Close X

RHODE ISLAND ASSAULT LAWYER

Are you facing criminal charges for assault and battery in Rhode Island?  Our team of experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys can help.  Attorneys Marin, Barrett, and Parrillo have defended hundreds of individuals charged with misdemeanor simple assault, felony assault with a dangerous weapon, and felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury with outstanding results.  We utilize our 25 years of combined criminal defense experience and tactics and strategies that are proven to give you the best defense against all types of criminal assault charges.

Rhode Island Assault Lawyers
Attorneys Marin, Barrett, and Parrillo
Call Now to get your Best Defense! 401-228-8271

Rhode Island Assault Penalties and Sentences

The consequences arising from assault convictions can vary. A conviction for misdemeanor assault, also known as Simple Assault, carries with it up to one year imprisonment. A felony assault conviction carries with it up to twenty years imprisonment. In additional to jail, conditions of any sentence can include probation or parole, fines, loss of the right to possess firearms, and mandatory anger management and/or batterers' intervention classes. The court looks to the offender's criminal record, probation or parole status, and a variety of other factors when determining consequences and sentences. Most assault cases involve numerous legal details, requiring the full attention of an experienced and skilled attorney to give you the best opportunity for success.

Consequences of Conviction on Assault Charges
- Jail (up to 1 year for simple assault; up to 20 years for felony assault)
- Probation
- Fines
- Loss of Right to Possess Firearms
- Mandatory Batterers' Intervention Classes
- No Contact Order with the Victim
- Anger Management Classes
- Substance Abuse Counseling

What is a Simple Assault Charge in Rhode Island? 

Simple assault is one of the older in the legal system, and is found in the Rhode Island General Laws 11-5-3.  The law in Rhode Island criminalizes “an assault or battery or both” on another person.  To understand simple assault it is important to understand that terminology.  A battery is an unwanted touching of another person and an assault is an act that puts another person or persons in imminent fear of bodily harm.  An individual can be charged with simple assault for either of those acts or, more commonly, a combination of both.  While simple assault may seem like a straightforward charge, it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side to help navigate the legal nuances and obtain the best possible result.

What constitutes an assault in Rhode Island?

A simple assault is either an assault on another individual or a battery that does not result in serious bodily harm.  There are nearly unlimited examples of simple assault, but some of the most common include punching, slapping, hitting, kicking, spitting, or pushing.  They also include instances where an attempt is made to make physical harm but is not successful, such as cocking and swinging a fist, or charging at someone and being held back.  The Rhode Island Simple Assault statute does not define what is and what is not a simple assault, so if you or a loved one has been charged with simple assault, it is incredibly important to hire an attorney fight your case.

Are there defenses to assault charges?

Absolutely.  As with most criminal offenses, the specifics of each case will determine what proper defense or defenses to use, and some are more straightforward than others.  Self defense is commonly utilized by defendants in assault cases and is what is referred to legally as an “affirmative defense.”  Essentially this means that while you may have physically performed the illegal act, you were justified in doing so to physically defend yourself from attack.  There is also defense of others, another affirmative defense similar to self defense.  Then there are other more subtle defenses which deal with privilege, intent, and justification.  Given the array of potential defenses available, it is important to have an attorney who can find the best defense and use it to your advantage.

What is the penalty for a simple assault charge in Rhode Island?

The penalties for a simple assault charge are outlined in Rhode Island General Law 11-5-3(b) and include up to one year in prison, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.   There may also be the imposition of a no contact order and monetary restitution if the victim suffered injuries as a result of the assault. In addition, if the parties involved are in a domestic relationship as defined in Rhode Island General Law 12-29-5, then the defendant will be required to perform domestic violence counseling.  If you or a loved one has been charged with simple assault or domestic simple assault, allow the attorneys at Marin and Barrett, Inc. to provide the aggressive defense that case deserves.

What is the simple assault statute?

Simple assault is outlined in Rhode Island General Law 11-5-3; if the simple assault is of the domestic variety the penalty enhancements are found in 12-29-5.

Is simple assault domestic violence offense?

