Why Assault Charges Arise from Simple Situations

There are several potential sentences due to the complex and confusing definitions of an assault in the state of Rhode Island.  In fact, most assault charges originate from simple situations but can lead to serious criminal charges.  And, I’m sure having a criminal record or jail time on your back is not something you want.  

Assault, implying violence, doesn’t have to involve any physical contact.  If the accuser felt threatened or fearful, that’s all it takes to constitute an assault charge.  Battery on the other hand involves unwanted physical contact.  Now, this means not only a beating, but an intense poke falls under the definition of battery.  The first thing to take grasp on is the different types of assault and the penalties that come with them. 

Simple Assault and Simple Battery
If the circumstances didn’t involve a serious bodily injury or dangerous weapon, the accusation is considered a simple assault or simple battery charge.  Simple Assault would entail an attempt at physically touching another person without consent.  Simple Battery on the other hand calls for nonconsensual touching of another person.  In Rhode Island, the penalty is classified as a misdemeanor, which could land you one year of jail time and you could even handle a $1,000 dollar fine as well. 

Felony Assault and Battery 
Now the circumstances do involve a serious bodily injury caused by a dangerous weapon, acid, or fire.  This results in a Felony Assault and Battery charge.  A serious bodily injury is defined by an injury with a risk of death or impairment to the body or an organ that causes permanent deformation.  The penalty in Rhode Island is imprisonment for up to 20 years. 

Intent Assault and Battery
Intent being the important word in this situation, means the crime had a resulting purpose of murder, sexual assault, burglary, or robbery.  These are all felonies in themselves. You can still be charged with this even if the intended crime never happened.  A minimum of one year and up to 20 years in prison is the result of this felony charge.  However, if the act is done inside a home, a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison is sentenced and could possibly be a life sentence. 

Enhanced Penalties
The state of Rhode Island has laws specific to different classes of people in which they are heavily protected. The classes include: 

Being charged with assault and battery on them results in an enhanced penalty.  An additional fine of up to $1,500 dollars and three years in prison could be the result.  If the person is 60 years of age or older, the fine is up to $1,000 dollars and five years in prison. 

Different Defenses to Assault Charges in Rhode Island
Each case will be known to be fact specific which allows a variety of defenses if being charged with assault or battery.  Defense of another allows you to have the right of protecting others.  Which means if someone is getting assaulted right in front of you, you can get up and act on the matter under the law.  Self-Defense is very similar but allows you to protect yourself in the case of an assault.  This can be tricky because some people may view your self-defense mechanism very differently than you did.  What would help in such a situation would be proof.  Eyewitnesses are a great source to explain exactly what happened in the moment and may even have photo or video evidence to bring forward.  Some cases may even be labeled as a mutual fight when police rush to judgement and false charges.  

It would be in your best interest to have an experienced and local assault lawyer to relieve the stress and concern of your future.  Contact Stefanie Murphy to discuss your case in which all your rights and options will be considered under the law.  Call the office at (401) 316-9423 to schedule your free consultation.