In the state of Rhode Island, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a petty misdemeanor. If you’ve been charged with either, it’s important to speak with a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Some may believe that misdemeanors aren’t considered serious crimes because the penalties and punishments aren’t as harsh as they are for felony crimes. However, you can still face expensive fines and up to a year in jail with a misdemeanor conviction and up to six months in jail with a petty misdemeanor conviction.
In addition, having a misdemeanor on your record can be damaging to various areas of your personal and professional life. Don’t wait to get legal representation. Contact a Rhode Island misdemeanor lawyer today to discuss your case.
What Happens if I’m Facing Misdemeanor Criminal Charges in Rhode Island?
If you were recently arrested in Rhode Island, you were either charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Examples of misdemeanor criminal charges are:
- First offense DUI
- Simple assault or battery
- Public intoxication
- Indecent exposure
- Disorderly conduct
A Rhode Island misdemeanor charge will be handled by a District court in your jurisdiction.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Any criminal offense which may be punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both, is declared to be a misdemeanor in the state of Rhode Island.
Any criminal offense which may be punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both, is declared to be a petty misdemeanor in Rhode Island.
Any offense which may be punished by only a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) is declared to be a violation in Rhode Island.
What is the Process After a Misdemeanor Arrest?
If this is the first time you’ve found yourself in trouble with the law, a misdemeanor arrest can be an unsettling and confusing process. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help explain what happens after a misdemeanor arrest, walk you through the legal process, and identify the best way to minimize your penalties or even get your charges dropped. It’s important to understand what happens after a misdemeanor arrest. This can help you know what to expect as well as understand why it’s essential to hire an attorney.
Here’s a brief summary of the procedure after a misdemeanor arrest:
- Processing: Rhode Island Law enforcement will bring you to your local police station for processing. Processing involves taking all of your information as well as fingerprints and photos. After being arrested for misdemeanor criminal charges, remember that it’s imperative to request to speak with a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney at this time.
- Arraignment: Next, you’ll be given an arraignment hearing. An arraignment is when you stand before a judge and plead “not guilty”. Once a judge accepts your plea, you’ll receive a pre-trial hearing date and your bail will be set.
- Pre-Trial Meeting: A pre-trial meeting is a very important step in the process. This is when the state provides your criminal defense attorney with the evidence held against you. This will most likely include the police report, details of any physical evidence, witness testimonies, or other information pertaining to your misdemeanor criminal charges. At this point, your criminal defense attorney will develop a defense strategy.
- Trial: As your case moves through the system, your criminal defense lawyer will work with the prosecution to attempt to have the criminal charges dropped or negotiate on your behalf to reach a plea deal. If an agreement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial. At your trial, both sides will present evidence and a judge and/or jury will provide a
- Appeal: If you are found guilty, you’ll be given the opportunity to appeal to a Superior court for a new trial.
How Can a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney Help With Your Misdemeanor Charges?
A misdemeanor charge may be a lesser offense than a felony, but the Rhode Island courts take misdemeanor cases seriously. Because of this, you should have a skilled criminal defense attorney representing you if you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the extent of your charges, minimize your penalties, or even fight to have your misdemeanor charges dropped. It’s never recommended to handle your misdemeanor case alone or simply plead guilty because you think you’re out of options. Contact an experienced Rhode Island criminal defense attorney today to learn more.
Contact a Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyer
It can be difficult to successfully make it through each step of the misdemeanor criminal process without a defense lawyer. Unfortunately, the legal system makes it easy for first-time offenders to enter guilty pleas, receive harsh sentences, and become just another number in the criminal justice system. Many misdemeanor charges are not only unjust and inappropriate, but they can also be a result of law enforcement error. A misdemeanor defense lawyer will have your best interest in mind and make sure your rights are being protected. For a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience defending misdemeanor cases, contact the Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esquire at (401) 861-1155 today.
What You Need to Know About Misdemeanors in Rhode Island
Here are some frequently asked questions that clients often ask after being charged with a misdemeanor in Rhode Island:
What are the penalties for a misdemeanor?
