Rhode Island Violent Crime Lawyer
FBI statistics show that more than 2,500 violent crimes were committed in Rhode Island during 2015 resulting in over 800 arrests. Although those numbers are high – they are down considerably from the state’s highest points in 1990-1991 with well over 4,ooo recorded violent crimes.
Violent crime is frightening. Its randomness provokes fear and a feeling of helplessness: if it is random, how can you protect yourself? Public outcry and political reaction to it put considerable pressure on law enforcement to prevent violent crimes and to punish them severely when they do occur.
Sometimes that public pressure leads law enforcement to be overzealous in their desire to solve violent crimes and reassure the public. It’s the job of Rhode Island violent crimes attorney to protect your rights and make sure that this zeal doesn’t end up snaring innocent people.
Total Crime Arrests in Rhode Island
Violent Crime is Second Most Common Reason for Arrest in Rhode Island
According to data provided by the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, property crime and violent crime are the most common reasons for arrest in Rhode Island.
Penalties Are Severe
All violent crimes carry significant penalties upon conviction, but the severity varies considerably depending on the specific violent crime. At the extreme end is first degree murder, punishable by 20 years to life. Simple assault or battery charges, in comparison, calls for a maximum prison term of one year and up to $1,000 in fines. Many violent crimes carry sentences of 10 to 20 years and, as a general rule, the more violent, the more severe the sentence.
For violent crimes that also amount to domestic violence, the penalties are enhanced further. For violent crimes that fit the state’s hate crime law, the penalty can be increased an additional 1 to 5 years.
Violent Crime Defense in Rhode Island
Violent crime charges can be defended on many different grounds. The types of defense can generally be grouped into the following four categories:
- Affirmative defenses, which admit the facts that the state is charging you with, but claim that your actions were justified. Self defense is the classic example: “Yes, I hit the victim, but only to stop him from stabbing me.”
- Defenses that directly attack the accuracy of the facts alleged by the state. Examples include claims that the state has identified the wrong person as the culprit, that the defendant did not have a gun as the state claims, or that a key state witness is lying or simply mistaken.
- Defenses that attack the state’s proof of an essential element of the crime. Examples include the lack of “malice aforethought” in a case charging first degree murder, or that there was no coercion in a case charging first degree sexual assault.
- Procedural defenses, like failure to provide a speedy trial. These may result in dismissal of the charge (like failure to provide a speedy trial), or simply make it harder for the state to prove its case by getting preventing some evidence from being used.
It takes considerable time and experience to identify the defenses most likely to succeed. Any challenge to the accuracy of the facts alleged by the state requires significant investigation and interviewing of witnesses.
Call an Experienced Rhode Island Violent Crimes Attorney
If you have been accused of committing a violent crime in Rhode Island, you have a very short time to get legal help. The sooner you get the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances of still being free when the case is over. Seemingly innocent statements that you make to the police, or even to a cell mate in the local jail, can come back to haunt you. Talk to an experienced defense lawyer before you talk to anyone else.
Violent crime cases are high stakes battles. On one side are the prosecutors, well equipped and with the power and resources of the state at their command. On the other side are you and your defense lawyer. The cases are complex, and many different factors can be considered to increase the potential penalties. Important questions and issues arise quickly and need to be quickly addressed.
Rhode Island criminal defense attorney Stefanie A. Murphy has years of successful experience handling a wide variety of violent crime cases in Rhode Island. She can protect your rights throughout the proceeding by, among other things:
- Working to obtain your release pending trial
- Explaining the case and the various twists and turns it may take
- Seeing to it that the state fulfills its obligations on time limits, points of procedure and sharing evidence with you
- Investigating the state’s witnesses for reliability, bias, etc.
- Identifying witnesses whose testimony works in your favor
- Advising you on any plea deals
- Presenting any of the defenses discussed above become relevant to your case as the facts are developed
Call the Law Offices of Stefanie A. Murphy today. There is no charge for your initial consultation.