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Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.

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Top Rated Rhode Island Defense Criminal Lawyer Ready to Fight Your Criminal Charges

Good people make mistakes too   If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to take action NOW. It’s crucial to hire the best and most experienced Rhode Island criminal attorney to handle your criminal case.  For most being arrested is a shocking event, one which was never expected.  If a criminal charge is not defended properly from the very start, a criminal conviction can have life-altering consequences.  A person’s reputation and future are at stake, so I take this job very seriously.

All Rhode Island criminal lawyers are not the same, not even close, and the outcomes in criminal cases vary widely depending on your defense counsel’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness.  My law firm has provided the best legal representation for thousands of criminal clients in the Rhode Island Superior Court, District Court and Traffic Tribunal for almost 3 decades.   If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Rhode Island it is critical to have the most connected, knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer as your legal representation against law enforcement and prosecutors.

Call Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.  today at 401.861.1155 for the best defense of your criminal charge

Why You Need the Best Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney 

A criminal conviction in Rhode Island can have harsh and long-lasting effects on your life when it comes to employment opportunities, loan/mortgage applications, or even chaperoning your children’s events and activities. You need a criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid the severe consequences which come with a criminal conviction.  The best legal representation can make all the difference in your criminal case.  My goal is to have all criminal charges DISMISSED, and then any record of the crime expunged. 

Criminal Defense Client Testimonial

I have never written a review before, but I had to write this one for Attorney Macktaz.  After I was arrested for the first (and only time) in my life, I was referred to Attorney Macktaz by a police officer who knows my family.  I knew I had the right lawyer from the very first phone call.  He returned my call on a Sunday morning and explained in great detail about how he would handle my case.  He didn’t make any false promises but immediately had a great plan on how to handle my case.  Within 3 weeks all my charges were dismissed and expunged off my record.  I can say without any doubt, Attorney Macktaz is the best criminal defense lawyer in RI.  

From Peter G.

As a Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer with almost 3 decades of legal experience, I’ve successfully defended clients who have faced a wide range of criminal charges. I’ve developed strong relationships with police, law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors in the Rhode Island criminal justice system. These relationships are invaluable in criminal defense cases and they allow me to formulate the right defense for your criminal case and produce the best possible results.

All Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys are NOT the Same

Unlike other Rhode Island criminal defense law firms, I will be the ONLY ATTORNEY HANDLING YOUR CASE. You won’t be dealing with various associates or partners who are unfamiliar with you or your criminal charges.

I will be the criminal lawyer representing you, explaining each step of the process, and creating an individualized defense strategy which fits your specific circumstances.

My clients deal with ME and only me. If your case goes to court, I’ll be the criminal lawyer standing next to you.

Criminal charges require a defense attorney who is attentive, effective, aggressive and available 24/7. There is no other Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who matches my level of commitment to my clients. 

Judges, lawyers and police officers have referred their family and friends to me for representation

Preeminet criminal defense by Martindale-Hubbell

Other criminal defense lawyers throughout Rhode Island have “Peer Rated” my law office with the Martindale-Hubbell organization as Preeminent in criminal defense, and I am quite thankful to have received its highest honor for 5 straight years.

Check out a few of the hundreds of 5 star reviews and testimonials from former clients.

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Testimonials

See all 5 Star Reviews and Client Testimonials

Criminal Law Cases and Crimes Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. defends: 


  • Former Rhode Island State Prosecutor 
  • Judges, lawyers, and police officers refer their own family and friends to my law firm for representation
  • Nearly 3 decades of experience in the Rhode Island Criminal Justice System
  • Over 300 Five STAR online reviews across all platforms
  • Aggressive, experienced, and personal defense of all crimes
  • Strong and long-standing relationships with all Rhode Island prosecutors and judges
  • My goal in every case is DISMISSAL and then EXPUNGEMENT OF ALL CHARGES 
  • I’m in court every day of the week, and I strongly believe each client deserves this personal service and attention. This means that I will be the lawyer reviewing and overseeing your case. I will be the attorney standing next to you in court. I NEVER send associates to my job. 
  • I believe it’s critical for every criminal client to be well-informed and fully engaged in the process. Defending your Rhode Island criminal case is truly a team effort, which is why I copy every client on every document coming in and out of the law office. 
  • All calls and emails will be returned within a few hours by me personally, NOT AN ASSOCIATE. 
  • I’m available 24/7/365

I provide a free and comprehensive initial consultation in all new cases. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Rhode Island and need to be represented by one of the best Rhode Island Criminal Lawyers in the state, contact S. Joshua Macktaz Esq. for a FREE consultation today at (401) 861-1155

Information on Rhode Island Criminal Laws and Penalties

If you have questions about Rhode Island’s general laws and penalties on various criminal charges, we have the answers. I want all my clients to feel fully informed and confident moving forward with their criminal case. Here you’ll find basic information on common legal questions which many clients encounter after facing an arrest. For further information on your specific criminal charges and circumstances, contact my Rhode Island law office today for a free consultation and a more comprehensive look at your case. 

