If you have been charged with Domestic Trespassing please call or email me as soon as possible. Like nearly every other type of criminal charge, it is critical to be proactive and take some action to defend yourself before your next court date.
Under Rhode Island law both Domestic Trespassing and Trespassing are created by statutes. In fact, in many respects a Domestic Trespassing charge is the same charge as Trespassing. The only difference is that with a Domestic Trespassing charge the alleged victim is a member of the Defendant’s family or household member. The alleged victim’s relationship to the Defendant is what constitutes the charge of Domestic Violence.
The consequences of a Domestic Trespassing conviction can be severe. It is critical to at least speak with a Domestic Trespassing Criminal Defense Lawyer. Like most other criminal charges, you do not want to handle a Domestic Trespassing charge without the help of a good criminal defense attorney because a conviction for this can have both short and long term consequences.
Domestic Trespassing Defined
Under Rhode Island law Domestic Trespassing is generally defined as the unlawful entering or remaining upon the property of a family or household member. Unlawful in this context means that the alleged trespasser must have no legitimate purpose for either entering or remaining on the family or household member’s property.
In order to prove the case, the prosecution would have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged trespasser had:
1. A Domestic relationship to the property owner,
2. No reason to enter or to remain upon the property, and
3. Advanced notice that he or she was not allowed on the property.
Penalties for First Offense Domestic Trespassing
By statute, any person who is convicted of Domestic Trespassing faces the following possible sentence:
1. Up to one (1) year to serve in prison,
2. A fine of up to one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars,
3. Mandatory attendance and completion of Domestic Violence counseling, also known as a batterer’s intervention program, which can last up to twenty six (26) weeks and costs hundreds and even thousands of dollars, and
4. A Domestic No Contact Order.
A Domestic No Contact Order specifically prohibits the Defendant from contacting the complaining witness. It means no phone calls, no emails, no text messages, no social media contact. Not only does the Domestic No Contact Order prohibit direct contact, it also prohibits indirect contact. This means that the person arrested cannot pass a message to the alleged victim through a third party, such as another family member or friend.
The Domestic No Contact Order remains in effect until a Judge of the District Court terminates it. And the Judge is under no obligation to terminate a Domestic No Contact Order. So even if the complaining witness wants to have contact with the Defendant, which often is the case, the Court does not have to allow it.
Any violation of a Domestic No Contact Order results in new criminal charges.
Penalties for Second Offense Domestic Trespassing
Any person who is convicted of second offense Domestic Trespassing faces a mandatory ten (10) days in prison, in addition to all of the same penalties as described above for a first offense conviction of Domestic Trespassing.
Penalties for Third Offense Domestic Trespassing
Any person who is convicted of a third offense charge of Domestic Trespassing faces a mandatory one (1) year in prison with the possibility of serving up to ten (10) years in prison. In addition to the prison sentence, the Court can also impose Domestic Violence counseling and a Domestic No Contact Order.