Some examples of misdemeanor charges in Rhode Island include:
- Simple assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- Petty theft or larceny
- Reckless driving
- Indecent exposure
- Drug possession
Just because you haven’t been charged with a felony, it doesn’t mean that your punishments and penalties for a misdemeanor crime will be minor. You can still face jail time and expensive fines when convicted of a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. Contact our law office to speak to a defense lawyer about your case today.
What are examples of petty misdemeanor charges in Rhode Island?
Some examples of petty misdemeanors in Rhode Island include small amounts of marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, domestic disorderly conduct, or alcohol possession by a minor. Petty misdemeanors can still lead to jail time, so it’s never recommended to handle a petty misdemeanor charge on your own. Call our law firm and discuss your petty misdemeanor case at a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
In order to distinguish the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, you have to look at the penalties and punishments. A misdemeanor is set by a maximum penalty, while a felony charge is set by a minimum penalty. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor charge in Rhode Island is up to one year in jail and up to $1000 in fines. Anything beyond one year in jail and $1000 in fines will be considered a felony. Of course, this is because a felony is considered a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. However, just because a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, it’s still vital that you speak with a lawyer if arrested for a misdemeanor.
How do you get rid of a petty misdemeanor?
To see if it’s possible to get a petty misdemeanor charged dropped, your first step is to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately after being charged. A petty misdemeanor will not simply go away on its own. Despite the fact that a petty misdemeanor is considered a minor crime, it’s still a crime in Rhode Island that can lead to jail time and high fines. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to handle your petty misdemeanor offense can lead to getting your charge dropped, but you won’t know unless you call. If you’ve recently been charged with a petty misdemeanor, contact our law firm to speak with an attorney.
Can you file a motion to expunge a misdemeanor in Rhode Island?
Absolutely. Because criminal records can significantly affect your personal and professional life, it’s highly recommended to work with a criminal defense attorney who can have your misdemeanor charges expunged. The timeline and steps involved in having a misdemeanor charge expunged from your record in Rhode Island will depend on a few different factors:
- You’re eligible to expunge (also referred to as “sealing”) the criminal case immediately if your misdemeanor charges were dismissed by law enforcement or the prosecution, if or you were found not guilty of the misdemeanor case by a judge or jury.
- You’re eligible to expunge the criminal case after the 1 year has ended if you received a 1 Year Filing in your misdemeanor criminal case. If domestic violence was involved, you must wait 2 additional years for expungement.
- You’re eligible to expunge your conviction 5 years after the probation is completed if you received 1 Year of Probation in your misdemeanor criminal case. An example of this is a Rhode Island DUI conviction.
- You are eligible to expunge your conviction 5 years after the suspended sentence is completed if you received a 1 Year Suspended Sentence in your misdemeanor criminal case.
Expungement law in Rhode Island has been expanded beyond first offenders to allow those with multiple misdemeanor convictions on their criminal record to have non-violent convictions removed. To be eligible to have multiple misdemeanor convictions expunged, a person must wait 10 years after the last case ended.
While this does involve a longer “look-back” period (aka waiting period), it does allow those with multiple charges to eventually move on from these mistakes and begin life again with a clean record. As an experienced and aggressive Rhode Island expungement attorney, I’m able to expunge your criminal history and restore your reputation so you can file job applications, apply for loans, fill out lease applications, attend events at your child’s school, and many other actions that would typically be limited by a criminal record.
Can you get a misdemeanor dropped?
Yes, it is possible to get your misdemeanor charge dropped. Every day, people are unfairly accused and charged with misdemeanor crimes they didn’t commit or face criminal charges for actions that should be considered civil violations. Only an experienced Rhode Island criminal defense attorney can fight your misdemeanor charge, discover and investigate flaws in the prosecutor’s case, and develop the most aggressive defense to lead to your charges being dropped. If you don’t contact a defense lawyer and you face your misdemeanor charges alone, it becomes almost impossible to get the case dismissed or the charges dropped.
Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.
The Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. is available 24 Hours a day seven days a week to help you with your misdemeanor charges. I can’t stress enough how important it is to contact an 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 the area. 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 Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today.
Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyers Office
Rhode Island Misdemeanor Lawyer
Providence , RI
Phone: (401) 861-1155