- Domestic Violence
- Other Crimes
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Rhode Island’s domestic violence law is very tough, and the State is always looking to make them even tougher. If you have been arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense in Rhode Island, it is critical that you hire the best and most experienced Domestic Violence Attorney to represent you to avoid a domestic violence conviction. Starting my career as a prosecutor in the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office (1993-1997) gave me the knowledge and experience to handle domestic abuse cases that other Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers simply do NOT have. And, for the last 27+ years I have taken all the inside knowledge I learned as a former prosecutor to successfully represent hundreds and hundreds of private clients charged with Rhode Island domestic violence offenses.
The potential penalties for a Rhode Island domestic violence crime are harsh, and no one wants to be known as a “wife beater” for committing spousal abuse or assault. Putting your reputation and your future in the hands of a less-experienced domestic violence attorney to defend your criminal charge is basically gambling with your life. I have the knowledge, experience and long-term relationships with prosecutors to aggressively defend your Rhode Island domestic violence crime and get your case DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED from your record. Meaning no domestic violence conviction to follow you through life.
In Rhode Island, for a criminal charge to be designated as a domestic violence offense, the victim and the defendant must have a domestic relationship. The Rhode Island domestic violence law lists the following domestic relationships as qualifying for a domestic violence charge:
Every crime committed between people with a domestic relationship (as defined above) qualifies as a Rhode Island domestic violence charge. That is a pretty wide-scope, and even more reason why hiring the best Rhode Island domestic violence attorney to avoid a domestic violence conviction is so important. This is a list of the most common domestic violence charges handled under Rhode Island’s domestic violence law:
There are many ways a skilled Rhode Island criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence law can defend your domestic violence case.
First, it is very important to note that in Rhode Island domestic violence cases, the “State takes over the case”. You have probably heard this, but it means the State (prosecutor) gets to decide whether to pursue the domestic violence crime against you. It is not a decision left to the victim in your domestic relationship as it would be in a non-domestic abuse case. This means it is not up to your spouse or intimate partner or roommate to decide whether to proceed with the domestic violence case against you. Once the 911 call is made about a criminal charge to the law enforcement and the police make an arrest, the decision to prosecute the assault case lies completely with the State.
Another very important reason why choosing a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney with long-term relationships with all the State’s prosecutors to defend your domestic violence case can make a huge difference in the outcome of any accusation of assault, avoiding any type of domestic violence conviction.
However, although the State takes over the case, the alleged victim’s wishes are a top consideration for the prosecutor in deciding the outcome of your case.
In many Rhode Island domestic violence cases, the victim wants to drop the domestic assault charges against his/her spouse or intimate partner. This happens in the majority of domestic abuse cases. Many times law enforcement is called by the victim in the domestic relationship with no intention of getting anyone arrested and to simply settle a dispute, and it was never a matter of a family violence charge or a domestic battery charge. Unfortunately, once the police arrive to investigate a Rhode Island domestic violence call, someone is getting arrested due to the domestic violence law.
I have successfully defeated hundreds of domestic violence cases by interviewing the alleged victim and having that person attend court with me to ask the prosecutor to drop the domestic assault charges. I strongly believe this is where my long-term relationships with the State’s prosecutors benefits my Rhode Island domestic violence clients the most.
Another strong tool for defeating your Rhode Island domestic violence case is the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I am sure you have heard of “pleading the 5th” in a Court to avoid answering questions.
An experienced and knowledgeable Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer knows how to use the 5th Amendment to your advantage in your domestic violence case.
The majority of Rhode Island domestic violence cases happen behind closed doors, with only 2 people in the room. If the victim in your domestic relationship committed a domestic battery charge against you and/or some other spousal abuse against you (it takes 2 to tango) he/she can now invoke the 5th Amendment and REFUSE TO TESTIFY in Court about your criminal charge against you. This is because what he/she may say on the witness stand could get him/her arrested for a domestic violence charge as well. If the alleged victim “takes the 5th” and refuses to testify, and there were no other people (witnesses) in the house at the time, then the State has no evidence to present against you in Court and your Rhode Island domestic violence charges will be dismissed and expunged.
Additionally, I have successfully defended Rhode Island domestic violence charges by proving the victim had made up false accusations of domestic violence or abuse against my Client. Why would a spouse or intimate partner in a domestic relationship ever make up such serious and false accusations? Because a spouse can gain an advantage in a divorce proceeding or other family law proceeding by getting the other spouse arrested for a Rhode Island domestic violence case. An experienced and aggressive Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer will obtain relationship histories, subpoena the spouse’s alcohol or mental health counseling records, photograph a Client’s own injuries and many other techniques to show a spouse or intimate partner has made false accusations of domestic violence. All Rhode Island domestic violence lawyers are NOT the same.
If you have been arrested for a Rhode Island domestic violence charge(s), your first court appearance will be within a couple of days of your arrest at one of Rhode Island’s four District Court buildings.
It is critical to the outcome of your case to have a knowledgeable and experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer standing next to you in court.
If you hire me to represent you, I will be the lawyer standing by your side in front of the judge. Unlike so many other Rhode Island criminal defense attorneys, I do NOT send associates to court to do my job.
The first court appearance is called an arraignment, and is a very quick appearance in Court. Most domestic violence clients are surprised at how quickly an arraignment takes place.
