Rhode Island Domestic Violence Attorney

Kilroy Law Firm of Providence, Rhode Island

A woman who is a victim of domestic violence in a household in Rhode Island.

Domestic violence offenses are those that take place between relatives, individuals who have been in a relationship within the past year, individuals who share a child together, or cohabitants of at least three years. In Rhode Island, if a police officer responds to a call for domestic violence, and has probable cause to believe that crime has been committed, the officer is required by law to make an arrest. If you have been arrested, call our Rhode Island domestic violence attorney.

As a former prosecutor, our lawyer Noah J. Kilroy has litigated countless domestic violence cases. Noah J. Kilroy now uses that experience to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. Because evidence can go stale and witnesses tend to change their minds or forget critical facts that may exonerate you, it is critical that you contact our office immediately if you have been charged with domestic violence. You need the trusted Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer at Kilroy Law Firm on your case. Contact us today.

Unfortunately, domestic violence happens all too often in our society. Domestic violence affects women, men, and children; the aftermath may be devastating to everyone involved. Domestic violence disputes involving professional athletes, celebrities, and other public figures seem to appear in the national media on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately, not all domestic violence accusations are true, and many innocent defendants are left to deal with the consequences. While we should always take domestic violence matters seriously, the sad reality is that many claims of this type of violence are unfounded and without merit. In many circumstances, an individual alleging domestic violence does so for reasons other than abuse. For example, some individuals falsely allege domestic violence in a misguided effort to gain leverage in divorce and/or child custody matters. Revenge is also another motivation for false accusations.

These false claims result in extreme injustice to innocent defendants, as well as those individuals who truly suffer from domestic violence. Specifically, when an individual files a false or inaccurate domestic violence claim, the accused may suffer negative, life-altering consequences with respect to the custody of his or her children, termination of employment and volunteer work, the possibility of jail time, and a severe financial burden. Get a knowledgeable Rhode Island domestic violence attorney to help you answer all your questions.

Understanding Domestic Violence

A Rhode Island couple fighting with the possibility of turning into a violent fight.In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, domestic violence offenses are those that take place between relatives, individuals who have been in a relationship within the past year, individuals who share a child together, and/or those who have lived together for at least three years.

If a police officer responds to a call for domestic violence, and he or she has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, the officer is required by law to make an arrest. In other words, if an officer has probable cause to believe that the accused committed felony assault, physical threat of harm, or a violation of an existing protective order, an arrest will take place.

What If the Victim Does Not Press Charges?

Currently, the protocol of most Massachusetts and Rhode Island police departments dictates that an officer must arrest the accused even if the victim recants his or her allegations at the scene of the incident. This is true even if no other evidence exists to support the allegation of domestic violence. This “better safe than sorry” approach is understandable, of course. However, the practice allows for may arrest to take place based on very little or no evidence of a crime.

How Domestic Violence will Classify

If you face a domestic violence charge, the punishment you receive if convicted depends on the specific facts of your case. Certain domestic assault and battery charges are misdemeanors; a convicted defendant faces up to several months of prison time and significant fines. Even if a defendant receives probation rather than a prison sentence, it is not cheap. The court will often require the convicted individual to complete certified domestic violence and anger management programs, some of which may cost more than $3,500.

In other cases, charges may amount to aggravated domestic violence, which is a felony offense. In these situations, the penalties may include several years in prison. Prosecutors bring aggravated domestic violence charges when the accused seriously injured the victim, the victim is pregnant, or the victim is over 65 years old. Also, if an outstanding no-contact order was in place during the time of the alleged violence, prosecutors will seek aggravated charges. If a dangerous weapon is involved, the penalties are even more substantial.

Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

In addition to carrying potential criminal penalties, domestic violence allegations can result in a civil restraining order being placed against you. These orders prohibit you from having contact with the alleged victim and can have a significant impact on your life.

Restraining Orders

A person distressed due to accusations of domestic violence in Rhode Island.Rhode Island refers to these orders as “restraining orders.” These orders may have the following legal effects:

  • Prohibits physical contact and contact via phone, letter, or electronic communication, or through a third party
  • Can order support payments; valid for up to 90 days
  • Can award temporary custody and visitation
  • Can order the defendant to move out of a shared residence

The temporary order is valid for up to 21 days. If the permanent order is granted, it is effective for up to three years. It can be extended near the time of the expiration of three years.

Violating a family or district court restraining order is considered a criminal offense and can be punished by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

209A Protective Orders

Massachusetts uses a 209A protective order to protect victims of domestic violence. These orders are made in civil cases. However, violation of them ca