Misdemeanors in Rhode Island
A misdemeanor in the state of Rhode Island is defined as an offense punishable by up to one year in a county jail. Driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, domestic violence, shoplifting, second offenses of refusing to take a breathalyzer, reckless driving, vandalism, writing bad checks, disorderly conduct, domestic disorderly, simple assault and battery, domestic vandalism, and many others are examples of misdemeanors. Driving with a suspended license is treated differently than other misdemeanors because a previous offense occurred.
Misdemeanor Court in Rhode Island
When charged with a misdemeanor, it is common practice to hire a criminal defense attorney and plead not guilty under all circumstances. A plea of not guilty will result in different charges than a plea of guilty. In the state of Rhode Island, there are four possible pleas: guilty, not guilty, Alfred plea, and nolo contendere. Following an arraignment, a pretrial conference is held where a plea can be changed after meeting with the prosecutor or judge and an offer of a pending sentence is made. This sentence is negotiable between the prosecutor and the lawyer. A deal must first be reached with the prosecutor in order to change a not guilty plea to guilty or nolo contendere. A trial date will be set if an agreement cannot be reached.
A nolo contendere plea is a no contest plea. This means that the person is essentially admitting to the charges but does not wish to contest them. In Rhode Island, a nolo contendere plea does not always result in a criminal conviction, whereas a guilty plea always results in a criminal conviction. This type of plea is highly recommended because it reduces court costs and contributes to the victims’ indemnity fund. Other petitions make no contributions to this fund.
Expungement in Rhode Island
The legal process of sealing criminal files is known as expungement. This means that only the appropriate authorities will have access to the records, and they will no longer be accessible to the general public or law enforcement agencies for any reason. Expungement allows people to obtain professional licenses, employment, credit, financial aid, and firearms because their background checks will be cleared. After a petition is granted, an individual can legally state that he or she was never convicted of the crime. However, if another crime is committed after the expungement, the expunged offense is frequently used as a prior offense, causing charges to be elevated.
Rhode Island has proposed legislation that would allow a first-time offender to seek expungement of a criminal record conviction for both felonies and misdemeanors. These are based on requests made to the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification Unit. The proper paperwork must be filed, including all of the information requesting that the court expunge the record. Even after submitting a petition for expungement, the court may deny the petition for any reason.