Law

What Do I Need to Know and Do if I’m Charged With Assault in Rhode Island?

Facing an assault charge can be a complicated and overwhelming experience. An assault conviction can lead to a wide range of consequences, depending on the severity of the charge. Regardless if you’re facing a misdemeanor simple assault charge or a felony domestic violence assault charge, there are some essential steps you can take now to minimize your consequences later.

Contact a Rhode Island assault lawyer immediately.

Without a doubt, the very first thing you should do is contact an experienced Rhode Island assault lawyer. A lawyer who has a history of handling various assault cases can give you the guidance and support you need at this challenging time. Your RI assault defense lawyer can assist you through your arraignment hearing, begin collecting new evidence to support your case, identify key witnesses, and conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

The sooner you call a lawyer, the better your chances of achieving a successful outcome. You want to give your attorney as much time as possible to review your case and design a defense strategy. In addition, many defendants can easily make mistakes without proper representation. For instance, saying too much to the police, contacting the alleged victim, or not appearing at court hearings can make matters much worse.

Do not speak to law enforcement without your lawyer present.

While it’s important to cooperate with the police, remember that you don’t have to answer any questions without your lawyer present. It can be tempting to want to explain your side of the story, but your words can easily get twisted in these cases. It’s always best to have your lawyer present when police question you about the assault.

Learn more about your assault charges.

Assault charges in Rhode Island can be complicated and confusing. This offense can be classified in different ways depending on your circumstances. Learning about your charge can ensure that you’re not facing an unjust or inappropriate criminal charge.

For example, if no one was hurt in the incident and no unwanted touching occurred (e.g., no punches were thrown), you certainly shouldn’t be facing a felony assault charge, despite what the alleged victim says.

Here’s a brief overview of the differences between assault charges:

  • Simple Assault – A simple assault charge can occur when someone threatens another person. It does not have to involve physical contact, only a threat that places someone in a state of fear. For instance, by merely saying that you’re going to hurt someone, you can be accused of simple assault in Rhode Island even if you never touch them.
  • Battery – A battery charge can occur when there’s unwanted touching. Note that this doesn’t necessarily need to result in bodily harm. Simply pushing an individual can lead to a battery charge.
  • Domestic Assault – An assault is categorized as domestic when it occurs between family members, spouses, or intimate partners.
  • Felony Assault – Felony assaults meet more aggressive requirements. For example, a felony assault charge can occur when someone threatens another person with a weapon, causes bodily harm, or sexually assaults them.

Be sure to provide your Rhode Island assault lawyer with as many details as possible about the incident. They may be able to work towards having charges dropped or lessening the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Do not contact the alleged victim.

After assault charges are brought forth, a judge may issue a defendant with a no-contact order, a protective order to keep the defendant away from the accuser. Regardless if this was a random stranger that you argued with in public, or a romantic partner that’s accusing you of assault, do not contact them.

Contacting the accuser can violate the terms of your no-contact order, which can worsen your penalties and punishments. In addition, remember that anything you say can be used against you in court. Even if you mean no harm or you’re attempting to clear the air, contacting the accuser can lead to harsher consequences.

Try to remain calm and respectful when in police custody or when appearing in court.

Your assault case will move through various steps of the criminal justice system. This process can be stressful, overwhelming, and frustrating. It’s essential to remain as calm as possible when in police custody or when appearing in court.

Hearing assault charges issued against you or hearing the accuser’s side of the story can be emotionally exhausting. However, outbursts, yelling, disrespecting law enforcement, or making physical threats will make it much more difficult to reach a positive outcome. Let your lawyer guide you through these steps and follow their lead when appearing before a judge.

Summary: What You Need to Know and Do When Charged with Assault in RI

Rhode Island takes assault charges very seriously, so it’s crucial that you contact an assault lawyer as soon as possible when charged. The sooner you get an assault lawyer, the better your results. Your lawyer can guide you through each step of your case and conduct their own comprehensive investigation into the assault incident.

Remember that you should cooperate, be respectful, and not resist arrest with a police officer. However, you do not have to answer their questions without your lawyer present. A police officer may pretend to be on your side, but remember that they do not have your best interest in mind.

It’s also helpful to learn more about your specific assault charges, never contact the alleged victim, and try to remain as calm as possible when in police custody or court. Allow your RI assault lawyer to counsel you through each phase of the case and always turn to them if you have any pressing questions or concerns about your assault charges.

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