Having a domestic dispute can be a stressful, emotional, and trying time for a couple or family. When the pressure is high and emotions become overwhelming, conflicts can easily escalate. Before you know it, local law enforcement gets involved, and you’re being charged with domestic violence. You may be wondering what happens if you get arrested for domestic violence in Rhode Island and what steps will come next. First, it’s important to know that Rhode Island considers domestic violence to be a very serious offense, penalties can be severe, and protection of the victim is the state’s top priority. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after you get arrested for domestic violence in Rhode Island.
What Classifies As Domestic Violence in Rhode Island?
It’s common for people to be shocked, surprised, or confused by a domestic violence charge. Society has a lot of preconceived notions and misunderstandings around what a domestic violence crime actually is. Some believe that domestic violence is simply a conflict between a married couple that possibly turned violent. The truth is, domestic violence charges in Rhode Island go way beyond that. Domestic violence is defined by the Rhode Island courts as any of the following crimes:
- Simple assault
- Felony assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Sexual Assault
- Violation of a protective order
- Refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone
- Burglary and Unlawful Entry
- Cyberstalking and cyber harassment
- Domestic assault by strangulation
- Electronic tracking of motor vehicles
Basically, a domestic violence arrest in Rhode Island can include any of the above crimes, in a “domestic” context. This brings us to our next point. What is considered “domestic” in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island places a crime in a domestic violence category when it involves: spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three years, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together, or if persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year which shall be determined by the court’s consideration of the following factors:
- (1) the length of time of the relationship;
- (2) the type of the relationship;
- 3) the frequency of the interaction between the parties.
Regardless if you agree with the fact that your arrest was indeed a “domestic violence” charge or not, one action will be absolutely necessary: contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible and don’t speak with anyone until you have your defense lawyer by your side. The sooner you contact a criminal defense attorney that specializes in domestic violence, domestic assault, sexual assault, or any other common domestic violence crime, the better your results will be.
What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest in Rhode Island?
What happens if you get arrested for domestic violence in Rhode Island? After you’re arrested for domestic violence, we’ve already covered that your first step is to contact a Rhode Island Domestic Violence Defense Attorney that specializes in domestic violence cases. Then, you’ll have to follow through with a few important steps.
First, you’ll be given an arraignment court date. The arraignment is when you appear in court and the Rhode Island prosecutor formally charges you with a crime. It’s at this arraignment court date that you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty.
If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you and you’ll have to face the set penalties for the domestic violence felony charge.
If you plead not guilty, your bail will be set, a no-contact order will be issued, and another court date for your pre-trial will be provided.
Before you attend an arraignment hearing and enter a plea, it’s highly recommended to speak with a criminal defense attorney first. Domestic violence charges can be complex.
The complaining witness might have accused you of a domestic violence crime under intense and complicated circumstances. In many cases, after the dust has settled, a complaining witness may ask to drop the charges. Even if this happens, the charges do not go away and will not be dismissed. The state of Rhode Island will still follow through with your conviction.
Even with the above knowledge of what domestic violence is and how it’s classified in Rhode Island, it can still be difficult to truly know what happens if you get arrested for domestic violence in Rhode Island.
As stated in the introduction, the charges for domestic violence range from trespassing and vandalism to kidnapping and homicide.
The penalties for these charges are severe on their own, but under the classification of domestic violence, see the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, the consequences can be even worse.
If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence in Rhode Island, contact the best Rhode Island criminal defense attorney for help.
Make sure you’re working with a criminal defense lawyer that has years of experience with domestic violence, sexual assault, domestic assault, and other common domestic violence crimes.
Only a trusted and experienced domestic violence defense attorney can design a defense strategy, identify holes in the witnesses’ claims, and negotiate with the prosecutor to arrive at the best possible outcome for you.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation with top Rhode Island Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer, call 401.421.1440.