RI & MA Assault Defense Attorney

What are Assault Offenses?


Assault offenses is the category of crimes that involves the application of harmful or offensive contact between persons. An assault is generally defined as a harmful or offensive touching. For example, one may commit an assault by actually striking, slapping, pushing, punching or kicking another person. The assault occurs where actual unwanted physical contact occurs.  It may also occur where one person touched another with an object in a harmful or offensive way.  The assault may also occur in the absence of physical contact, but there the aggressor causes another to suffer fear or apprehension of imminent unwanted contact.  Various jurisdictions refer to this conduct as assault, assault and battery, and assault consummated by battery.   Under the common law, assault refers to the conduct that results in apprehension of harmful or offensive contact, and the battery is where actual physical contact occurred.

An assault offense may be aggravated by the use of a weapon. Obvious examples include knives, guns, sticks, brass knuckles, and shod feet.  The law recognizes that any physical object can be employed in some manner to do harm to others.  So long as the object is used in such a manner, the conduct will suffice under the law to constitute assault with a weapon.  Various jurisdictions refer to this type of offense as felony assault, assault with a dangerous weapon or aggravated assault.

An assault offense may further be aggravated if the alleged victim was touched in a sexual manner.  This type of conduct, broadly known as sexual assault, refers to the touching by one, of another, without consent on areas of the body such as buttocks, anus, breasts, penis, vagina, and surrounding areas for purposes of sexual gratification.  This type of assault can also occur if the unwanted touching occurs by the aggressor with his or her sex organ.  Sexual assaults vary in severity depending upon where and how the victim is touched.  This ranges from unwanted touching on the outside of one’s clothing up to and including forcible sexual penetration.  Sexual assault offenses can be further aggravated by the age of the alleged victim.  Sexual assault offenses are viewed as among the most severe types of crimes known to the law.

Read our case results and testimonials for assault offenses.


Learn more about specific assault offenses below:

If you have been charged with an assault offense and need representation, contact the RI and MA criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.


Simple Assault


Simple assault is a broad term that covers many different crimes such as simple battery and simple assault.  Simple battery is physically touching someone else in a harmful of offensive manner without permission or consent.  To be charged with simple assault, you do not even have to make contact with the victim.  For example, threatening to use force on someone is enough to be charged with simple assault.

Simple Assault Penalties

In most cases, simple assault or simple battery is a misdemeanor.  However, there are other factors that the courts consider, including your relationship with the victim.  These crimes are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Rhode Island General Laws § 11-5-3 Simple assault or battery – (a) Except as otherwise provided in § 11-5-2, every person who shall make an assault or battery or both shall be imprisoned not exceeding one year or fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.
Rhode Island Criminal Offenses

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 256, Section 13A: Assault or assault and battery – (a) Whoever commits an assault or an assault and battery upon another shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 21/2 years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts-General Laws


What is Domestic Assault


Domestic Assault is an assault offense that occurs between individuals with familial, domestic or romantic relations.  There are two types of assault: (1) assault by battery and (1) assault by offer.  Assault by battery is defined as the harmful or offensive touching of another.  Assault by offer is an intentional act by one that does not result in actual harmful or offensive touching, but creates an apprehension by another of imminent harmful or offensive contact.

Domestic Assault consists of an assault, regardless of type, committed against someone who falls into the category of persons covered by domestic violence laws. These include persons in family relationships such as husband-wife, parent-child, siblings, etc.  The relations extend to anyone related by blood or marriage. Domestic relationships also exist among parties to engagement, cohabitation or residing at the same address or under the same roof, domestic partnerships and other similar relationships.

Domestic violence is a hot topic in modern society.  Being charged with such an offense can have adverse consequences to many aspects of your life such as your individual liberty interests, reputation and other aspects such as housing, schooling and employment.  It can also prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.   Persons convicted of domestic violence offenses are also required to attend special counseling or classes to educate them on the effects of domestic violence.   As society continues to evolve, so will the negative consequences associated with being charged and/or convicted of a domestic violence offense.

