense, contact a sexual assault attorney or child molestation defense lawyer immediately. 

A sex crime defense attorney like John E. MacDonald will vigorously fight for your rights. Rhode Island Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer John E. MacDonald has extensive experience with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree sexual assault charges and his history of success in high-level trial cases, give his clients the best chance for a successful outcome. He handles cases in the following areas: 

If you have been charged, arrested, or investigated for any of these sex crimes, it’s vital that you contact a Providence Rhode Island Sexual Assault Lawyer that will aggressively defend your rights and protect you as soon as possible. 

For immediate support of sex crime or sexual assault charges, contact The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc at 401.421.1440 or EMAIL us today. Phone and video calls are available. 

In no other type of criminal investigation do the extreme feelings of panic and fear, caused by the stigma of sex crime allegations and false promises by law enforcement, create such a high rate of false confessions. Because of this, Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer John MacDonald advises, without exception, that an individual questioned by law enforcement regarding allegations of sexual abuse refuse any interviews until the suspect has had an opportunity to discuss the matter fully with a lawyer. Only then can you evaluate the real costs and benefits of cooperation. Anyone suspected of a sex crime must refrain from answering any questions by law enforcement until represented by an experienced sexual assault defense attorney. 

For more specific recommendations and general information on sex crime charges, see the section below on what to expect if you are accused of sexual assault. 

For more specific recommendations and general information on sex crime charges, see the section below on what to expect if you are accused of sexual assault. 


What To Expect if You Are Accused of Sexual Assault 

It may start with whispers among the neighbors, a mysterious knock at the door, or perhaps a phone call from the police requesting that you contact them right away. Anyone facing the daunting accusation of sexual assault cannot and should not go it alone. Here’s what to expect if you or a loved one is facing the most hideous of all accusations: sexual assault or child molestation. 

Don’t Talk 

First, don’t talk. The police have a job to do and protecting your rights isn’t very high on their list of priorities. Always remember that the voice welcoming you to the station to give “your side of the story” or inviting you to “clear things up” is really after one thing: your confession to a sex crime in which they have no doubt that you committed. 

Investigations go a lot faster and smoother when the target of a sexual assault investigation – YOU – admits to the crime. Even if you don’t admit to it, you may give versions of events that are so contradictory, it could lead to severe limitations to your future defense. 

The DON’T TALK principle also applies to talking to others as well. Any statement you make to family members, neighbors, or friends can also be used against you. While there are some cases where a sit down with the police may be helpful, it’s extremely rare and only a seasoned veteran defense attorney can spot it. Speaking alone to the police will NEVER help your case. 

Act Quickly

Get a lawyer on your side as quickly as possible. Decisions as to how to proceed in your case have to be made fast. Certain actions, such as collecting potentially helpful evidence, interviewing witnesses, or starting a dialogue with police or prosecutors, can have a major impact on your case and should be left to an experienced sex crime defense attorney. Time is of the essence during the early stages of a sexual assault accusation. 

Be Patient 

Practicing patience is absolutely necessary at this time. These cases may start quickly, but they do not end quickly. The process in Rhode Island courts takes time – usually six months in the District Court followed by 6-18 months in Superior Court. During this time, getting released on reasonable bail conditions with the ability to work and travel is critical. 

Being Charged 

First or Second degree sexual assault or child molestation charges are generally charged by police by way of a criminal complaint. This path gets the case immediately before a District Court Judge for what is called an arraignment or initial appearance. The judge will decide your terms of bail and other conditions of your release, such as a no-contact order or ability to travel. 

In First Degree cases, the police typically request that the defendant be held without bail for a bail hearing in 10 business days. That’s two weeks when weekends are included. At a bail hearing, there may be an agreement between the judge, prosecutor, and your lawyer as to release you on bail or it may be a contested hearing with witness testimony. 

If it is a contested hearing, the state must provide evidence, in the form of witness testimony, to prove that there is “proof evidence or presumption great” that a capital offense was committed. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine any state witness. At the conclusion of the hearing, even if the state meets its burden, a judge must decide if you pose a danger to the community or risk of flight. 