Potentially yes.  If the parties are in a domestic relationship as defined in Rhode Island General Laws 12-29, then the offense becomes a “domestic simple assault.”  That means that on top of the potential penalties spelled out in the simple assault statute, those convicted of domestic simple assault are also subject to mandatory domestic violence penalties. These having to complete domestic violence counseling and the imposition of a No Contact Order against the victim or victims of the assault.  These enhancements can be significant; a second offense carries a mandatory ten days in prison while third and subsequent offenses are felonies carrying a mandatory minimum one year to serve in prison.

Is simple assault a felony or a misdemeanor in Rhode Island?

A conviction for simple assault under Rhode Island General Law 11-5-3 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both.  However there are many circumstances where what would otherwise be a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony by virtue of the nature of the assault, the age or status of the victim, and/or the defendant's previous criminal history.

What is felony assault charge in Rhode Island?

Chapter 11-5 of the Rhode Island general laws contains numerous factors that can upgrade a misdemeanor simple assault to a felony.  Some such factors are whether or not the victim sustained any injury; the manner in which the assault took place; whether or not the victim is in a particular protected class; the defendant's intent; and/or the defendant's previous criminal history.  Each of these types of felony assault have their own elements and penalties, but each require a skilled attorney to navigate and defend the specifics of any given case.

What are the different types of felony assault charges?

Assault Resulting in Physical Injury

One example is physical injury.  One of the fastest ways a misdemeanor simple assault can become a felony assault is if the victim suffers serious bodily injury as a result.  The Rhode Island felony assault statute 11-5-2 punishes assaults resulting in serious bodily injury by up to twenty years in prison. 

Assault on a Person in a Protected Class

Another way a simple assault can become a felony assault is whether or not the victim is in a particular protected class.  For instance, under Rhode Island law it is a felony to assault a police officer or other official (11-5-5); a person over 60 years old (11-5-10 through 11-5-10.4); an individual with severe impairments (11-5-11); a schoolteacher (11-5-7); and a healthcare provider.

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon / Assault with a Device Similar to a Firearm

Some assaults may also be elevated to felonies based on the manner of the assault, or how the assault takes place.  For instance, an assault with a dangerous weapon is a felony under 11-5-2, and an assault with a device similar to a firearm is a felony under 11-5-2.1.  Domestic assault by strangulation is punishable as a felony by Rhode Island General Law 11-5-2.3 even if no serious injury results.  Under 11-5-17 even a single punch can be charged as a felony assault if that punch is thrown with the purpose of knocking someone out.

Each and every one of these charges has separate and distinct elements and penalties, and it is critical to hire an attorney who not only knows the distinctions, but can use them to your advantage in crafting the right defense. 

What are the penalties for felony assault charge? 

As discussed previously in these FAQs, the types of felony assault charges in Rhode Island vary widely depending on the nature of the assault, and naturally the penalties vary as well.  These penalties range from as few as three to as many as twenty years in prison and can include mandatory community service and counseling.  Some assault convictions under Rhode Island law, such as subsequent domestic assaults require mandatory minimum jail sentences.  With the potential for such harsh, life-altering penalties at stake, do not leave you or your loved one's assault case up in the air – call us today and put our attorney's expertise to work.

Can assault charges be dismissed, dropped, or reduced?

In many cases, yes.  Every case is different, but there are a variety of reasons why a case may be reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed outright.  For instance, sometimes the State has issues locating the witness or witnesses they need to prove a case, or that witness is not credible enough to proceed and they are left with no choice but dismiss the case.  Oftentimes there is a compelling defense or justification that warrant the dismissal or reduction of a charge.  With the variety of potential felony assault charges out there, sometimes the cases are just overcharged in the first place.  And many times a person just flat out did not do what they are being accused of doing and can be found not guilty after a trial.  Regardless of the type of assault you are facing, call us today and let us work to find the best defense to win your case.

Should I hire a Rhode Island Defense Lawyer for criminal assault charges?