Domestic Assault charges can also have collateral consequences such as the imposition by the Court of a no contact or restraining order between the offender and victim.  Depending upon the nature and extent of the alleged offense, domestic violence may also implicate state agencies such as the Department of Child Services (DCS) or Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).  These agencies may initiate independent investigations to consider the welfare of a child or children who may have been exposed to or witnessed domestic violence, or under the care of persons accused of domestic violence offenses.  This could lead to the removal of a child or children from the household or limiting or restricting parental rights. If you have been charged with Domestic Assault, it is important to seek legal representation immediately to protect your rights and to minimize the impact that a criminal charge of this nature may have on your life.

Domestic Assault Penalties

The penalties for domestic assault vary depending upon the severity of the crime.  Convictions for domestic assault often include jail time, fines, and anger management, batterers intervention, or domestic violence classes and/or counseling.  Additionally, subsequent offenses may result in more severe punishments.

Rhode Island General Laws, Section 12-39 – Domestic Violence Prevention Act- …(c)(1) Every person convicted of an offense punishable as a misdemeanor involving domestic violence as defined in § 12-29-2 shall: (i) For a second violation be imprisoned for a term of not less than ten (10) days and not more than one year. (ii) For a third and subsequent violation be deemed guilty of a felony and be imprisoned for a term of not less than one year and not more than ten (10) years. (2) No jail sentence provided for under this section can be suspended…
Rhode Island Criminal Offenses

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 13M: Assault or assault and battery on a family or household member – (a) Whoever commits an assault or assault and battery on a family or household member shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 21/2 years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts-General Laws


What is Aggravated Assault?


Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault is an assault offense that is caused by an object used in a manner likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. There are two ways of committing an assault: (1) assault by battery and (2) assault by offer.  Aggravated Assault by battery is where the object used to commit the assault actually comes into contact with the victim thereby causing harmful or offense contact.  Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault consummated by offer does not result in actual physical contact between the object and the victim, but the object was used or displayed in a manner that caused imminent apprehension by the victim of harmful or offensive contact. Based on these two theories of the offense, actual physical harm or injury is not required for Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault offense to occur.

The weapon used to commit Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault may be a traditional deadly weapon such as a firearm, knife or another sharp object, club, spear, bow and arrow, or another traditional weapon. Alternatively, the item may also be a non-traditional weapon consisting of an otherwise harmless item used in a manner reasonably likely to inflict serious injury or bodily harm. Examples include items of furniture, tools, shod feet, electronic equipment such as a computer, kitchen ware, utensil, writing instrument, burning cigar or cigarette, telephone or any other item imaginable that may be employed in a dangerous manner to cause serious injury. Serious injury or bodily harm is defined as including disfigurement; loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ; or substantial risk of death.

Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault is the type of offense for courts and prosecutors are likely to seek a jail sentence. They will look for the presence or absence of various aggravating factors to include, but are not limited to, the type of object(s) used in the assault (traditional or non-traditional weapon); if a firearm was used; if a firearm was used, whether or not it was actually fired or discharged; status and circumstances of the victim; and victim impact such as the extent of any physical injuries sustained and mental anguish suffered.  This crime is called different things in different jurisdictions such as Aggravated Assault, Felony Assault, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and more.

If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault, it is important to seek legal representation immediately in order to protect your rights and minimize the impact that a charge of his nature may have on your life.

Aggravated Assault Penalties

Aggravated assault is a felony. Therefore, the punishments can be severe. The maximum penalty for aggravated assault is up to 20 years in prison.

Rhode Island General Laws § 11-5-2 Felony assault – (a) Every person who shall make an assault or battery, or both, with a dangerous weapon, or with acid or other dangerous substance, or by fire, or an assault or battery which results in serious bodily injury, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years.
Rhode Island Criminal Offenses

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 15: Assault; intent to murder or maim – Whoever assaults another with intent to commit murder, or to maim or disfigure his person in any way described in the preceding section, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two and one half years.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts-General Laws


What is Maiming or Mutilation


Maiming means wounding or injuring someone so that part of their body is permanently damaged.  Maiming includes crippling, incapacitating, disfiguring, or mutilating.   In some jurisdictions, maiming is also referred to as mutilation.  Anyone who commits an assault with the intent to maim the victim will face additional charges.

Maiming or Mutilation Penalties

The maximum penalty for a maiming conviction is up to ten years in prison and a fine of no more than one thousand dollars.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 15: Assault; intent to murder or maim – Whoever assaults another with intent to commit murder, or to              maim or disfigure his person in any way described in the preceding section, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten                  years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two and one half years –

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts-General Laws