Why Do I Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

First, it’s crucial to understand you should never have to face criminal charges alone. Many people will often ask why it’s necessary to hire a criminal defense lawyer after being arrested for the first time. Keep in mind the Rhode Island criminal justice system can be incredibly complicated. If you have no previous legal experience, it can be very difficult to file the necessary paperwork, create a defense strategy, and represent yourself using the proper legal channels and procedures.  And the criminal penalties can have life-long effects.  

In addition, facing criminal charges in Rhode Island can be terrifying, stressful, and emotional. This makes it even more difficult to represent yourself when you’re dealing with all of the negative emotions and anxiety which typically come along with criminal charges. Lastly, building a strong criminal defense is incredibly time-consuming. If you already work a full-time job or are a full-time student, there may not be enough hours in a day for you to properly prepare your case, nor are you familiar with the law, rules and procedures.

Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide the desired results.  For the best possible outcome, contact Rhode Island criminal defense attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. to review your case. 

Do I need a Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer?

If you have been arrested by police and charged with a criminal act, it is common sense to have a criminal defense lawyer represent you.  Some people will ask if they can use the latest legal apps or online law forums to build their defense and get desired results. The problem with apps, online legal assistance, or researching your own case is that Rhode Island laws are specific and complex. It’s absolutely imperative to work with an actual Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who knows the Rhode Island laws and penalties inside and out, is familiar with the judges and prosecutors, and understands the criminal justice system. If your case goes to trial, nothing can compare to having the best criminal defense attorney on your side. 

How Much Does a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney Cost? 

The cost of your criminal defense attorney will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your criminal case and the severity of your criminal charges. To get a better idea of what your case will cost, it’s best to take advantage of a free consultation appointment to fully discuss your case and what the expenses will look like.  

Remember, the goal is to get your charges dropped, your criminal case dismissed, and then Expunged from your record.   The cost of not hiring the best criminal lawyer can be your reputation and your future.   See our client testimonials for first-hand reviews on the best criminal defense attorney in Rhode Island.  

What Types of Crimes Do You Handle in Rhode Island? 

I have experience defending all offenses from speeding tickets to First Degree Murder. I’ve seen it all and defended it all. Whether you’re facing drug offenses, a domestic violence arrest, a DUI, or shoplifting charges, contact the best Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer to review your case today. 

How Often Do You Settle Cases Out of Court? 

Let me be perfectly clear, as a Rhode Island criminal lawyer my goal for all my clients is to have their criminal charges DISMISSED AND EXPUNGED. I will work to defend you and provide the best possible outcome for your case.   Sometimes criminal cases do not get dismissed.  In those situations I work tirelessly at choosing the most optimal paths for my clients to help them avoid severe penalties while producing the best results.

Do Lawyers and Prosecutors Work Together?

Having a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney with a strong relationship with the prosecutor has many advantages. When a defense lawyer has had the opportunity to work with the prosecutor for a number of years, the defense lawyer can gain an understanding of how the prosecutor typically works, acknowledge any potential biases, identify patterns in their legal actions and behavior, and more. If your defense attorney has no relationship with the prosecutor, or a poor relationship with the prosecutor, it can make it very difficult to design a specific defense and predict outcomes. 

If you’re facing criminal charges in Rhode Island, it’s highly recommended to only work with a criminal defense attorney who has a strong relationship and a history with the prosecutor.  Having begun my career as a prosecutor at the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General I have a background and experience which most Rhode Island defense lawyers simply do not have.  I was a prosecutor, so I know how they think and how they work.

Do prosecutors make good defense lawyers?

The BEST.  Common sense tells us that former prosecutors make the best criminal defense lawyers.  This is because criminal defense attorneys with backgrounds as prosecutors know how to get into the mind of the prosecutor. They can detect and predict their legal moves and create counter-arguments for every point. In other words, there are no surprises when you’re working with a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who was a former prosecutor. They’ve worked on both sides of the courtroom and they know how to approach your case using a comprehensive and aggressive strategy. 

