In every criminal case in Rhode Island, a Justice of the Peace and/or a Judge will decide whether a defendant is released into the community pending a trial or whether the defendant will be held in custody at the Adult Correctional Institution pending trial. The process of being released into the community prior to trial may involve the posting of money as a security to ensure the defendant's attendance at future scheduled court dates and ensure that the defendant keeps the peace during his release.
Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer – (401) 228-8271
There are a number of different types of bail in Rhode Island, they include:
PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE: This is the most common type of bail and it does not involve the posting of money (surety) with the court. Personal recognizance is simply the defendant's promise to appear at any future court dates including a possible trial. It is also the defendants promise to ‘keep the peace and be of good behavior.' These two promises mean that if the defendant does not show up at a scheduled court date or commits a new crime while on bail, the court can revoke the defendants bail on that case and hold the defendant in prison pending trial. If the defendant does not appear for a scheduled court date the Judge will issue what is known as a “Bench Warrant,” which are detailed below. If the defendant commits a new crime while on bail, that is known as a 47G Bail Violation and that is also detailed in more depth below.
SURETY BAIL: For defendants charged with more serious crimes or for those with more extensive criminal backgrounds, the Judge may require the posting of money with the court to ensure the defendant's appearance before the court for future court dates. In Rhode Island, defendants are required to ‘Post' 10% of the total value of the bail set by the Judge. Therefore, if the Judge sets bail at $20,000 with surety on a case the defendant must post $2,000 to be granted his release from prison pending trial on the charge. If the defendant cannot post the full $2,000 he must either remain in prison awaiting resolution of his case or speak with a Rhode Island Bail Bondsman who can assist in posting the required amount.
If the Judge sets bail and the defendant cannot post the required amount, the defendant is entitled to what is called a “Bail Hearing” in front of a Judge of the Rhode Island District Court. At this hearing, the State is required to produce evidence to satisfy the judge that the case is one which warrants holding the defendant at the prison pending trial. In most cases, even if the judge determines that surety bail is appropriate in the case the defendant is entitled to argue, by way of a Motion to Reduce Bail, that the bail should be reduced giving his economic and financial situation.
HOLD WITHOUT BAIL: In certain types of cases, the Court can order that a defendant be “Held Without Bail” at the prison pending resolution of the case or trial. Those cases are capital cases in which the defendant is facing a possible sentence of life imprisonment. In Rhode Island, capital cases include murder, robbery, burglary, rape, robbery, and arson. In these cases, the State can hold the defendant at the prison pending trial.
Rhode Island Bail Law
RULE 46 Release on bail
DISTRICT COURT CRIMINAL RULES
(a) Right to Bail.
(1) Before and After Conviction. In accordance with the Constitution and laws of this State, a defendant shall be admitted to bail before conviction and may be admitted to bail after conviction pending appeal.
(2) Extradition Proceedings. A person arrested in connection with an extradition proceeding may in the discretion of the court be admitted to bail except where the person is charged with an offense punishable by death or life imprisonment under the laws of the demanding state.
(b) Bail for Witness. If upon a hearing it appears that the testimony of a person is material in any criminal proceeding and if it is shown that it may become impracticable to secure the person's presence by subpoena, the court may require the person to give bail for his or her appearance as a witness, in an amount fixed by the court. If the person fails to give bail the court may commit the person pending final disposition of the proceeding in which the testimony is needed, may order the person's release if the person has been detained for an unreasonable length of time and may modify at any time the requirement as to bail.
(c) Terms. If the defendant is admitted to bail, the terms thereof shall be such as in the judgment of the court will insure the presence of the defendant, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the financial ability of the defendant to give bail, the character of the defendant, and the policy against unnecessary detention of defendants pending trial.
(d) Form and Conditions. A person required or permitted to give bail shall execute a recognizance in such form as may be prescribed to assure for the person's appearance, for the person's good behavior and that the person will keep the peace. The court, having regard to the considerations set forth in subdivision (c), may require one or more sureties, may authorize the acceptance of cash or bonds or other security in an amount equal to or less than the face amount of the recognizance, or may authorize the release of the defendant without security upon the person's written agreement to appear at a specified time and place and upon such conditions as may be prescribed to insure the person's appearance.
(e) Violation of Terms of Recognizance. In addition to other remedies provided for in this rule or otherwise provided for by law, violation of the terms of a recognizance may be punished as a contempt of court.
(f) Justification of Sureties. Every surety, except a corporate surety authorized by law to give a recognizance, shall justify by affidavit or oral testimony under oath and may be required to describe the property by which he or she proposes to justify and the encumbrances thereon, the number and amount of other bonds and undertakings for bail entered into by him or her and remaining undischarged and all his or her other liabilities. No recognizance shall be approved unless the surety thereon appears to be qualified.
(1) Declaration. 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.
(2) Setting Aside. The court may direct that a forfeiture be set aside, upon such conditions as the court may impose, if it appears that justice does not require the enforcement of the forfeiture.
