Rhode Island Felony Assault Statute and Penalties

In the State of Rhode Island, an “assault” is an intentional act that places another individual in fear of imminent harm or danger whereas a “battery” involves the intentional touching of another individual without his or her consent that is offensive or results in bodily injury. In Rhode Island, the penalties for assaults and/or batteries greatly depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

More specifically, if an individual commits an assault and/or battery accompanied by a dangerous weapon or causes serious bodily injury, which is known as felony assault, he or she will face up to 20 years imprisonment. The penalties are even greater if an individual commits a felony assault upon a family or household member, which is known as felony domestic assault. The penalties for felony domestic assault include a no contact order, completion of a batterer’s intervention program, and hefty fines and fees in addition to imprisonment for up to 20 years.


What is a felony assault in Rhode Island?

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law, 11-5-2, a felony assault occurs when an individual commits an assault or battery or both, with:

  • A dangerous weapon
  • Acid
  • A dangerous substance
  • Fire

In addition, an assault or battery, which results in serious bodily injury also constitutes as felony assault.


Key Definitions

According to Rhode Island General Law, 11-5-2, “serious bodily injury” means physical injury that:

  • Creates a substantial risk of death
  • Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part, member or organ; or Fine up to $1,000
  • Causes serious permanent disfigurement or circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the genitals of a female

According to Rhode Island General Law, 12-29-2, “family or household member” includes the following:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Adults related by blood or marriage
  • Adults who currently reside together
  • Adults who have resided together in the past 3 years
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together
  • Persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past year

It is important to note that the court will determine whether a relationship is substantive by considering the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and how often the parties interacted.


Contact RI Criminal Defense Lawyer Craig Hein

Attorney Craig Hein has been successful in defending those who have been criminally accused. Craig’s style is both aggressive and steadfast. From your first conversation with him, you will realize both his capability in the court room and ability to alleviate much of your stress. Craig has made a living out of turning problems into solutions and does not rest until he does everything possible to achieve a desirable outcome. For a free consultation please call 401-619-7214.