Impact of COVID-19 On Domestic Violence Cases

Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

As COVID-19 continues to spread across our nation, federal and state governments are enacting increasingly stringent orders to help combat the severity of this pandemic.  In an effort to curb the virus, public officials in several states and cities have shuttered bars and restaurants, imposed curfews or stay-at-home orders, and prohibited gatherings of more than a few people, and impose quarantines under certain conditions.  

While such measures aimed at promoting public health and fighting the virus have consequently disrupted nearly all aspects of daily life, they can also lead to domestic violence.  As a great number of people are now confined to small spaces, while dealing with increased stress over how they will keep their jobs, pay bills, and feed their families, verbal and even physical altercations, can become an unintended biproduct of the at-home incubator of fears, stresses, and anxieties.

Domestic violence offenses can carry very severe consequences to include jail, involuntary imposition of no contact orders, fines, mandatory counseling or domestic violence class attendance, and loss of the right to possess a firearm. 

Domestic violence charges result when a verbal or physical altercation or disturbance occurs between:

  • (1) former spouses;
  • (2) persons related by blood or marriage;
  • (3) persons you are dating and/or engaged to;
  • (4) persons with whom you currently cohabitate with, or have in the past; and
  • (5) persons with whom you share a child.  

There are various types of domestic violence charges to include both misdemeanors and felonies.   They include, but are not limited to:

  • Domestic Assault and Battery
  • Domestic Disorderly Conduct
  • Domestic Refusal to Relinquish a Telephone
  • Domestic Vandalism, Domestic Strangulation
  • Domestic Felony Assault
  • Domestic Breaking and Entering
  • Domestic Sexual Assault

Under Rhode Island law, Domestic Assault and Battery and Assault and Battery are created by statues.  In many respects, a Domestic Assault and Battery charge is the same as Assault and Battery, with the primary difference being that the former involves a victim that 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 same dynamic holds true for the other domestic violence offenses listed above.  

If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence offense, contact the Domestic Violence Lawyer John L. Calcagni at (401) 351-5100 today for a free consultation.  Depending on the facts of your case, there are potential defenses that may be available to you.  Our office has years of experience – spanning over a decade – of successfully defending those charged with crimes of domestic violence.  Let us help you!