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Defining the different levels of assault in Rhode Island

Altercations may be common in Newport, yet if you are like most, you may assume that few escalate into what many would consider to be assault. Yet oftentimes, clients come to us here at Lynch and Pine surprised to discover that what they may have classified as being minor scuffles end up netting them assault charges. If you have been involved in an altercation that could potentially result in criminal charges, you may want to exactly how the state defines assault, as well as what penalties you may face.

According to the General Laws of Rhode Island, any assault or battery that results in serious bodily injury could cause you to face felony charges. The law defines “serious bodily injury” as:

  •          Injuries that create a substantial risk of death
  •          Injuries that result in the impairment of a body part or organ
  •          Injuries that cause permanent disfigurement
  •          Injuries that circumcise, excise or infibulate any part of a male or female’s genitalia

Such an offense could result in you being imprisoned for up to 20 years. The same penalties apply if you are accused of assaulting someone with a dangerous weapon, substance or fire. If it is alleged that you assaulted someone with an instrument fashioned to look like a weapon, your potential term of imprisonment could be between 3-10 years depending on the severity of the injuries inflicted. All other assaults not described above could result in fines or incarceration of up to one year.

What if the actions that resulted in your assault charges were unintentional? If the court determines that you displayed an improper regard for human life or indifference to the consequences of your actions, you could still end up being charged with felony battery.

More information on understanding assault charges can be found here on our site. 

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