Criminal charges and criminal prosecutions in Rhode Island are often inextricably intertwined with child custody, paternity, visitation, property rights, restraining orders, divorce and family law issues, either directly or indirectly. There could be multiple proceedings pending in Rhode Island Courts, simultaneously. For example, there could be the following cases pending at the same time:
- criminal prosecution involving a no contact order,
- Providence Family Court complaint protection from abuse
- a child custody battle or a divorce in RI
Divorce and Criminal law in RI
If the parties are not married, in addition to the criminal proceedings, there could be a miscellaneous petition for custody and visitation. There also may be a DCYF (abuse, neglect or dependency) proceeding going forward. There also could be a RI child support case, paternity proceeding or even a RI Family Court juvenile proceeding. If you were arrested and charged with a criminal charge in RI then you should contact a Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer. If you need legal help with a divorce in RI, then contact Rhode Island divorce lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.
What is a “domestic” criminal offense in Rhode Island?
This article applies to misdemeanor criminal charges in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. A misdemeanor in RI is a “domestic” offense if it involves designated family members, a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. The following offenses can be considered domestic offenses under the laws of the Ocean state:
- failure to relinquish telephone
- harassing phone calls
- disorderly conduct
- other criminal charges
If the police assert that there is domestic angle to an assault, the prosecution will be for a “domestic assault” rather than just an “assault.” If an accused is arrested and charged with a domestic offense, a no contact order will issue in favor of the alleged victim or victims. If there is a no Contact order, it will be a crime for the criminal accused to have any contact with the alleged victim. The issuance of no contact order may wreak havoc upon the family, especially when the alleged accused and the victim are married or have a child together. If the victim and the criminal defendant are residing together then the local police may throw the accused out of his or her residence / home. This quasi eviction creates an entirely new set of challenges for the affected family unit. In some instances, the accused perpetrator is the sole provider of support for the family and the children.
Visitation and custodial issue | no contact order
If there are minor children involved then visitation and custodial issues may arise, immediately. The father or mother who was accused of the criminal offense may desire visitation and parenting time with his or her child. The alleged victim may or may not want the alleged criminal to visit with the children. The defendant needs his personal belongings such as clothes, jacket, personal papers, bills, toiletries, tools, computer, work clothes etc. In some cases the victim obtains a restraining order from the Providence Family Court or the 6th Division District Court. The victim may also demand child support. Often the criminal defendant has difficulty affording child support after retaining a RI criminal lawyer.
Should I get a top Rhode Island Criminal defense lawyer or Divorce lawyer to represent me in a criminal law or divorce case in Rhode Island?
A Rhode Island attorney is definitely needed for serious matters such as divorce, child custody and criminal causes of actions. The old adage that is often bandied around is that a person who is their own lawyer has a fool for a client. Rhode Island divorce attorneys and RI criminal defense lawyers are intimately familiar with the court process, RI laws, the judges and magistrates as well as the inner workings of our system of justice. If you are facing criminal charges in Rhode Island and Providence plantations you may have a right to a free RI criminal defense attorney from the Public Defender’s office, if you meet income and eligibility guidelines.
Any crime that the authorities charge as a domestic crime is more serious than the same alleged offense charged as non-domestic. If someone is found guilty of a domestic criminal offense in RI or who takes a nolo contendere plea deal with the prosecution is required to endure batterers intervention classes. This specifically includes sentences of probation, suspended sentence, one year filings and suspended sentences. Refusal to go to batterers classes as ordered or failure to attend court ordered restitution could be considered a violation of probation, or a a violation of the terms of a one year filing.
In some cases, when there are quantifiable damages to the victim, such as damaged or destroyed property then the defendant may be ordered to compensate the victim by paying restitution. In some cases, the defendant is ordered to engage in substance abuse or mental health treatment. If a defendant is arrested, then a no contact order will enter unless the purported victim drops the nco. Unless the matter is dismissed, the victim drops the nco or the accused is found not guilty after a judge or jury trial, the no contact order will continue until the probation or suspended sentence terminates.
A 2nd conviction for a domestic criminal offense in RI could result to a minimum of ten days at the adult correctional institution! A 3rd criminal arrest in Rhode Island for a domestic criminal may be charged as a felony in Providence Superior Court. NOT all plea agreements constitute a criminal conviction. In Rhode Island and Providence Plantations any sentence with a suspended sentence, guilty finding, plea of guilty, fine or period of incarceration constitutes a criminal conviction. A nolo contendere plea bargain sentence with a period of probation or a one year filing with court costs does not constitute a conviction in RI!
A criminal conviction characterized as a domestic offense will look more menacing then a non-domestic on the accused’s criminal record when seeking employment opportunities. A Justice of the 6th division district court will usually be harsher than sentences for non-domestic offense. Furthermore, a one year filing in the Ocean State which is a domestic offense is not eligible to be expunged at the end of the year filing. There is an additional 2 year waiting period to expunge a domestic filing in RI. One year filings in RI
More RI Family Court articles here