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The criminal courts in Rhode Island are divided between the district court and the superior court. District Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors, while the superior court has jurisdiction over felonies. Each court has its own set of rules, but many of these rules overlap. For example, the laws regarding violations in Rhode Island are found in both the District Court Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure.
If you're facing jail because of a probation violation in Rhode Island, do not wait to schedule a free consultation with our defense attorney at The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq.
Rhode Island Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(f) and 46(g) govern the law regarding violations in both district and superior court. If you or a family member are facing an allegation that probation or bail or both have been violated, you should contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney right away. Our attorneys have successfully handled both district court and superior court violation matters throughout Rhode Island and can do the same for you.
Rhode Island Rule of Criminal Procedure 46(g) states that if there is a breach of condition of a recognizance, the court - upon motion of the attorney for the state - shall declare a forfeiture of the bail.
The defendant is entitled to a hearing before a judge who must make a determination as to whether or not the conditions of probation or bail have been violated. If a violation is determined, prison time could result.
When a person is placed on a sentence, i.e. filing, deferred sentence, probation or a suspended sentence, they are expected to keep the peace and act in good behavior. If a person is accused of not keeping the peace and/or not maintaining good behavior, the state, through the Attorney General's Office, will file a violation notice.
If a person is accused of a violation, they will be brought before a district or superior court judge. At this time, a representative from the Attorney General's Office will present facts to the judge. If the judge rules the facts to be supportive of a violation, the judge may hold the accused without bail for a period of up to 10 days before the person is entitled to a hearing. On the 10th day, a hearing must commence or bail must be set.
Not every criminal defense lawyer knows how to defend against allegations of probation violations. Our attorneys have successfully conducted numerous probation and bail violation hearings in both district and superior courts. If a person is on bail and they are accused of not keeping the peace and being of good behavior, they will most likely need a hearing to prove otherwise.
Probation and bail violation hearings are some of the more difficult legal proceedings because the standard of guilt is extremely low. In Rhode Island, in order to be found as a violator, a judge must be convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant did not keep the peace and be of good behavior. If this standard is satisfied, a judge can sentence the defendant to all, some, or none of the time left of the individual's sentence.
For example, if a person is on probation for a period of 5 years and is found to be in violation of their probation sentence, the judge can sentence him or her to any portion of the 5-year sentence. In contrast, if a person is on bail for an offense and they are found to be in violation of bail, the maximum amount of time a judge can sentence them is 90 days.
You cannot afford to hire an inexperienced lawyer if you’ve been accused of a probation violation in Rhode Island or anywhere in Massachusetts. Don’t take chances with your future freedom.
Contact The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. to schedule a free consultation with a Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer.