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A criminal charge can impact your life and reputation for years to come, which is why securing a strong defense attorney early on in the criminal process is crucial. The Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers at Abilheira Law, LLC understand the fear and anxiety that these charges may cause and are her to support you every step of the way providing experienced and aggressive legal representation. Call us today and put your future and freedom in our capable hands.
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What Happens After An Arrest in Rhode Island?
At Abilheira Law, LLC, our goal is to provide you with the information you need to understand your criminal charges and how your case will move through the court system. With years of criminal law experience, our attorneys can explain to you in detail what to expect as your case progresses from arrest to resolution.
Arrest and processing
When an officer suspects you have committed a crime, he will arrest you and bring you to the police department. While there, you will be booked and processed. The arresting officer will obtain information like your name, address, and date of birth, and will take your fingerprints and photos. Depending on your charge, you may be held without bail or released by a justice of the peace with a court summons.
Arrested for a criminal offense in Rhode Island?
Call Abilheira Law today: 401-245-5100!
Will my case be handled in District or Superior Court?
Depending on what you have been charged with, your case will end up in District Court or Superior Court. Misdemeanors are handled in District Court while felony cases are handled in Superior Court. Misdemeanor cases carry a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Examples of misdemeanors in Rhode Island include:
Felony charges are considered more serious than misdemeanors and carry harsher penalties including fines of well over $1,000 and the possibility of up to life in prison. Examples of felony crimes include:
No matter what type of crime you may be charged with, it is incredibly important to get legal advice from a qualified and knowledgeable Rhode Island criminal defense attorney. The legal team at Abilheira Law, LLC is comprised of committed and dedicated criminal defense attorneys
who have helped countless Rhode Islander’s fight their criminal charges. Our attorneys will protect not only your freedom, but also your future and your reputation.
Contact Abilheira Law, LLC today for a complimentary consultation and get the support and advice you need! 401-245-5100
What county will my case be handled in?
In Rhode Island, there are four counties: Newport County, Providence/Bristol County, Washington County, and Kent County. Depending on what city or town you were arrested in, you will required to appear in one of the county courts listed above.
What happens once my case gets to court?
Your arraignment is your first appearance in court where you will be formally notified of the charges being brought against you. You will then be asked to enter a plea. If you enter a not guilty plea, the judge will set bail, which will vary based on the seriousness of your criminal charge. You will then be given a pre-trial court date. If you enter a guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) plea at arraignment, you will be sentenced and the case will be over. Doing this will rob you of your opportunity to fight the charges against you. It is not in your best interest to enter a plea of guilty or nolo at such an early stage in your case.
- Pre-trial proceedings
The pre-trial phase is arguable the most important part of the criminal process. During pre-trial, your criminal defense lawyer will file for and receive “discovery.” The discovery packet will include the evidence that the prosecution will use against you, like photographs, videos, witness statements, test results and more. After receiving this critical information, you will have the opportunity to review it with your attorney and discuss a defense strategy. While reviewing discovery, your attorney may decide to do an independent investigation into the crime you have allegedly committed. Once you and your attorney are satisfied with the discovery, your attorney will have a series of conferences with the prosecutor in an attempt to work out a favorable resolution in your case. Often, these conferences involve input from the judge as well, so it is important for your attorney to be familiar with both the prosecutor handling your case and the judge assigned to your courtroom. The pre-trial phase ends in one of three ways. Either the case get dismissed, you decide to enter a plea or the case is scheduled for trial.
As a criminal defendant, you always have the right to go to trial. In District Court, a trial is held in front of a judge only. In Superior Court, your case is presented before a jury of your peers. You may also decide to waive your right to a jury trial and have you felony case presented only to a judge. During trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof, which means that they must convince the judge or jury that you are guilty of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will have the opportunity to make an opening statement, cross examine witnesses, present witnesses in your defense, and then make a closing argument. At the end of a trial, the judge or jury will render their verdict. A not guilty verdict means that you have been exonerated of all the charges against you and they are dropped. If you are found guilty, a sentence will be imposed by the judge. Juries do not impose sentences.
If you are found guilty, a sentence will be imposed. This may include a combination of fines, restitution, community service, and counseling. Your sentence may also include a probation sentence, a deferred sentence, a suspended sentence, or a jail sentence.
After conviction, you may appeal your case if there are grounds to do so. At the end of a district court trial, there is an automatic appeal to the Superior Court, where you will have the opportunity to go to trial before a jury. After a Superior Court jury trial, you may appeal your case to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Start Building Your Customized Defense Today With Abilheira Law
At Abilheira Law, our practice is committed to meeting the needs of our clients. To achieve this goal, we are tirelessly refining our legal strategies to ensure that we are developing the strongest possible defense for our clients. We care about protecting your name and your freedom and work hard to provide one-on-one attention and support. When you come to our firm, you can be confident you will receive the comprehensive legal representation you need.
Take the First Step–Fill out a Free Case Evaluation
Abilheira Law, LLC is your bridge to justice. If you are ready to have aggressive and experienced attorneys working hard on your behalf, we encourage you to call our firm right away. We are passionate about helping our clients and strive to achieve successful results in each of their cases. We have two convenient office locations in Providence and Warren, making Abilheira Law, LLC accessible to clients throughout Rhode Island. We look forward to hearing from you.
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