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I am a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Rhode Island.  I handle all types of criminal cases, including, DUI, domestic violence cases, drug case, sex cases just to name a view. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hire an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney to Prevent a Domestic Violence Conviction

         The issue of domestic violence has taken center stage in the news lately due to the recent domestic violence arrests and public exposure of NFL football players.  The recent publicity highlights how widespread this issue is in the community and how it crosses all social and economic lines in society.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States each minute 24 people are victims of violence from domestic partners.  According to statistics kept by the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence during 2013, Rhode Island law enforcement received 7,930 domestic violence related calls and made 5,437 domestic violence arrests.  Clearly, Rhode Islanders are not spared from the crime of domestic violence.
Today, the police do not take any chances with domestic assault and domestic violence cases.  If the police are summoned to a domestic violence call, almost certainly somebody is getting arrested.   An arrest on a domestic violence case will have a long lasting and immense effect on a person's life.  Many times a parent will be barred from going to their own home because of a non-contact that a judge has issued in the case. Some judges will not vacate the non-contact order until the case is completed.  A  non-contact order often leads to financial strain as well as strain on the family.
If you, a loved one or a friend, have been arrested for the crime of domestic violence, do not hesitate to contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.  The state of Rhode Island has enacted harsh laws with respect to the crime of domestic violence, known as the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.  These laws consider a wide range of crimes to be domestic violence crimes if they are committed by a family or household member.  Additionally, the definition of a family member or household member is broad and includes individuals involved in a variety of relationships.
           The penalties of a conviction for domestic violence in Rhode Island are severe and the disposition received in a first domestic violence charge will have an effect on future charges. Rhode Island domestic violence laws require mandatory jail sentences for second and third convictions for the charge of domestic violence.   Conviction for a second domestic violence charge requires imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 days and not more than 1 year.  A third domestic violence conviction is considered a felony and requires imprisonment of between 1 and 10 years.  In addition to imprisonment, no contact orders, counseling, prohibition from possession of a firearm, and deportation for non-citizens are imposed by the Court. This is why it is so important to fight your first domestic charge and not wait until you are charged again.  One domestic charge often leads to others for a host of reasons. First and foremost the non-contact order that is issued at the sentencing will for lead to future violations. Second, one of the parties will have a criminal record for domestic violence and the police will not hesitate to arrest you a second time for the slightest incident.
       Please do not take any charge of domestic violence lightly.  Call an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to begin work on your domestic violence case to prevent a conviction.  If you would like to read further information on the crime of domestic violence within the Rhode Island criminal justice system, please refer to my website: www.http://rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com/

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to Defend Your DUI

      Nationwide and in Rhode Island, law enforcement has come to rely on breathalyzer tests in obtaining convictions in drunk driving and drugged driving offenses.  The use of breathalyzer machines is both a cost effective and convenient method for law enforcement to use in assessing a person's alcohol content.
     Recently, the Rhode Island Department of Health has selected the Intoxilyzer 9000 for Rhode Island law enforcement to use as the new chemical breath test machine for use in the prosecution of drunk and drugged driving offenses.  In Rhode Island the Intoxilyzer 9000 will replace the Intoxilyzer 5000, which no longer will receive service and support from its manufacturer. 
     It is argued that the Intoxilyzer 9000 will generate more useful statistical data with respect to the results of chemical breath tests.  The technology used to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) from the breath samples is different between the 5000 model and the 9000 model.  The reporting of BAC results is also different in that the 9000 will print out a graph showing the information.  Additionally, the 9000 model stores more data than the 5000 and runs a calibration check for each test.  The 9000 will have more advanced capabilities than the 5000 model to meet the legal and quality assurance requirements to insure accurate breath alcohol testing.
     Questions persist as to how accurate these machines are in determining alcohol content on an individual.  These questions are the basis of an experienced criminal defense attorney's defense of a DUI charge.  The manufacturers of these machines require routine maintenance of these machines.  Continued use of the Intoxilyzer 5000, without the continued service and support from its manufacturer, will beg the question of the machine's reliability and accuracy in determining BAC.  In addition to the malfunctioning of the machine, the reliability and accuracy of breath alcohol results is also comprimised by burping and the timing of when the alcohol was last drunk before taking the test.  The administration of the test is essential to obtaining reliable results.  The training of the officer and his or her observations with respect to the eating, drinking or vomiting by the suspect could produce inaccurate results. Additionally, there are legal issues with respect to the competency of witnesses who are obtaining and analyzing the software of the machines and the calibration of the machines.
     Any individual who is arrested for drunk or drugged driving after blowing the legal limit, which in Rhode Island is 0.08, should pursue the investigation of the accuracy of their results by an experienced criminal defense attorney rather just accept the results.  As stated above, there are numerous issues that can be raised to question the accuracy of the results of a breathalyzer test.  It is only through the hiring of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the issues that an individual can be successful in defending themselves. The penalties of a DUI conviction are severe in Rhode Island.  They include fines, suspension or loss of license, community service, higher auto insurance rates, education, and may include jail time.  If you have been pulled over and subject to a breathalyzer test, please do not hesitate to call Attorney Michael J. Zarrella to review your case.   The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella offers a free consultation and provides over 20 years of experience in the criminal defense field with a concentration in the area of DUI defense. 




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Preventing Convictions Under the Rhode Island Colin Foote Law



With the objective of saving lives and protecting the community, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted the Colin Foote law. Under this law, drivers convicted of (4) four traffic violations within an eighteen (18) month period would be required to attend sixty (60) hours of driver's training and perform sixty (60) hours of community service.  Additionally, a person convicted under this law would face fines of up to $1,000 and face the loss of their driver's license for up to two (2) years.

The Colin Foote law seeks to take the habitual traffic violator off of the streets of Rhode Island for a long period of time.  Consequently, it is imperative that each traffic ticket be defended to the fullest extent by an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Often people who recieved a ticket just mail in the fine because they incorrectly think it is not worth their time and money to go to court.  By doing this, people bypass the opportunity to use the good drivers statute.  However, this has become major mistake to do so.  Judges at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal are starting to suspended licenses for as little as three tickets.  As a defendant, you need to fight every ticket that you receive whether it means hiring a lawyer to try to get you an alternative disposition or go to trial and challenge the charge itself.  You must be proactive otherwise you will find yourself with a suspended license down the road. 

If you or a loved one are in the unfortunate position of having been convicted of multiple traffic violations within a short period of time, you have little choice but to hire an experienced defense attorney to prevent additional convictions and prevent you from being considered a violator of the Colin Foote law.

The judges and magistrates of the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal have taken an aggressive stance in enforcing the Colin Foote law.  Often the judges and magistrates will suspend or revoke driver's licenses for between one (1) and two (2) years upon a conviction of this law. The effects of a suspension of a drivers license for an extended period of time such as one (1) year or more can be devastating to a person.  The loss of a license can have an negative effect on a person's employment and their overall life. A good criminal defense lawyer may be the difference in keeping your license or having it suspended. Further, in more serious cases the hiring an experienced defense attorney will mean the difference between having your drivers license suspended for a few months or a few years.

Please do not take traffic violations lightly.  If you are in the position of having multiple traffic convictions within a short period of time, you need to call an experienced criminal defense attorney today.   Have an experience criminal defense attorney begin working on your traffic violations today!


Attorney Michael Zarrella has been helping people keep their driver's license for 20 years.  For more information please review his websites at www.rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com or  www.ridrunkdrivingattorney.com.