What are the Levels of Criminal Offenses in Rhode Island? 

There are two types of criminal offenses in Rhode Island: 

A misdemeanor is a less serious criminal offense, although no arrest or crime should never be taken lightly.  A conviction for a misdemeanor crime can have long-lasting and negative effects on a person’s life.  A misdemeanor penalty might include fines, community service, and/or up to a year in jail. Examples of misdemeanors are DUI charges, petty theft, reckless driving, assault and battery, disorderly conduct, domestic assault and battery, domestic disorderly conduct and prostitution.   These cases are handled in the Rhode Island District Court.

A felony charge is a more serious criminal charge in Rhode Island. Felony charges can result in penalties such as years in prison, heavy fines, and other severe consequences. Examples of felonies include delivery of narcotics, possession of large amounts of controlled substances, assault and battery resulting in personal injury, white collar crimes, burglary, rape, murder, and arson.  These cases are handled in the Rhode Island Superior Court.

Regardless if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, having a trusted criminal defense lawyer representing you is what is most important. 

Am I Eligible to Have My Conviction or Dismissal Expunged? 

THIS IS MY GOAL IN EVERY CRIMINAL CASE.   If you’re a first time offender looking to have your criminal record expunged, your expungement eligibility will depend on what the criminal charge was and how the case ended in court.   I can tell a person if they are eligible for expungement in the first 5 minutes of a phone call.  If so, the total timetable to have a crime expunged from a criminal record is 3-4 weeks.  AND, expunging or sealing a criminal record does not require you to go to court.   A very simple process when handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney.

As stated above, all Rhode Island criminal charges fall into one of two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Different expungement laws apply for misdemeanors versus felonies, but the process of expungement of a criminal record is generally the same. 

Only an experienced Rhode Island criminal lawyer can tell you if you’re eligible to have a felony or misdemeanor charge expunged and what your path to expungement looks like.  

What’s the Difference Between Having a Criminal Conviction Sealed and Expunged? 

The results of these two actions on a criminal record are exactly the same. The Court uses different words depending on how your case ended.  

If you’re a first time offender and your criminal case was either dismissed by law enforcement or the prosecution, or you were found not guilty by a judge or jury of the criminal charges for which you were arrested, the process is called sealing the criminal record. 

If you were convicted of a criminal charge or you pled guilty to a criminal offense and received a sentence, the process is called expungement

Three things happen when a criminal record is either expunged or sealed: 

  1. Your arrest record, whether it be a criminal charge, sentence, probation, suspended sentence, a plea of nolo contendere, or criminal conviction will be deleted from the Bureau of Criminal Identification (this is the official term for your criminal “record”, which is kept by the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General)
  2. The criminal law court deletes your arrest record, criminal charge, the sentence, probation, suspended sentence plea of nolo contendere, criminal conviction, and criminal case information from the Court computer. The important part is no one will be able to access this record from now on. 
  3. Finally, law enforcement and the courts are ordered to destroy the physical file, record, and any other evidence of your legal matter in their possession. 

Basically, under Rhode Island expungement law, once a criminal history has been sealed or expunged, it won’t appear anywhere for the public, law enforcement, or the courts to access it. 

In addition, you’re not legally obligated to ever answer any questions about your criminal history. For instance, on a job application, you can mark “no” to having a criminal record.  It is considered the legal equivalent of “it never happened”. 

How About DUI Cases?

Rhode Island DUI law is very specific and very complicated.  If you have been charged with a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI in Rhode Island, you absolutely need the best RI DUI lawyer as your legal representation.  A conviction for a Rhode Island DUI can carry jail time, hefty fines and costs, mandatory community service, mandatory attendance and completion of DUI classes, and a significant loss of your license to operate a motor vehicle.  A Rhode Island DUI case is no joke, and requires an experienced and knowledgeable Rhode Island DUI attorney to prepare the best DUI defense.  

So many people we may know have found themselves arrested for a Rhode Island DUI.  It is one of the most common criminal offenses in Rhode Island.  Law enforcement take DUI cases very seriously because they happen so often.  GOOD PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES TOO.  But do not make the mistake worse by hiring the wrong Rhode Island DUI lawyer.  My law firm has defended thousands of Rhode Island DUI charges and there is NOTHING I have not seen or defended.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer makes all the difference in the world. 

What Classifies as a Domestic Violence Crime in Rhode Island? 

