What to Expect at a Criminal Arraignment in Rhode Island

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Rhode Island, one of the first court appearances you will have is called an arraignment. This is a critical first step in the criminal justice process. Here’s what you can expect at your arraignment in Rhode Island:

The Arraignment Process

  • The arraignment will occur at the District Court or Superior Court, depending on the case’s travel. District Court handles misdemeanors and the first appearances for felonies, while the Superior Court handles the indicted or informed felony cases.
  • You will appear before a judge, who will read the criminal charges against you. This is known as the “reading of the charges.”
  • You will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. It is usually advisable to plead not guilty at this stage to avoid immediately being convicted.
  • The judge will decide whether to set bail and what conditions for bail may be imposed, such as electronic monitoring, staying away from alleged victims, etc.
  • If bail is set and you can pay it, you will be released pending future court dates. If you cannot pay bail, you will be held at the ACI until your case is resolved.

What You Need to Know

  • Have your defense lawyer present because what happens at the arraignment can significantly impact your case. Your lawyer can request lower bail, explain mitigating circumstances, etc.
  • Dress appropriately in neat, clean attire to show respect for the court.
  • Be prepared to report to the police department immediately after the arraignment for photos and fingerprints if you haven’t already during the arrest process.
  • The prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office or a police prosecuting agent will be present to outline the alleged charges and justification for bail conditions.
  • You generally do not present evidence or defenses at this initial arraignment hearing.

An arraignment is a defendant’s first formal court appearance on criminal charges in Rhode Island. While straightforward, it carries essential consequences for bail, charges, and how your case proceeds. Having an experienced defense attorney advising you is highly recommended.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm – Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys

For more information, please contact the Providence criminal defense law firm of Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation, give us a call at (401) 854-7794, or visit our convenient location:

Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys – Providence Criminal Defense Attorney
101 Dyer St Suite 2D, Providence, RI 02903, United States