Because you have been reading these FAQs you now know that the penalties for assault can be wide ranging and potentially catastrophic.  Facing the potential prison time, monetary fines, domestic violence counseling, and a tarnished criminal record , the last thing you should do is face it alone.  Call Marin and Barrett, Inc. today and you won't have to – allow our attorneys to fight for you every step of the way.

If you have been charged with misdemeanor assault, felony assault, or domestic assault in Rhode Island give us a call today to discuss your case with our aggressive and experienced assault defense lawyers. We handle cases in every county and court throughout the State of Rhode Island. Our office is conveniently located in Downtown Providence. If you or a loved one is being investigated or facing assault charges, call me today. I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The call is free and the initial consultation is free. Any assault charge is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Serious charges require a serious defense.

Types of Rhode Island Assault Charges include:
- Simple Assault and Battery (misdemeanor assault)
- Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (felony assault)
- Assault and Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (felony assault)

Rhode Island Assault Defense Strategies

An Assault can be alleged in a number of ways under Rhode Island Law – but there are a number of circumstances that can justify violence in the eye of the law. Some common defense strategies against assault charges include:

• Self Defense: you have the right to defend yourself if you are attacked. However, you do not have the right to use a lethal force unless your attacker is also using lethal force.
• Defense of Another: Sometimes, assault charges are brought against parents who were only defending their children. If your child is being assaulted, then you arguably have the right to step in.
• Mutual Combatants: Was the other person fighting back? If so, then the alleged assault may be more properly labeled a fight. A skilled assault lawyer will seek to have the other combatant refuse to testify to resolve the case.

Rhode Island Assault Penalties and Sentences

The consequences arising from assault convictions can vary. A conviction for misdemeanor assault, also known as Simple Assault, carries with it up to one year imprisonment. A felony assault conviction carries with it up to twenty years imprisonment. In additional to jail, conditions of any sentence can include probation or parole, fines, loss of the right to possess firearms, and mandatory anger management and/or batterers' intervention classes. The court looks to the offender's criminal record, probation or parole status, and a variety of other factors when determining consequences and sentences. Most assault cases involve numerous legal details, requiring the full attention of an experienced and skilled attorney to give you the best opportunity for success.

Consequences of Assault Conviction
- Jail (up to 1 year for simple assault; up to 20 years for felony assault)
- Probation
- Fines
- Loss of Right to Possess Firearms
- Mandatory Batterers' Intervention Classes
- No Contact Order with the Victim
- Anger Management Classes
- Substance Abuse Counseling

Rhode Island Assault Laws

§ 11-5-3 Simple assault or battery –
(a)
Except as otherwise provided in § 11-5-2, every person who shall make an assault or battery or both shall be imprisoned not exceeding one year or fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.
(b) Where the provisions of "The Domestic Violence Prevention Act", chapter 29 of title 12, are applicable, the penalties for violation of this section shall also include the penalties as provided in § 12-29-5.

§ 11-5-2 Felony assault –
(a)
Every person who shall make an assault or battery, or both, with a dangerous weapon, or with acid or other dangerous substance, or by fire, or an assault or battery which results in serious bodily injury, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years.
(b) Where the provisions of "The Domestic Violence Prevention Act", chapter 29 of title 12, are applicable, the penalties for violation of this section shall also include the penalties as provided in § 12-29-5.
(c) "Serious bodily injury" means physical injury that:
(1) Creates a substantial risk of death;
(2) Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part, member or organ; or
(3) Causes serious permanent disfigurement or circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of a person.

It is important to hire a skilled defense lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process of gathering evidence and crafting a legal defense to the serious charges you are facing. Contact the RI Assault Lawyers at Marin and Barrett, Inc. today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case, your rights, and your options. We can be reached 24/7 by calling (401) 228-8271 or by email at [email protected].

RI Assault Lawyers at Marin and Barrett, Inc. defend individuals facing assault charges in Block Island, Bristol, Burrillville, Central Falls, Charlestown, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Warwick, Westerly, West Greenwich, West Warwick, Woonsocket.

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyers Rising Star Five Consecutive Years 2014-2019

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island Rising Star by SuperLawyers for 6 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2019. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.


Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Marin and Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.