Kent County Criminal Court

Kent County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Kent County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Kent County.

Prosecutor in Kent County

In Kent County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Kent County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Rhode Island. For the most part, the prosecutor in Kent County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Kent County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kent County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kent County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Kent County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Kent County Criminal Court

Kent County Criminal Court

Kent County Required Court Appearances

In Kent County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

I need help for my Kent County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Kent County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Kent County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Where will Kent County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Kent County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Kent County.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Kent County Criminal Court Locations

  • Kent County Superior Court

    Address: 222 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886
    Phone: 401-822-6900 Fax: 401-822-6905

  • Third Division District Court

    Address: 222 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886-0107
    Phone: 401-822-6750 Fax: 401-823-6755

  • Coventry Municipal Court

    Address: 1670 Flat River Road, Coventry, RI 02816
    Phone: 401-822-9187

  • East Greenwich Municipal Court

    Address: 125 Main Street, East Greenwich, RI 02818
    Phone: 401-886-3212

  • Warwick Municipal Court

    Address: 3275 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886
    Phone: 401-738-2000 ext 6395

  • West Warwick Municipal Court

    Address: 1170 Main Street, West Warwick, RI 02893
    Phone: 401-822-9201 Fax: 401-822-9266

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