Pawtucket Domestic Disorderly Conduct Charge Dismissed

In August of 2011, our Client was charged by the Pawtucket Police Department with a domestic disorderly conduct charge in violation of R.I.G.L. 11-45-1 /12-29-5. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 11-45-1, disorderly conduct is defined as:

A person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior;

(2) In a public place or near a private residence that he or she has no right to occupy, disturbs another person by making loud and unreasonable noise which under the circumstances would disturb a person of average sensibilities;

(3) Directs at another person in a public place offensive words which are likely to provoke a violent reaction on the part of the average person so addressed;

(4) Alone or with others, obstructs a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, building entrance, elevator, aisle, stairway, or hallway to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access or any other place ordinarily used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances;

(5) Engages in conduct which obstructs or interferes physically with a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering;

(6) Enters upon the property of another and for a lascivious purpose looks into an occupied dwelling or other building on the property through a window or other opening; or

(7) Who without the knowledge or consent of the individual, looks for a lascivious purpose through a window, or any other opening into an area in which another would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, including, but not limited to, a restroom, locker room, shower, changing room, dressing room, bedroom, or any other such private area, not withstanding any property rights the individual may have in the location in which the private area is located.

The penalties if convicted include imprisonment for a term of not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.

However, the disorderly conduct charge was considered a domestic violence because the alleged victim and our Client were roommates. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 12-29-2, domestic violence crimes involve specific crimes between family or household members. Rhode Island has an extremely broad definition of such a relationship, which includes:

Family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three (3) years, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together, or if persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year which shall be determined by the court's consideration of the following factors:

(1) the length of time of the relationship;

(2) the type of the relationship;

(3) the frequency of the interaction between the parties.

In November of 2011, the domestic disorderly conduct charge against our Client was dismissed by the Prosecution immediately before trial based on our previous negotiations and Attorney Humphrey's experience handling domestic violence cases.

As a result of his experiences, both as a defense attorney and former Municipal Prosecutor for the Towns of Little Compton and Portsmouth, Attorney Humphrey has published two (2) articles on the topic of domestic violence in the Rhode Island Bar Journal. Attorney Humphrey is also a frequent lecturer for the Rhode Island Bar Association and other educational programs on the successful resolution of domestic violence cases.

If you or a family member has been charged with domestic simple assault, domestic disorderly conduct, domestic trespass, domestic vandalism and/or a violation of a no contact order, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at

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