If you have been charged with Domestic Vandalism 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 Vandalism and Vandalism are created by statutes. In fact, in many respects a Domestic Vandalism charge is the same charge as Vandalism. The only difference is that with a Domestic Vandalism charge the alleged victim is a member of the Defendant’s family or household. The alleged victim’s relationship to the Defendant is what constitutes the charge of Domestic Violence.
The consequences of a Domestic Vandalism conviction can be severe. It is critical to at least speak with a Domestic Vandalism Criminal Defense Lawyer. Like most other criminal charges, you do not want to handle a Domestic Vandalism charge without the help of a good criminal defense attorney because a conviction for this can have both short and long term consequences.
Domestic Vandalism Defined
Under Rhode Island law Domestic Vandalism is generally defined as willfully damaging or destroying the property belonging to the Defendant’s family or household member with criminal intent. This is considered to be a general intent criminal offense. This means the prosecution does not have to prove the Defendant specifically intended to damage or destroy the property.
Penalties for First Offense Domestic Vandalism
By statute, any person who is convicted of Domestic Vandalism 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 Vandalism
Any person who is convicted of second offense Domestic Vandalism 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 Vandalism.
Penalties for Third Offense Domestic Vandalism
Any person who is convicted of a third offense charge of Domestic Vandalism 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.