RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL LAW
Criminal law is a broad category of law that covers everything from some traffic and municipal violations to the most severely punished felonies. Punishments and jail sentences likewise vary from small fines to long prison terms and many factors contribute to the severity of the sentence Below you can find general information about some common categories of Rhode Island criminal law. If you have been charged with a crime in Rhode Island, you should contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who can inform you of your options.
Drug Possession in Rhode Island
With certain exceptions for medical marijuana and other health and science-related categories, it is unlawful in Rhode Island for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess any drug classified as a "controlled substance."
Possession of controlled substances other than marijuana is punishable by up to three years of jail and/or a fine ranging between $500 and $5,000. Non-medical possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries jail sentences of up to one year, and/or fines between $200 and $500. To determine whether your possession of a controlled substance falls within any of the lawful exceptions, contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney.
Assault in Rhode Island
Although you can be sued in civil court for assault, there is also a criminal version of assault that can result in conviction and jail time. Rhode Island has several specific categories of assault that vary based on factors such as the type of victim involved and whether a weapon was used. Felony assaults include, among other types, assaults with deadly weapons, fire or acid, and assaults that result in serious bodily injury; these are punishable by up to twenty years in prison.
Striking or causing bodily injury to certain individuals, such as schoolteachers or people over the age of sixty, is also a felony punishable by jail terms of three years or five years, respectively. Simple assault or battery carries a one year maximum sentence and a $1,000 fine.
A Rhode Island criminal defense attorney can help you raise a defense to any of the variety of assaults categorized in your state.
Rhode Island Drunk Driving – DUI/DWI
Many people are charged with drunk driving each year. If you have been charged with DUI or DWI in Rhode Island, you should contact a Rhode Island DUI/DWI attorney who can inform you about potential consequences such as suspension of your driving license, fines, and jail time.
Right to a Jury in Rhode Island
Criminal defendants have a right to a trial by jury in Rhode Island; however, this right can be waived if you choose and if the court allows. If you elect for a waiver, the judge will render a judgment and verdict and decide your sentence. You can request that the judge make a special finding on any issue of fact and a special ruling on any question of law arising in the case.
A Rhode Island criminal defense attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of trial by jury in your particular situation.
Trial Date in Rhode Island
If you have been indicted for or charged with an offense that could potentially be refused bail, and if you are imprisoned, you can demand a trial. Within six months of you making your plea, the state of Rhode Island must either put you on trial or set bail for you.
Sentence Reviews & Appeals in Rhode Island
Within twenty days of the imposition of a sentence which does not fall within the normal sentencing range for the offense, the attorney general, if the court imposes a less severe sentence, or the defendant, if the court imposes a more severe sentence, may appeal the sentence to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Additionally, within five days of your sentencing by a district court, you can appeal to the superior court for the county in which the district court that sentenced you is located. You should discuss any criminal law questions or concerns with a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney.
Rhode Island Statutes
Click here to reference the applicable Rhode Island statutes: