Misdemeanor Law

Misdemeanor Attorney RI

Experienced Misdemeanor Lawyer in RI
Available 24/7

What is a Misdemeanor?

Rhode Island organizes misdemeanors into two basic types: misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors. Each category of crime has maximum penalties associated with it, though individual crimes may have maximum penalties that are less than the category allows. Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Rhode Island faces a fine of not more than $1,000 and an incarceration sentence of no more than one year, while someone convicted of a petty misdemeanor in Rhode Island faces a maximum of six months incarceration and a fine of no more than $500. District Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors charges in Rhode Island.  Depending on which County the police department is in will depend on which District Court the case will be heard in.

In addition to misdemeanors, there are also civil violations.  A civil violation means that it is not a criminal offense and no jail time is possible.  However, there is a fine and the possibility of other sanctions, such as loss of license. Although a misdemeanor is a lesser crime than a felony (minimum one year in prison and up to life in prison) it is still a serious matter and you always need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer whenever you’re charged with a crime. Even if you haven’t been charged, but have only been approached by investigators, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.  Attorney Peter Calo will protect your rights and provide legal advice at every step of the criminal justice process.

What happens if I am charged with a Misdemeanor Crime in Rhode Island?

  • Arrested or Charged: If the police charge you with a misdemeanor, they have may issue you a citation to appear in District Court or they may being you to the police station for processing. This is commonly known as “booking.”  Once processed, the police may release you with a summons to appear in District Court Rhode Island Law for arraignment or they may hold you overnight.  If you are held overnight in jail, the police will bring you to District Court the next morning arraignment.  
  • Arraignment: When a person is arraigned for a misdemeanor, they have the option to plea guilty, no lo contendre, or not guilty.  A person should NEVER plead guilty or no lo at arraignment.  After pleading not guilty, the matter is set down for a pre-trial date, usually two weeks from the arraignment.
  • Pre-Trial: Before the pre-trial date, the prosecutor will provide the defendant, or his or her attorney, all the evidence in the case through the Discovery process.  At the pre-trial date the defendant’s attorney will meet with the prosecutor and decide the best disposition for the case.  If an agreement cannot be made, then the case will go to trial.