Title 12
Criminal Procedure

Chapter 29
Domestic Violence Prevention Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-29-4

§ 12-29-4. Restrictions upon and duties of court.

(a)(1) Because of the likelihood of repeated violence directed at those who have been victims of domestic violence in the past, when a person is charged with or arrested for a crime involving domestic violence, that person may not be released from custody on bail or personal recognizance before arraignment without first appearing before the court or bail commissioner. The court or bail commissioner authorizing release shall issue a no-contact order prohibiting the person charged or arrested from having contact with the victim.

(2) At the time of arraignment or bail hearing the court or bail commissioner shall determine whether a no-contact order shall be issued or extended.

(3) Willful violation of a court order issued under subdivision (1), (2), or as part of disposition of this subdivision of this subsection is a misdemeanor. The written order releasing the person charged or the written order issued at the time of disposition shall contain the court’s directive and shall bear the legend: “Violation of this order is a criminal offense under this section and will subject a violator to arrest”. A copy of the order shall be provided to the victim.

(4) Whenever an order prohibiting contact is issued, modified, or terminated under subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection, the clerk of the court shall forward a copy of the order on or before the next judicial day to the appropriate law enforcement agency specified in the order.

(b) Because of the serious nature of domestic violence, the court in domestic violence actions:

(1) Shall not dismiss any charge or delay disposition because of concurrent dissolution of marriage or other civil proceedings;

(2) Shall not require proof that either party is seeking a dissolution of marriage prior to instigation of criminal proceedings;

(3) Shall identify by reasonable means on docket sheets those criminal actions arising from acts of domestic violence; and

(4) Shall make clear to the defendant and victim that the prosecution of the domestic violence action is determined by the prosecutor and not the victim.

(c) To facilitate compliance with the provisions of this section, the district court shall assure that the misdemeanor and felony complaint forms indicate whether the crime charged involves domestic violence and, if so, the relationship of the victim and defendant.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 12-10-12, the filing of any complaint for a crime involving domestic violence shall be conditioned upon the defendant keeping the peace and being of good behavior for a period of three (3) years. In the event a particular case involving domestic violence is filed on a plea of not guilty, guilty or nolo contendere pursuant to section 12-10-12, the court having jurisdiction shall retain the records of the case for a period of three (3) years from the date of the filing. These records shall not be expunged, sealed, or otherwise destroyed for a period of three (3) years from the date of filing. Furthermore, the destruction or sealing of records in the possession of the department of attorney general bureau of criminal identification, the superintendent of the state police, or the police departments of any city or town after a filing related to a crime involving domestic violence shall be governed by section 12-1-12.

History of Section.
P.L. 1988, ch. 539, § 6; P.L. 1990, ch. 369, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 134, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 76, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 421, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 191, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 426, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 303, § 1.