When you’re facing assault charges in Rhode Island, you could be up against a number of potential sentences. The laws here are pretty complex and can seem quite confusing if you’re not an attorney.

Although most assault charges arise out of simple situations, this doesn’t mean they aren’t serious criminal charges. Anytime there’s a potential for jail time, it’s serious. Contact us today to speak with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.

Having a defense lawyer on your side to help make sense of the laws and your charges can put your mind at east during this stressful time.

Rhode Island Assault and Battery Laws Defined

Knowing how the law defines these two distinctions can make it easier to understand the charges you might be facing. Assault doesn’t have to involve any physical contact and can merely involve putting someone in fear of physical contact. A threat is considered assault.

Battery, on the other hand, involves unwanted touching. Whether it’s a shove, punch, or even a finger poking the chest in an instigating manner—all of these could be considered battery.

RI Simple Assault and Battery – Penalties

If you are charged with simple assault or battery and it doesn’t fit under any of the other, more serious, assault charges, you will face a $1,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail.

Ref: R.I. §11-5-3

Rhode Island Battery – Criminal Negligence Laws

If you are accused of acting in a way that is considered “negligent” and it results in the serious bodily injury of another, you could be facing this felony charge. Negligent battery carries a potential 10 years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.

Criminal negligence refers to acting in a way without regard for human life or indifferent to the consequences. This means that you could be convicted of this charge without intending to hurt someone.

Ref: R.I. §11-5-2.2

Rhode Island Felony Assault Penalties

If you are charged with felony assault, it’s believed that you committed either an assault or battery with a dangerous weapon or by fire. If the act results in serious bodily injury, you will face up to 20 years in prison and fines.

Ref: R.I. §11-5-2

Assault with Intent to Commit Specified Felonies

If you assault someone in an attempt to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, or burglary, you will face a minimum of 1 year and up to 20 years in prison for this felony charge.

Ref: R.I. § 11-5-1

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in a House

If you are accused of being armed with a dangerous weapon and committing an assault with the intent to rob or murder and the act is done in a home, you will face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to a life sentence.

Ref: R.I.  §11-5-4

Felony Assault by use of something Similar in Appearance to a Firearm

Yes, you can face a felony charge for assaulting someone with a toy gun. If you are accused of assaulting someone with a device made to be similar to a firearm, you could face up to 10 years if serious injury occurs or up to 3 if it does not.

Ref: R.I. §11-5-2.1

In Rhode Island you can face other felony charges if there are other aggravating factors, such as assault or battery is committed upon someone who is law enforcement, elderly, someone who is handicapped, a school employee, or a correctional officer. The surest way to know what you’re up against is to consult with a local defense lawyer.