Providence County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Providence County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Providence County.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Providence County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Providence County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Providence County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Who can help me in Providence County?
For general information about your case the Providence County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
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.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
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.
Sentencing in Providence County
In Providence County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Who is the prosecutor for Providence County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Providence County criminal cases will either be a representative of Providence County or a representative from Rhode Island. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Arraignments in Providence County
During an arraignment in Providence County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Providence County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Providence County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Required Court Appearances in Providence County
Any required court appearances in Providence County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Providence County Criminal Court Locations
Providence/Bristol County Superior Court
Address: 250 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-222-3250 Fax: 401-222-2701
Sixth Division District Court
Address: One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-458-5400 Fax: 401-458-3190
Burrillville Municipal Court
Address: 1477 Victory Highway, PO Box 419, Burrillville, RI 02830
Central Falls Municipal Court
Address: 580 Broad Street, Central Falls, RI 02863
Phone: 401-727-7405 ext 3102 Fax: 401-727-7422
Cranston Municipal Court
Address: 5 Garfield Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: 401-780-3198 Fax: 401-780-3165
Cumberland Municipal Court
Address: 45 Broad Street, Cumberland, RI 02864
East Providence Municipal Court
Address: 145 Taunton Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914
Phone: 401-435-7540 Fax: 401-435-4630
Johnston Municipal Court
Address: 1395 Atwood Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919
Phone: 401-946-7150 Fax: 401-946-7153
Lincoln Municipal Court
Address: 100 Old River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865
Phone: 401-333-8453 Fax: 401-333-3648
North Providence Municipal Court
Address: 2000 Smith Street, North Providence, RI 02911
Phone: 401-233-1433 ext 139
North Smithfield Municipal Court
Address: 575 Smithfield Road, North Smithfield, RI 02896
Pawtucket Municipal Court
Address: 121 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02860
Phone: 401-727-9100 ext 824
Providence Municipal Court
Address: 325 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903
Woonsocket Municipal Court
Address: 169 Main Street, Woonsocket, RI 02895
Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal
Address: 670 New London Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920