What constitutes a crime in Rhode Island may range from speeding a few miles over the speed limit to performing an illegal U-turn to pocketing a lipstick at the convenience store to using a controlled substance and much, much more. But of all the acts that are illegal, violent crimes are often punished the most harshly in our state. At the Law Office of Jay Bianco, our violent crimes lawyer in Providence understands just how serious charges for violent crimes are. If you are facing criminal charges for a violent crime, your life may never be the same if you are convicted. To learn more about how our law firm can help protect your best interests and provide you with the defense services to which you’re entitled, call us today.
Violent Crimes in Rhode Island
If you have been charged with a violent crime in Rhode Island, it is critical that you partner with an attorney who understands the charges you’re facing, how to protect you against those charges, and what steps to take right now. At the Law Office of Jay Bianco, our skilled lawyer has the experience you can depend on. Our law firm represents those facing an array of charges involving violent crimes, including:
- Murder, manslaughter, and homicide. The crime of homicide, or murder, is found in Rhode Island Code Section 11-23-1, and occurs when a person unlawfully kills another human being with “malice aforethought.” Manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when a person kills another without malice aforethought.
- Rape. Rape is referred to as first-degree sexual assault in Rhode Island statutes, and occurs when a person engages in sexual penetration with another and the accused knows that the victim is mentally incapacitated or disabled, or physical helpless; the accused uses force or coercion; the accused is able to overcome the victim through concealment; or the accused engages in medical treatment of the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification or stimulation.
- Assault and battery. Assault and battery occurs when a person first puts the fear of physical harm into another person, and then actually acts to carry out the threat of physical harm. For example, punching someone at a bar can be considered assault and battery.
- Burglary. Burglary occurs when a party attempts to unlawfully enter a structure with the intent of committing a crime. If burglary involves harm to another person, the crime is more serious.
- Domestic violence. A domestic violence crime occurs when a family or household member puts another in fear of imminent harm, or actually engages in violent acts against them.
The above list is not fully inclusive. To be sure, Section 11-47-2 reads that “crimes of violence” include all of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them, including murder, mansalughter, rape, sexual assault, child molestation, kidnapping, arson, mayhem, robbery, breaking and entering, felony violations involving the sale or manufacture of a controlled substance, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery resulting in severe injury, and assault with intent to commit a felony.
Penalties for Violent Crimes
The penalties for violent crimes are very harsh in our state. While the extent of penalty that you face will depend on the type of crime with which you are convicted, as well as, in some cases, your personal criminal history, you may be facing serious first- and second-degree felony charges, which could lead to :
- Life in prison
- Years of time spent in prison
- No eligibility for parole
- Thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in fines
- A permanent mark on your criminal record that prevents you from securing housing or other opportunities in the future
- The loss of your job or professional license
- The loss of custody of your children and More.
Defenses to Violent Crimes
The defenses to violent crimes that may be available to you will very much depend on your situation. Some defense to violent crimes are the following:
- Self-defense. Defense of one’s self or another person is one of the most common defenses to violent crime charges used. You must prove that you believed yourself to be in imminent and immediate harm in order to use this defense effectively.
- Lack of intent or premeditation. Another defense that you may be able to use is that you lacked any intent to harm the person involved in the accident, or that your crime wasn’t premeditated at all. This could result in charges against you being reduced.
- Insanity. The insanity defense is sometimes used in Rhode Island, with the burden of proof put on the defendant.
- Lack of evidence/legally obtained evidence. While arguing that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the evidence against you was obtained unlawfully, doesn’t necessarily make a case for your innocence, it can result in having charges against you dropped or reduced, or in the jury issuing a verdict of ‘not guilty’.