Rhode Island takes domestic violence crimes very seriously. Some of the harshest penalties in the state are associated with crimes involving domestic violence. This is why it’s so vital to have a criminal defense attorney with years of experience in domestic violence and assault charges. 

Rhode Island law classifies the following actions as domestic violence criminal charges: 

  • Domestic Battery
  • Assault Causing Bodily Injury
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Malicious Damage to Property
  • Failure to Relinquish a Telephone
  • Abuse
  • Violation of a Restraining Order or No Contact Order
  • Cyber Harassment (on social media is a common example)
  • Stalking
  • Child Abuse
  • Breaking and Entering
  • Family Violence
  • Any Bodily Injury
  • Trespassing
  • Kidnapping
  • Child Snatching
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Abuse
  • False Imprisonment
  • Homicide/Murder
  • Arson
  • Burglary

If you’re facing any of the domestic violence charges in the list above, it’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in domestic violence in Rhode Island. I have years of experience defending clients who have faced domestic violence charges, which are some of the most serious offenses in Rhode Island and can have significant penalties.  

This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has specific experience in domestic violence.  I have defended hundreds and hundreds of these cases as a Rhode Island criminal lawyer. 

Can I Be Arrested for Possession of Marijuana in Rhode Island?          

The marijuana laws have drastically changed across the country and specifically in Rhode Island. Today, Rhode Island has established marijuana legalization for possession of cannabis in small amounts and for personal and recreational use. Rhode Island also has approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. 

However, it is possible to face marijuana criminal charges in other circumstances. For instance, a criminal marijuana charge can be brought for simple possession of marijuana (if you possess more than 1 ounce of marijuana), possession with intent to deliver marijuana, delivery of marijuana, and cultivation of marijuana. 

Remember also that possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle can also lead to a DUI charge. 

What are the Penalties for Marijuana Charges in Rhode Island? 

Rhode Island penalties for marijuana charges can include jail, expensive fines, suspended sentences, probation, and community service. The severity of these penalties will depend on the specific marijuana charge and other details surrounding your case. 

Rhode Island’s marijuana laws are very complicated and always changing.  This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has specific experience in marijuana crimes.  I have handled literally hundreds and hundreds of these cases as a Rhode Island criminal lawyer. 

What are Rhode Island’s Assault and Battery Laws? 

According to Rhode Island General Laws, an “assault” is any act which places another person in imminent fear of bodily injury. “Battery” is any unwanted touching. If either of these charges involves a partner or spouse, the charge will be classified as a domestic assault.  This is also considered a violent crime under Rhode Island domestic violence laws.

Simple assault and battery is an assault on a person which doesn’t cause serious bodily harm. Some of the most common examples of assault and battery include: 

  • Domestic assault
  • Punching or hitting
  • Slapping
  • Kicking 
  • Pushing
  • Tripping
  • Spitting 

A simple assault charge can even stem from an unsuccessful attempt to cause harm. Such as freely swinging fists or having to be held back from a fight by other people. 

As you can imagine, there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to simple assault and battery charges. Many people are completely unaware their actions or behavior can lead to an assault and battery arrest. Basically, there are endless situations and circumstances which can unintentionally result in assault and battery charges. This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has specific experience in assault and battery.  I have defended hundreds and hundreds of these cases as a Rhode Island criminal lawyer.

What are Rhode Island’s Penalties for Simple Assault and Battery Convictions? 

Rhode Island assault and battery conviction penalties include: 

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000.00 in fines, plus court costs
  • 1-year Probation
  • 1-year Suspended Sentence
  • Alcohol, anger management, or mental health counseling
  • No contact order/restraining order with the victim
  • Loss of the right to possess firearms

Remember, as mentioned above, there can be a lot of confusion and blurred lines when it comes to simple assault and battery charges. For instance, a battery charge is defined as any “unwanted touching”. Therefore, accidentally brushing up against someone in a crowded place or bumping into someone without intent to touch or harm them could possibly result in a battery charge. While these cases are rare, it does indeed happen. If you’ve been charged with simple assault and battery, it’s important to have a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who can help you have these charges dismissed so you can avoid these penalties. 

What Constitutes as a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Rhode Island? 

You can read about how Rhode Island defines and classifies disorderly conduct here.

