Rhode Island Criminal Lawyer

What to Expect if You’re Accused of Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

Oct, 21 2021 - By: S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.
What to Expect if You’re Accused of Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

Facing a domestic violence accusation can completely turn your world upside down. Because Rhode Island places a strong focus on protecting families and children, domestic violence disputes are taken very seriously. You may feel stressed and overwhelmed by a domestic violence accusation, but remember that a Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer can help you navigate this legal challenge and help pave a path forward. Below you’ll find a brief guide on what to do and expect if you face a domestic violence arrest. 

What happens if I’m accused of domestic violence? 

A domestic violence accusation is typically a step before an actual domestic violence arrest. If someone accuses you of domestic violence, it’s important to take the allegations seriously. Ignoring the allegation or attempting to pressure or threaten the accuser will not be helpful. It’s best to give the accuser time and space to allow the overwhelming emotions to settle. Even if you haven’t yet been arrested, but you believe your accuser will contact the police, you can always speak with a Rhode Island domestic violence defense lawyer to receive guidance on managing an impending arrest. 

Who can be charged under the Rhode Island Domestic Violence Act?

To have a criminal charge be classified as “domestic,” the accuser and the defendant will have a domestic association. Rhode Island states the following relationships can qualify under a domestic violence charge:

  • Wife, husband, or ex-spouses
  • Anyone related by blood or marriage
  • Anyone who is currently living together or have lived together within the past three years
  • Anyone who has children in common, even if they don’t live together
  • Anyone involved in an intimate relationship or who has a significant dating relationship. The courts will generally determine the significance of an intimate relationship based on things like time, duration, and frequency of their interactions. 

What happens after a domestic violence arrest? 

First and most importantly, if you’re arrested for domestic violence, contact a Rhode Island domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. Do NOT contact the accuser because anything you say can be used against you in court. After the arrest, you’ll go to an arraignment hearing where you will enter a plea and a judge will determine your bail conditions. 

While facing a domestic violence charge can be scary and you may feel you have no options, it’s never advised to plead guilty. A domestic violence lawyer can help you understand the extent of your charges, potential punishments, and how their defense strategy and negotiation skills can help. You’ll also receive notice of your second court date at your arraignment hearing, which is referred to as the pre-trial conference. Lastly, the judge will issue a restraining order. It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of your restraining order, as a violation will lead to more legal trouble. 

What are the penalties for a domestic violence charge in Rhode Island? 

The punishments for a domestic violence charge will vary depending on the circumstances of each case and the severity of the charge. Generally, penalties for domestic violence in Rhode Island can lead to:

  • Time in jail 
  • Heavy fines
  • Mandatory participation in a domestic violence treatment program
  • Restraining Order/No Contact Order
  • A conviction on your criminal record

To avoid these penalties or to help minimize the extent of your penalties, contact a Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. 

Can a victim drop domestic violence charges?

In many cases, after the emotions settle, an alleged victim will ask to drop the domestic violence charges. In fact, when serious disputes happen, an individual will call the police for support or help ease the high tension with no intention to have someone arrested. However, according to the Rhode Island domestic violence laws, an arrest will most likely occur once a call is made and the police arrive. It’s also important to note that even if the alleged victim wants to drop the charges, the state will still choose to prosecute. That’s why it’s highly recommended to work with a domestic violence lawyer with experience as a prosecutor or who has a strong relationship with the prosecutor. 

How can a domestic violence lawyer help me? 

A domestic violence lawyer can assist you in many crucial ways when facing a domestic violence charge. S. Joshua Macktaz Esq. is a Rhode Island defense attorney that will be standing by your side at your arraignment hearing and every other step in the criminal justice process. He has extensive experience with domestic violence cases and has successfully represented the accused for years. S. Joshua Macktaz Esq. is a former prosecutor, making him highly skilled at negotiating with prosecutors and police officers. He can answer all of your questions, address your concerns, and create a desirable path forward. Call 401-861-1155 to learn more about what domestic violence lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. can do for you.

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