If you have been charged with a crime in Providence, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. As a violent crime, assault and battery charges can result in severe penalties, including felony charges in some cases. At the Law Office of Jay Bianco, our lawyer provides aggressive, comprehensive, and dedicated legal services to those who are facing criminal charges and need an advocate on their side. We strongly believe that all those facing criminal charges deserve to be held innocent until proven guilty, and will protect your rights throughout the criminal defense process. To learn more about how we can assist you if you are facing charges for assault and battery, please reach us today.
Defining Assault and Battery in Rhode Island
There are numerous crimes related to assault and battery in Rhode Island, including felony assault, simple assault or battery, assault with intent to commit a felony, battery – criminal negligence, and various crimes of assault and battery against certain persons. While each crime has a specific definition, in general, assault refers to putting someone in fear of physical contact or creating a threat of physical contact. Battery, on the other hand, is the actual act of unwanted touching (assault doesn’t necessarily involve physical contact).
What the Prosecution Has to Prove to Secure a Conviction
The standard of proof in a criminal case is high, which means that the prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant in question committed the crime of which they are being accused. If any doubt exists, then the defendant cannot be convicted of the crime. In order to win a case against a defendant, then, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant intentionally threatened the victim;
- The victim of the defendant’s attack felt that they were at risk of mminent bodily harm; and
- The defendant attempted to, or actually did, apply force of a physical nature to the victim.
In addition to the above, if any specific charges are being brought forth against the defendant other than simple assault and battery, the prosecution will have the burden of proving the elements of these charges, too. For example, if the defendant is being charged with felony assault, the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant had in their possession a dangerous weapon at the time of the alleged assault, and that the victim of the crime suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the crime.
Penalties for Assault and Battery
The penalties for assault and battery vary greatly depending on the type of assault and battery of which the defendant is convicted. The most basic–and least severe–assault and battery charge is simple assault and battery. Per Rhode Island Code, Criminal Offenses, Section 11-5-3, a simple assault or battery crime can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and an imprisonment period of up to one year, or both in some cases. Felony assault–which is an assault that is made upon another person with a dangerous weapon and which results in serious bodily injury to the victim–on the other hand, is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years. If the assault is a felony assault that does not result in serious bodily injury or does not result in injury at all, then the period of imprisonment is up to six years.
Battery resulting from criminal negligence is another serious charge in Rhode Island. Per statute, battery through criminal negligence occurs when “serious bodily injury…occurs as a proximate result of criminal negligence…” Bodily injury as a result of criminal negligence is a felony offense in Rhode Island, and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Defenses to Assault and Battery
If you are facing assault and battery charges, many years spent behind bars, thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, and a black mark on your criminal record are all real possibilities. In order to protect your best interests, you need to exercise your constitutional rights by reaching out to an experienced Providence criminal defense lawyer who can help you to explore your options and build your defense. Potential defense to assault and battery include:
- Self-defense, which, along with defense of others, is one of the most common defenses to assault and battery charges; and
- Consent of the victim, which may be appropriate if the victim and the defendant had agreed to have a fight, for example, or if the victim had consented to an activity where being injured was probable, such as participation in a contact sport.
While less common, the defense of privilege also exists. This defense applies when the defendant had the right to use force against the victim, and caused harm to them–perhaps unintentionally–while exercising that right (i.e. a police officer arresting someone).
Note that while the above defenses are the most common types of defenses to assault and battery charges, they may not be applicable in your case. Our lawyer will work hard to build a defense that’s most appropriate for you. If pleading innocent and defending yourself against charges is not viable, we will help you to understand your other options, including entering a plea deal with the prosecution.
How Working with an Experienced Providence Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Working with a criminal defense lawyer is crucial when you are facing charges. Attorney Jay Bianco will explain the charges you’re facing and potential penalties, build your defense, work with you to negotiate a plea bargain, protect your constitutional rights, advocate for a reduced sentence, file motions to protect your best interests, and make sure that your case is as judicious as possible.
Call the Law Office of Jay Bianco Today
If you are facing criminal charges, don’t wait any longer to hire a criminal defense lawyer. You can schedule a meeting with our lawyer, Attorney Jay Bianco, by calling our office directly or sending us a message requesting a consultation. We can travel to your location if you are unable to travel to ours.