Domestic violence and family violence are very serious charges in Rhode Island. If you find yourself being accused of, investigated for or charged with domestic violence in RI, you need to hire an attorney with experience handling these types of cases. Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer Matthew Marin is a highly experienced and aggressive Rhode Island criminal defense attorney with significant experience with the Rhode Island criminal justice and court system.
At the Law Offices of Matthew T. Marin, Esquire, Inc., RI Domestic Violence Lawyer Matthew Marin will personally handle your Rhode Island domestic assault and battery case. He has extensive experience handling all types of simple assault / domestic charges and has likely handled one just like yours. Contact Attorney Marin today for a no fee, confidential consultation at our convenient downtown office locations. Attorney Marin is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by phone at 401-228-8271, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via our contact form.
*Read About Rhode Island's Domestic Strangulation Law, Domestic Vandalism Law, and Domestic Disorderly Conduct Law*
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.
(1) WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVED MY GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND TOLD THE POLICE THAT THEY DID NOT WANT TO "PRESS CHARGES" - WHY WAS I ARRESTED?
The arrest was most likely made because it was required by Rhode Island law. Rhode Island law requires police responding to a domestic violence situation to make an arrest and take into custody the alleged perpetrator when the officer has "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed. Rhode Island's domestic violence law further mandates that the decision to arrest and charge SHALL NOT be dependent on the specific consent of the victim or be based solely on the request of a victim. The duties of Rhode Island police officers responding to domestic violence situations is spelled out in Rhode Island General Law Section 12-29-3.
(2) WHEN THE POLICE ARRESTED ME MY GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND TOLD THE POLICE THAT THEY WERE NOT AFRAID OF ME AND THAT THEY DID NOT WANT A “NO CONTACT” ORDER - WHY WAS A NO CONTACT ORDER PUT IN PLACE?
Under Rhode Island law, prior to the release of any individual on bail after they have been charged with a crime of domestic violence they must appear before a bail commissioner or a District Court Judge. Rhode Island Law mandates that the “Court or bail commissioner authorizing release shall issue a no-contact order prohibiting the person charged or arrested from having contact with the victim.” The full requirement can be found in Rhode Island General Law Section 12-29-4(a)(1). Once issued, only the alleged victim can request that the no contact order issued by the Court be modified or vacated. The defendant cannot unilaterally request that the Court terminate or modify the no contact order.
(3) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "NO CONTACT" ORDER AND A RESTRAINING ORDER?
Understanding the differences between a "no contact" order and a restraining order is extremely important and a question we are asked frequently when assisting clients with domestic violence situations. A criminal "no contact" order is an order by the Court issued at the time of arraignment prohibiting the Defendant from having contact with the alleged victim. No contact orders issued by the Court as part of a criminal proceeding are extremely serious. A violation of a criminal no contact order constitutes a new criminal offense, violation of a no contact order, as well as a violation of the Defendant's bail. Alternatively, a Restraining Order genearlly has the same terms as a "No Contact" order but is issued as part of a civil or family court proceeding. If the parties are married or have a child in common, a civil restraining order may be issued by a Judge of the Family Court based on the Plaintiff's application and affidavit. If the parties are in a substantive dating relationship, a Judge of the District Court may issue a civil Restraining Order based on the Plaintiff's application and affidavit. Lastly, if the parties do not have one of those specified relationships a Judge of the Superior Court can issue a civil restraining order. Restraining Orders issued by the Family Court and the District Court carry criminal penalties, known as a violation of a restraining order, and can subject the Defendant to one year in jail or more based on the nature of the charge. A violation of a restraining order issued by a Superior Court Judge is enforceable only through contempt proceedings in the Superior Court and does not generally lead to the Defendant's incarceration.
(4) MY HUSBAND/BOYFRIEND OR WIFE/GIRLFRIEND WAS ARRESTED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES. HOW CAN I GET THE NO CONTACT ORDER DROPPED?
If you are the alleged victim of a crime involving domestic violence, the Court will automatically issue a no contact order when the Defendant is arraigned before the Justice of the Peace or a District Court Judge. The Defendant cannot request that the Court not issue or vacate a no contact order. Only the alleged victim can request that the no contact order be vacated. Moreover, the alleged victim must personally appear in Court and request that the Court terminate the no contact order. In most cases, the Court will ask that the alleged victim speak with the Domestic Violence Court Advocate prior to addressing the Court. Finally, in Rhode Island the alleged victim’s wishes do not determine whether the no contact order is terminated. The decision to terminate a no contact order is solely within the Judge’s discretion.