In a Second Degree case, bail must be set by the District Court judge along with the typical conditions of a no-contact order. 

Posting Bail

In Rhode Island, bail may be posted with case or credit in the amount of 10% of the total bail. In other words, $10,000 “with surety” bail may be posted at $1,000. This money is returned at the conclusion of the case, minus any court costs. 

You may also post equity in property so long as you have the documents to prove you have $10,000 worth of equity and the Attorney General’s office agrees and signs on. 

Finally, you may post bail with a bondsman. A bondsman will charge you 5% of the total bail (in the example above, $500 to post a $10,000 bail). The difference is, the bondsman keeps the money as his fee to post his property as surety. 


After a case is brought to the District court by criminal complaint, the state has six months to indict you and formally charge you in Superior Court. An indictment is a formal charge made by a grand jury who has heard some of the evidence and concluded that probable cause exists to charge the sex crime case. 

After an indictment is handed down by the grand jury, the case is scheduled for an arraignment in the Superior Court. At the arraignment, a Superior Court judge must decide your bail conditions going forward. 


After the arraignment, the pre-trial process begins with mutual requests for discovery. Your sex crime defense attorney must formally request in writing copies of all evidence that the state used to indict you and all evidence it plans to use at trial to convict you in court. 

The pre-trial process can take anywhere from six months to multiple years, depending upon the complexity of the case. 

Plea Bargain

If a plea agreement is reached between your attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge, you will appear before the court to formally change your plea from not guilty to nolo contendere. In Rhode Island, a nolo plea is essentially a plea of guilt since you are admitting to the facts forming the basis of the charges. 

The Trial 

A trial in the Superior Court starts with pre-trial motions “in limine” to limit the evidence each side expects to show the jury. This is followed by jury selection. During the jury selection process, each side has the ability to strike jurors that appear to be biased against their side. 

Once a jury is selected and sworn in, each side has the opportunity to present opening arguments. An opening is a road map of the case, pointing out what evidence each side intends to present to prove their case. 

After openings, the state presents their witnesses in court in the form of direct examination, and defense counsel has the opportunity to cross-examine them. 

After the state finishes its case, defense counsel may move for a judgment of acquittal on the basis that the evidence fails to prove the charge(s). If denied, the defense counsel may present its own witnesses or rest. 

If defense witnesses are presented, the state may cross-examine them and present rebuttal witnesses or witnesses call to rebut or refute what the defense witnesses testify to. 

After all of the evidence is presented, each side gets to present closing arguments to the jury starting with defense counsel. Once closing arguments are completed, the judge will instruct the jury as to the applicable law and then select 12 jurors to deliberate. Any criminal verdict must be unanimous. 

In Summary

If you or your loved one has been accused of sexual assault or child molestation, the two most important things to be done are:

  • Don’t talk to anyone including police, family, friends, or the accuser or their family. 
  • Contact a highly-qualified defense attorney immediately who specializes in a case like yours.

You or your loved one’s future depends on remaining calm and making the right decisions. 

Rhode Island Sexual Assault Attorney John E. MacDonald 

The Law Office of Rhode Island Sexual Assault Attorney John E. MacDonald is open 24-hours to hear about your case. For best results, have a defense attorney with experience that can start working on your case promptly, aggressively, and diligently. Call us at 401.421.1440 or EMAIL us today.

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald has received 5 out of 5 stars on 65 Google Reviews and 53 Reviews on Avvo for defense service and is open 24 Hours to hear about your case.

For best results if you have been involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit, sexual offense, domestic assault, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, internet sex crimes or related criminal charge or allegation call today to schedule a free consultation with sexual crime defense attorney John E. MacDonald to learn more about your defense options. 

having someone experienced and knows the area, that can start working on your case promptly, aggressively and diligently. Our office is conveniently located in Providence, Rhode Island. Schedule a free consultation 401.421.1440. Don’t leave your freedom to chance contact one of our Rhode Island Sexual Assault Attorneys of the Law Office Of John E. MacDonald, Inc. today and start your defense.