Contact Us for a Free Consultation (401) 380-6724

Latest News

Understanding Assault Charges

Posted by Ken Barrett | Mar 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

In Rhode Island, felony assault is a crime under Rhode Island Statute § 11 – 5 – 2. The statute reads, in part, “Every person who shall make an assault or battery, or both, with a dangerous weapon, or with acid or other dangerous substance, or by fire, or an assault or battery that results in serious bodily injury shall be guilty of a felony assault.”

A careful reading of the statute makes it clear there is a difference between assault and battery. While the differences may seem technical in nature, it is important to understand both assault and battery are considered a felony assault under the statute.

Defining Assault

In laymen's terms, an assault is actually a threat of violence. This can be verbal, such as saying, “I am going to throw this acid in your face!” or “I am going to beat you until you can't stand up.” But an assault can also be non-verbal, such as pointing a gun at someone. A more elaborate threat of violence might include pouring gasoline on a pile of clothes in the doorway between the assaulter and the victim, and showing the victim a lighter, suggesting a fire where the victim might be trapped in a room. It is important to understand assault, because it can occur without actually touching the victim.

Defining Battery

Battery occurs when the threat of violence becomes real violence. If someone actually throws acid at someone or actually beats up someone, this is battery. If someone shoots another person or injures them by fire, this is a battery.

The Consequences of Assault and Battery

In criminal law, there is no distinction between committing an assault and committing a battery. Whether the victim is injured, or the injury is merely threatened, both can be a felony assault. The punishment for the behavior, however, can be different. Where a person actually sustains serious bodily injury, the punishment can be up to 20 years in prison. If, on the other hand, there is no injury (such as in an assault/threat), or only bodily injury that is not “serious” under the statute, the punishment is up to six years in prison.

Understanding Serious Bodily Injury

Serious bodily injury is defined by statute as an injury which creates a substantial risk of death, causes protracted impairment or loss of the function of the body, or causes serious permanent disfigurement. Bodily injury, on the other hand, means a physical injury resulting in physical pain, impairment of a physical condition, or illness.

Sometimes, the difference between bodily injury and serious bodily injury is a judgment call that may be litigated in the courts.


If You Are Charged with Assault

If you are charged with assault, you may already know that an assault conviction will have lasting consequences. You may be facing prison time, or you may be facing jail time, along with probation for an extended period. A felony assault conviction could make it more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment. Contact Kensley R. Bennett, Esquire for a free consultation.

About the Author

Ken Barrett

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney If youve been arrested on a criminal charge in Rhode Island, you need the right criminal defense attorney. Contact us today to learn how we can help. No matter what criminal charge you are facing, having the right lawyer can make all the difference in reg...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Kensley Barrett

Our law firm was founded on the belief that working with us is more than just hiring a lawyer. Working with us will bring you peace of mind and also allow you to continue with your regular life while we attend to your legal matters. Our vast experience means that it allows us to excel in both aggressively representing your interests and generating the best possible result for you.

Attorney Kensley Barrett
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 47 Google+ Reviews.

Criminal Defense - DUI Defense - Domestic Violence Representation - Criminal Record Expungement Services

Office Hours:
Monday 7 am - 10 pm,
Tuesday 7 am - 10 pm,
Wednesday 7 am - 10 pm,
Thursday 7 am - 10 pm,
Friday 7 am - 10 pm,
Saturday 7 am - 10 pm,
Sunday 7 am - 10 pm

Office Locations:
127 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903
36 South County Commons Way, Unit C-3 Rear, South Kingstown, RI 02879
37 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for legal advice with regard to your situation. You may contact our law firm at your convenience for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Reviewing the information contained on this web site and/or contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. 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.