(3) Enforcement. When a forfeiture has not been set aside, the court shall on motion enter a judgment of default and execution may issue thereon. By entering into a recognizance the obligors submit to the jurisdiction of the court and irrevocably appoint the clerk of the court as their agent upon whom any papers affecting their liability may be served. Their liability may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of the motion as the court prescribes may be served on the clerk of the court, who shall forthwith mail copies to the obligors to their last known addresses.
(4) Remission. After entry of such judgment, the court may remit it in whole or in part under the conditions applying to the setting aside of forfeiture in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
(5) Settlement. The Attorney General may settle with any obligor liable upon forfeited recognizance upon such terms and in such manner as he or she shall deem most advantageous to the interest of the State.
(h) Exoneration. When the condition of the recognizance bond has been satisfied or the forfeiture thereof has been set aside or remitted or settled, the court shall exonerate the obligors and release any bail. A surety may be exonerated by a deposit of cash in the amount of the bond or by a timely surrender of the defendant into custody.
(i) Supervision of Detention Pending Trial. For the purpose of eliminating all unnecessary detention, the District Court shall exercise supervision over the detention of defendants and witnesses who have been detained pending preliminary examination, arraignment, or trial in the District Court. The Attorney General shall make a biweekly report to the Chief Judge listing each defendant and witness who has been held in custody for a period in excess of ten (10) days. As to each witness so listed the Attorney General shall make a statement of the reasons why such witness should not be released with or without the taking of the witness' deposition pursuant to Rule 15(a). As to each defendant so listed the Attorney General shall make a statement of the reasons why the defendant is still held in custody.
Rhode Island General Laws Regarding Bail
CHAPTER 12-13 Bail and Recognizance
12-13-1 Right to release pending trial on giving of recognizance.
Every person who is held on any criminal process to answer to any indictment, information, or complaint against him or her shall be released upon giving recognizance with sufficient surety or sureties before a justice of the supreme or superior court or before a justice of the district court, when the complaint is pending in that court or the person is held to answer to that court, in the sum named in the process, if any has been named in it, and if none is named, then in any sum that the justice shall deem reasonable, to appear before the court where the indictment, information, or complaint is pending against him or her, or to which he or she may be bound over to appear, to answer to the indictment, information, or complaint, and to answer to it whenever called upon so to do, and abide the final order of the court, and in the meantime keep the peace and be of good behavior. Any justice may take the recognizance in any place within the state, and the recognizance shall be returned to the court to which the accused has recognized to appear.
12-13-1.1 Hearings when state opposes bail - Medical disability of accused.
(a) In all cases where the state opposes the granting of bail in respect to offenses punishable by imprisonment for life and/or offenses involving the use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon by one already convicted of the an offense or of an offense punishable by imprisonment for life pursuant to the provisions of R.I. Const., Art. I, Sec. IX, hearings shall be held in the superior court unless arrangements are made by the parties for a stenographic or electronic recording of proceedings in the district court.
(b) In the event an accused person fails to appear in superior court for arraignment on the an offense and the accused is under the care of a private physician who has determined that the accused is medically unable to appear in court for arraignment, the justice of the superior court in charge of the criminal calendar shall order the immediate examination of the accused by a licensed physician, who shall file his or her medical report with the court within seven (7) days of his or her examination of the accused. Should the justice after hearing decide that the accused is medically unable to appear in superior court for arraignment, he or she shall make whatever arrangements are necessary to have the accused arraigned at a location other than the superior court.
(c) The accused person shall be liable for all expenses incurred by the state as a direct result of the inability of the accused to appear in court for arraignment and/or the inability to transfer the accused to the adult correctional institutions or hospital facility owned by the state.
12-13-1.2 Penalty for an offense committed while on release.
(a) Every person who commits a criminal offense while released on personal recognizance or bail pursuant to this chapter shall, if convicted of both offenses, be sentenced, in addition to the sentences prescribed, to:
(1) A term of imprisonment of not less than two (2) years and not more than ten (10) years, a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both, if the offense is a felony; or
(2) A term of imprisonment of not less than ninety (90) days and not more than one year, a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both, if the offense is a misdemeanor.
(b) A term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.
12-13-5.1 Presumption of danger to the community.
Whenever a person is charged with, or indicted or informed against, for an offense involving the unlawful sale, distribution, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute, or deliver any controlled substance, or by possession of any controlled substance punishable by imprisonment for ten (10) years or more, and the state objects to the setting of bail pursuant to the R.I. Const., Art. I, Sec. IX, if the court determines that the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great, then it shall be presumed that the person is a danger to the safety of the community unless that presumption is rebutted by the defendant.
12-13-5.2 Drug testing required.
Every person who shall be charged with or indicted or informed against for an offense involving the unlawful sale, distribution, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute, or deliver any controlled substance as classified in schedule I or II in chapter 28 of title 21, or for possession of a controlled substance as classified in schedule I or II in chapter 28 of title 21, may in the discretion of the court, as a condition of bail, be required at his or her own expense to submit to drug testing in accordance with the standards and procedures of the department of health, not less than once per month.
Attorney Matthew Marin defends individuals facing prosecution in Block Island, Bristol, Burrillville, Central Falls, Charlestown, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Warwick, Westerly, West Greenwich, West Warwick, Woonsocket.
Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer – (401) 228-8271