The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella

RI Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer


Rhode Island has enacted harsh laws pertaining to domestic violence charges. If you find yourself or a loved one being charged with a domestic crime, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer who knows how to defend your domestic case. The disposition of your first domestic charge will effect your entire future. Domestic laws have mandatory jail sentences for second and third convictions. That is why it is so vital that you hire a superior domestic violence lawyer to insure that your first case either gets dismissed, reduced to lesser charges or disposed of. It is imperative that the client not receive a conviction, which whould trigger mandatory jail in the future. The look back period for domestic crimes is forever. Therefore a person with a domestic crime conviction 20 years ago, who gets arrested today, will be looking at mandatory jail if convicted. Once you are convicted for a domestic crime, it starts a never ending circle; often clients convicted will receive a No Contact Order against the victim. This is a dangerous situation, for the victim will often use the NCO as a sword not a shield, threatening to charge a defendant everytime they get upset. You need to avoid a domestic conviction right from the start! Too many people just take the first offer to get done with court quick, but they end up paying for their hasty decision later when they are at the ACI because their ex-girlfriend or ex-boy friend continues to harrass them. Do not let this happen to you! Call The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella today.

The Law Office of Michael J. Zarrella has been winning domestic violence cases for 20 years. Attorney Zarrella knows how to defended domestic cases and he will challenge the state's evidence and the victim's story. He will fight for a dismissal, a reduction in charges or a dispositon that will not be considered a conviction.

Attorney Zarrella has a track record of winning domestic cases, while some lawyers just walk into court and take whatever disposition is offered. Attorney Zarrella will fight for you. Whether it is a plea, trial or dismissal, you need to know that you are going to get the best defense you can. Domestic charges are too important to not hire a top attorney. The reality of Rhode Island domestic charges is that they present grave threats to someone accused of this offense. Unlike may other offences, there are mandatory penalties for second and third convictions. Domestic violence and abuse charges can effect a person's job, family, marriage, and most importantly a person's freedom. Don't take chances with your future, call a lawyer that has won domestic charges in the past and will win them in the future! Call Rhode Island domestic attorney Michael J. Zarrella today.

Innocent People Get Accused of Domestic Violence

Regrettably, innocent people often are wrongly accused of domestic violence all of the time in Rhode Island.

Many times, the complaining witness (alleged victim) will make a false allegation of domestic abuse for a reason other then abuse. A person will often make an allegation of domestic violence because of jealousy, to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings, or for revenge.

Other times a person charged with domestic assault may have been acting in self-defense during a mutual struggle. Often the police will just arrest the male or other times the first one that calls the police will be considered the victim even though the evidence will show otherwise.

Whatever the situation, don't ever go to court without an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer. Hire an attorney who will stand up to the prosecution and who will fight for you until you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

What Consitiutes Domestic Violence under Rhode Island Law?

Under Rhode Island law, known as the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, any of the following crimes are considered a domestic crime if commmitted by a family or household member against another:

(1) Simple assault;

   (2) Felony assaults;

   (3) Vandalism ;

   (4) Disorderly conduct;

   (5) Trespass;

   (6) Kidnapping;

   (7) Child-snatching;

   (8) Sexual assault;

   (9) Homicide;

   (10) Violation of the provisions of a protective order;

   (11) Stalking;

   (12) Refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone;

   (13) Burglary and Unlawful Entry;

   (14) Arson;

   (15) Cyberstalking and cyberharassment; and

   (16) Domestic assault by strangulation.

A Family and Household member is definded as one of the folowing:

  • spouses;
  • former spouses;
  • adult persons related by blood or marriage;
  • adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three (3) years;
  • persons who have a child in common; and
  • if persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year which shall be determined by the court's consideration of the following factors:

   (1) the length of time of the relationship;

   (2) the type of the relationship; and

   (3) the frequency of the interaction between the parties.

If you accused of one the above crimes and you qualify under the defintion of a family and household member then your criminal charge will most likely be charged as a domestic crime.

Unlike many other crimes, domestic cases have additional mandatory sanctions. Anybody pleading to a domestic crime whether or not it is a conviction is required to attend batterer's intervention class.

In addition, if you are conviced for a second domestic charge you shall be imprisoned for a term of not less than ten (10) days and not more than one year.

A third domestic charge is deemed to be a felony and a defendant shall be imprisoned for a term of not less than one (1) year and not more then ten(10) years.

If the victim does not wish to press charges, can I still be arrested?

Although the victim may have a lot of say in a domestic abuse case, the state has final say if they wish to proceed. However, without a cooperating victim it will be problematic for the state to obtain a conviction. This being said, the police and prosecutors, out of fear of making a mistake or looking weak on domestic violence cases, will proceed on a domestic charge based on little to no evidence that any crime occurred. Many times a victim will allege a horrific beating and will not have a single mark on them. Still the police will arrest the defendant and the procecution will proceed.

There are serious consequences for a domestic violence charge conviction.

If you plead to a domestic abuse charge in Rhode Island there are severe consequences that you will have to contend with. The following are important consequences of a domestic violence plea:

  • Most likey the judge will issue a No Contact order which may prohibit a defendant from returning to his or her residence, speaking to the alleged victim, or contacting members of the defendant’s family. This in many cases may make it difficult for a defedant to see his or her own children.
  • Domestic violence counseling is mandatory for a domestic abuse case. Judges will order the defendant pleading to crimes of domestic violence to undergo counseling that can be very expensive and time consuming.
  • Firearms. If you are convicted of crimes of domestic violence you will be prohibited from ever possessing firearms under federal law.
  • If you are not an American citizen and you are convicted of a domestic violence charge, you will be deported under federal law.

The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella Will Fight For You

At The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella, Attorney Zarrella will thoroughly and scrupulously review all the facts of your domestic abuse case and put forward the best defense strategy to obtain the most favorable legal outcome. Attorney Zarrella is a relentless and aggressive defense attorney who will provide you with a zealous, a passionate, and a powerful defense.