Being convicted of a domestic violence charge can have long lasting negative effects on your ability to obtain employment, own a firearm or even see your children. If you have been charged with the crime of assault or battery against a family member, you must meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Domestic Violence and Abuse Crimes
Domestic violence is a specific type of assaultive behavior directed toward members of a person’s family or household. It generally includes spouses, parents, children, romantic partners, grandparents and grandchildren.
You may face domestic violence penalties as a result of committing the crimes of simple assault, trespass, vandalism, sexual assault, or disorderly conduct. If the prosecution can demonstrate that you committed these crimes against a family member, the penalties and sentence will be enhanced under applicable domestic violence laws.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
At your arraignment, the judge will order no-contact order. Violation of a no-contact order is both a violation of bail and a new criminal offense. This can be very complicated as many people accused of domestic violence live with the complaining witness and cannot afford to maintain two residences. A swift resolution to the original domestic violence charge is critical to getting life back on track. If the complainant in your case is the parent of your children, this could result in a difficult situation in terms of custody and visitation.
Domestic violence defendants are not permitted to own or possess firearms, and many are forced to undergo lengthy and expensive domestic violence counseling as a provision of their sentences. In Rhode Island, a second or subsequent offense includes a mandatory prison sentence.
Given the life-altering nature of a domestic violence conviction, it is imperative that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can work to protect your freedom and relationship with your family. If this is your first time facing criminal charges and your history is clear of other felonies and misdemeanors, your attorney may be able to obtain leniency for you as a first-time offender and possible even a dismissal of the pending charges.