At the arraignment, we will stand in front of a judge who has extensive experience with family violence charges, and with the police prosecutor standing next to us. The police prosecutor will then read off the abuse and domestic violence charges to the judge, and we will answer those domestic assault charges by saying “not guilty” in response. The judge will then release you on bail, called personal recognizance, which is simply your promise to come back for all future court dates. You will not have to post any money to walk out of the courthouse. The Judge will then give us our second court date, called a pre-trial conference, which will take place approximately 2-3 weeks after the arraignment. Unfortunately, the Judge will also issue a restraining order preventing you from having any contact whatsoever with the alleged victim in your Rhode Island domestic violence case.
The protective order can be a huge burden for the weeks it is in place.
Folks charged with Rhode Island domestic abuse charges who then get a restraining order can no longer live in the same location as their spouse and children while the case is pending.
No contact means exactly that…no contact. Not in person, by phone, email, card or social media..
Further, any violation of the protective order is a new criminal offense AND a violation of your bail, which could lead to 90 days at the ACI.
The restraining order is a serious consequence of being arrested in a Rhode Island domestic violence case. There are some Judges who, under certain circumstances, will not issue a protective order at the arraignment. This is a huge victory for a Client, and another reason to hire the best Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
The 2-3 weeks in between the arraignment and the pre-trial conference is called the Discovery period. This is when I am obtaining all the police reports, photographs and other evidence law enforcement has in your Rhode Island domestic violence case, and sharing every document with you. My law office policy is to make sure every Client sees every document in his/her case. This is a team effort. Once we are in possession of the police reports, I then conduct my own investigation into your Rhode Island domestic violence case in preparation for the pre-trial conference, and we schedule a meeting together to discuss all the evidence the police have, as well as our domestic violence defense to the charges. Then, at the pre-trial conference I am fully prepared to aggressively defend your Rhode Island domestic violence case with the prosecutor from the city or town who arrested you. My goal in every single case is to have the domestic assault charges DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED off of your record.
If a person is convicted in a Rhode Island misdemeanor domestic violence case, or for felony domestic violence, the penalties can be harsh. These penalties can include :
Hiring the best Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer will help you avoid all of these penalties by getting your domestic assault charges DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED from your record.
Check the complete Rhode Island’s Domestic Violence Laws
Every person convicted of a Rhode Island domestic abuse charge must enroll in, and successfully complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program. Another reason to hire the best Rhode Island Domestic Violence Lawyer to give you the best chance to avoid these classes. These classes are taught by counselors and domestic violence experts. You must attend 26, one-hour sessions and pay a fee to take these mandatory classes.
This batterer’s intervention program can be in addition to alcohol counseling or mental health counseling if convicted of a Rhode Island domestic violence charge. Participants are held accountable for their attendance and participation in these classes. If a person misses a class or fails to actively participate in these classes it can be considered a violation of probation and can lead to jail. Bottom line, an aggressive and knowledgeable Rhode Island criminal defense attorney gives you the best chance of avoiding these classes.
Mary Osborne (Contact: David Dean)
2020 Elmwood Avenue
Warwick, RI 02888
Groups available in Warwick
George Sheehan (Contact: Deb Parente)
1052 Park Avenue
Cranston, RI 02910
Groups available in Bristol/Warren, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston/North Providence, Middletown/Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, Westerly, and Woonsocket
(Division of Gateway Healthcare)
103 Bacon Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Fax: (401) 658-3757
Groups Available in Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket
1 James P. Murphy Highway
West Warwick, RI 02893
Groups available in Coventry, Cranston, Johnston, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, Westerly, and Woonsocket
Police Report: Alleged victim contacts Cumberland Police and reports that she has been struck in the face by Client. Police arrive at Client’s home and see fresh red marks on the victim’s face and Client admits to slapping the victim in the face. Client is arrested by the law enforcement.
Result: DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED OFF RECORD
Police Report: Client discovers through emails that spouse is having an affair with a coworker. Client is alleged to have struck intimate partner in the face, thrown spouse on the bed and held spouse down, inferring sexual assault. Spouse gives a full written statement to the Newport Police Department detailing the alleged assault, and law enforcement observes red marks on spouse’s face and neck.
Result: DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED OFF RECORD
Police Report: Client is alleged to have struck her daughter in the mouth while they were driving together in a car. Burrillville Police observe redness to daughter’s face, and Client confesses to law enforcement that she hit her daughter.
Result: DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED OFF RECORD
Police Report: Johnston Police respond to a report of a domestic assault and domestic battery charge between Client and his wife. Wife gives a written statement indicating that Client had struck her numerous times, and police observe the wife to have redness and bruising around her right eye.
Result: DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED OFF RECORD
Police Report: Mother of Client’s child and Client get into verbal altercation in a rented motel room. Alleged victim reports that Client slapped and choked after an argument over money. Police respond to the motel for a call of child abuse, and observe red marks and bruising on the victim’s face and neck. An independent witness renting the room adjacent to Client’s room reports hearing a woman screaming “don’t hurt me” and “get off of me”. The client was on a 10 year suspended sentence and probation from a prior conviction.
Result: VIOLATION OF PROBATION WITHDRAWN; DOMESTIC ASSAULT CHARGES DISMISSED
See all my Client’s Victories.
If you are looking online for “best domestic violence lawyers near me in Rhode Island”, or “lawyers for domestic violence” and need and experienced Rhode Island Domestic Violence Lawyer call S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today at (401) 861-1155 for a free consultation.
Rhode Island Domestic Violence Lawyers Office
Phone: (401) 861-1155