If you’ve reviewed these laws before, you understand there are endless possible scenarios which can lead to a disorderly conduct arrest in Rhode Island. Some examples of behaviors classified as misdemeanor disorderly conduct are:

  • Public drunkenness
  • Inciting a riot
  • Disturbance of the peace
  • Assault
  • Assault and battery
  • Loitering in certain areas
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Domestic violence
  • Fighting / physical altercations
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Obstruction of a police officer
  • Use of extremely obscene or abusive language
  • Loud or unreasonable noise
  • Obstruction, disturbance, or interference with normal activities of a business
  • Peeping Tom
  • Exposing yourself in public for lascivious purpose

Basically, any disruptive behavior can lead to a disorderly conduct charge in Rhode Island. This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has specific experience in disorderly conduct crimes.  I have defended literally hundreds and hundreds of these criminal cases as an experienced Rhode Island criminal attorney.

Do I Need a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer for Traffic Violations? 

While most people consider traffic tickets simple violations they can handle by themselves.   Consequences for traffic violations can be expensive and can cause a lot of disruptions in people’s everyday lives. Expensive fines and driver’s license suspensions can create issues with employment, paying monthly bills, or simply handling daily routines. Regardless if this is your first speeding ticket or your third or fourth moving violation in the state of Rhode Island, it’s a smart idea to hire a defense attorney to resolve these issues for you. An experienced defense lawyer who has specific experience in traffic violations can help you avoid costly fines and make sure your driving record remains clean. 

What is a Juvenile Offense in Rhode Island?

A juvenile offense is when a child (under the age of 18) faces a criminal charge. Unfortunately, juvenile offenses happen more often than we’d like to admit. Parents of children who have been charged with a criminal offense will need as much support as possible. Contacting the best defense attorney who has specific experience in juvenile offenses and Rhode Island Family Court should be your first step.

Juvenile offenses can be terrifying for parents, especially those caregivers of young offenders. Your child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy life with a successful career, but a juvenile offense conviction on their record can be incredibly damaging to their future. 

If your child has been charged with a crime in the Rhode Island Juvenile Criminal system, contact me as soon as possible. Not only will an experienced criminal defense lawyer be able to explain the intake and booking procedures, but a qualified lawyer can give you the answers you need to get through this stressful time. 

Remember, the sooner you contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney, the easier it will be to build a strong defense case for your child.

How Does Bail and Bail Bonds Work in Rhode Island?

Bail is set by a judge in pre-trial hearings. Many people believe bail is simply a fine you pay, but this is a common misconception. Bail is the money an arrestee must pay to be released from custody. If the arrestee bail is paid, they’re released from jail immediately. 

If you can’t afford to pay your bail, you can turn to a bail bondsman. A bail bond is a guarantee by a third party, often called a bond seller, to pay an arrestee’s bail. This bond is then given to the Rhode Island court. A bail bond will generally cost 10% of the bail. 

Contact the Best Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney 

The Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. is available 24- hours a day seven days a week to help you with your criminal defense case. I can’t stress enough how important it is to contact an experienced Rhode Island criminal attorney immediately after an arrest so they can start working on your case. If you are looking to get the best results, you want someone who has extensive experience in all areas of criminal defense. 

I have offices in Providence, Warwick, Narragansett, North Smithfield and Newport. For a free consultation at one of my offices feel contact us at (401) 861-1155. Good people make mistakes too, don’t leave your freedom to chance. Contact Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today. 

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Office

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.

127 Dorrance Street
Providence , RI

Phone: (401) 861-1155

phone Request your free case evaluation today! (401)861-1155

Office Locations

The Law Offices of S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. are conveniently located throughout Rhode Island.


Personally Handling Your Criminal Charges In Any Of The Rhode Island Courts

Providence County District Court
  • Barrington
  • Bristol
  • Burrillville
  • Central Falls
  • Cumberland
  • East Providence
  • Pawtucket
  • Providence
  • State Police - Lincoln Barracks
  • Warren
  • Woonsocket
Kent County District Court
  • Coventry
  • Cranston
  • East Greenwich
  • Exeter
  • Foster
  • Glocester
  • Johnston
  • Lincoln
  • North Kingstown
  • North Providence
  • North Smithfield
  • Scituate
  • Smithfield
  • State Police - Hope Valley
  • Barracks
  • Warwick
  • West Greenwich
  • West Warwick
Newport County District Court
  • Jamestown
  • Little Compton
  • Middletown
  • Newport
  • Portsmouth
  • State Police - Wickford Barracks
  • Tiverton
Washington County District Court
  • Charlestown
  • Hopkinton
  • Narragansett
  • New Shoreham
  • South Kingstown
  • State Police - Hope Valley Barracks
  • Richmond
  • Westerly

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