Rhode Island Assault Lawyer
Assault comes in various types and forms, but in any of its manifestations, it is a serious charge that can land you in jail. This is when talking to an experienced Rhode Island assault attorney can help your case.
Many people are confused about the crime of “assault.” The word itself connotes violence. However, you can be accused and convicted of assault without ever touching your accuser. You might think you showed restraint during a confrontation by not striking the person, only to find yourself facing charges for assault. If the victim felt threatened, that’s all it takes to constitute assault.
Battery charges, distinct from assault, involve some form of unwanted physical contact. The contact does not have to be a beating or have caused a serious injury to meet the definition; a threatening poke or a shove is all it takes to find yourself facing charges. If you are facing assault charges, contact Rhode Island assault lawyer Stefanie Murphy immediately.
Assault and Battery Charges in Rhode Island
The most basic assault or battery charge is simple assault or simple battery. In these cases, it’s likely that no one was hurt, but the contact or threatened contact was enough to raise concern in the accused of his or her safety. In Rhode Island, simple assault and simple battery are misdemeanors that can land you in jail for up to a year with up to $1,000 in fines.
Different Types of Felony Assault & Battery Crimes
- Felony Assault or Assault and Battery involves the use of a deadly weapon, acid or fire.
- Assault with the Intent to Commit a Specific Felony, including murder, sexual assault, burglary or robbery, is also a felony in itself. This is true even if the underlying intended crime never happened. Both of these charges can get you a sentence of at least a year or as much as 20 years in prison, if a serious injury occurs during the commission of the crime.
- Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in a House is yet a more serious assault crime. If you have been accused of entering someone’s home while armed with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit a robbery or murder, you are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years to life in prison. The operant word here is “intent,” so it will be your Rhode Island assault lawyer’s job to present a case demonstrating that you lacked the intent to commit a crime.
If you are accused of threatening someone with something that appeared to be a gun in Rhode Island, contact a Rhode Island assault lawyer. Even if it was a toy and even if there was no firearm actually involved, you could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if no one was injured. You could face up to ten years if a serious bodily injury occurred.
Enhanced Penalties for Aggravated Assault or Battery
Rhode Island law specifies certain classes of people who have a protected status, meaning that assault or battery on them may result in enhanced penalties of up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $1,500, or both. These include:
- Law enforcement personnel
- Disabled persons
- School employees
- Correction officers
- Public transit workers
- Various other specified public officials
Assault or battery on a person age 60 or older can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison, with up to $1,000 in charges. Due to these severe penalties, is vital to contact an experienced Rhode Island assault lawyer if you are facing assault charges.
Defenses to Assault Charges in Rhode Island
Although each case is very fact specific, individuals have a variety of defenses if one is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Some of the defenses are:
Defense of Another
Under the law, you have a right to protect yourself along with the right to protect others. You do not need to sit there and watch a person get assaulted and not act to help that person. Attorney Stefanie Murphy will speak to you and determine, based on the facts in your case, if this is a good defense for you.
It is likely that you would do anything for a family member or friend if they were being attacked in your presence. Safe to say, you’d probably do your utmost to defend yourself if you were in a similar predicament. Under the law you have a right to protect yourself. What you might view as self-defense could be seen differently from the eyes of the law and/or lawyers or jury members having to determine your fate.
Stop for a moment to think about how you can avoid a serious assault charge or charges, ones that could lead to lengthy jail time:
- Bring forward any eyewitnesses to support your story.
- Find video evidence to back your statements. For instance, a fight in a nightclub or sporting event is likely captured on videotape by cameras at the facilities. In today’s Internet age, you also have countless people with cell phones on-hand, phones that can record in an instance. If you have such video backing your side of the story, present it to your Rhode Island criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
- Point out any injuries that are likened to self-defense wounds.
Many times the events that actually happened are part of a mutual fight. The police rush to judgment and decide to charge one of the two parties when really they should have charged both parties or no one.
There are many other defenses such as that there was no dangerous weapon, that there was no bodily injury, that the allegations are made up because the person making the allegations wants to get back at you.
The Need for an Assault Attorney When Facing Charges
Rhode Island’s assault and battery statutes are complex and can be confusing, and the potential penalties are daunting. A dedicated and experienced assault lawyer in Rhode Island can usually offer credible defenses.
- The assault or battery never happened.
- You were not the person who committed the assault, you were wrongly identified or you had an alibi.
- You did are guilty of assault, but you did it in defense of yourself, your property or another person.
- Consent, used most often in the context of sexual assault (rape).
Rhode Island Criminal Law FAQs
What is a “dangerous weapon” or “dangerous substance”?
A weapon or substance that can kill or cause serious bodily injury (i.e. guns, knives, fire, acid, etc.). Even shoes, keys, and a car can all fight under the definition of a dangerous weapon.
What is a “bodily injury”?
A physical injury that causes physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
What is a “serious bodily injury”?
A physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes loss of function to any body part or organ, and/or causes permanent bodily disfigurement.
Contact an Experienced Rhode Island Assault Lawyer
If you have been accused of assault or battery, you are undoubtedly stressed and concerned for your future. No one wants to go to prison or go through life with a criminal record. Having the right Rhode Island assault lawyer can make all the difference. Super Lawyers “Rising Star” Stefanie A. Murphy has the experience, knowledge, and skill to help you achieve the best possible outcome in the circumstances. Bring Rhode Island assault attorney Stefanie A. Murphy on board immediately if you’ve been arrested.
In a few cases, Stefanie can prevent prosecutors from filing charges at all. In many cases, Stefanie will negotiate to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely. When it is in your best interest, she will take your case before a jury for a full acquittal. Call the Criminal Law Offices of Stefanie A. Murphy right away for the aggressive, focused and committed defense you deserve in Providence and throughout Rhode Island. The initial consultation is free and payment plans are available to fit your budget.
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