Understanding Rhode Island Criminal Law-Key Points to Know

November 21, 2023 – Thomas G. Briody

Rhode Island criminal law categorizes offenses into two main types: misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanors: Generally, these are less severe cases, punishable by up to one year in prison. Common misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, first defense shoplifting, simple assault, and driving under the influence.
Felonies: More serious offenses, felonies are punishable by more than one year in prison. These include capital crimes such as murder, first-degree sexual assault, and robbery. Rhode Island recognizes certain serious drug offenses as felonies, often carrying lengthy prison terms.
Further, Rhode Island criminal law divides felony cases into two classes:
Class Two Felonies: Punishable by no more than 10 years imprisonment.
Class One Felonies: More severe, potentially punishable by more than 10 years in prison.
Understanding your charges and the potential penalties is crucial in Rhode Island criminal law. Most defendants in Rhode Island are entitled to bail or pre-trial release. It is vital to consult with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your situation and provide advice on defending against any charges you might face.

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