When the State alleges that you have violated the terms and conditions of a One Year Filing, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience defending individuals facing Rule 32F filing violation's immediately. A filing violation could lead to serious consequences including being given a permanent criminal record or being placed in jail immediately. When you contact the criminal defense and filing violation team at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm we can work with you to try and minimize the consequences and do our best to keep you out of prison.
Rhode Island Filing Violation Defense Lawyers
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm
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When an individual is put on a One Year Filing the court can impose a variety of conditions to which they must adhere. These conditions always include the promise to "keep the peace and be of good behavior" which requires the individual not be arrested during the One Year Filing period. The State has the burden of proving that you violated the terms of your Filing, by "a fair preponderance of evidence," a much lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is a One Year Filing in Rhode Island?
A filing is common disposition of misdemeanor cases, particularly for first time offenders. Under Rhode Island Law 12-10-12 a judge of the District or Superior Court may place on file misdemeanor complaints for a period of one year, most often upon a guilty or nolo plea by the defendant. The Court may impose conditions onto the filing that the defendant must complete by the end of the year. If at the end of the filing period the defendant has maintained the peace and kept of good behavior, completed all of the conditions, and paid his or her court costs, the charge is eligible to be expunged from his or her criminal record. This is often a good resolution that allows first time or low level offenders to preserve their criminal records.
What happens if I violate my filing?
Filings under Rhode Island General Law 12-10-12 can be very beneficial if an individual successfully completes the filing period. However, if a defendant does not successfully complete the filing period or otherwise violates the filing, the Court may take action against him or her. If the Court determines that the defendant did violate the filing, there are a range of sanctions and sentences that it can impose. If you have been accused of violating a filing, don't go it alone – allow our attorneys to fight for you to help preserve your liberty and your criminal record.
What happens at a Rhode Island filing violation hearing?
Under Rhode Island Law 12-19-14 and Rule 32(f) of the Rhode Island Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant alleged to have violated his One Year Filing is afforded certain rights. For instance, he is entitled to be apprised of the grounds upon which the violation is based. He is also able to cross examine the witnesses against him and to present witnesses and evidence on his own behalf. However, unlike a criminal trial, he is not entitled to a decision by a jury of his peers. Rather, a judge is the ultimate finder of fact and the one to make the decision on sentencing. If the judge determines that the defendant did not violate, then the proceeding is over. If on the other hand the judge does determine that a violation occurred, the matter proceeds for sentencing, at which point the defendant will be given another opportunity to be heard. Oftentimes violation hearings do not proceed to the presentation of evidence, but rather the defendant, the State, and the Court agree to some sort of resolution beforehand.
Can a filing violation ever be dismissed or withdrawn?
Absolutely. Oftentimes if the State cannot meet its burden at a violation hearing they will simply withdraw the violation and end the proceeding. This may be because they do not have the witnesses or evidence needed to proceed. It also may be because the defendant has come into compliance with the terms of his filing such that a violation is no longer warranted. Sometimes a violation may be withdrawn because the term of the filing has already expired, or because the alleged conduct actually predates the terms of the filing.
What are the potential results for violating a filing?
Under Rhode Island Law, if a judge determines that a defendant has violated his or her filing, there are a range of potential punishments. The judge can convert the filing to a period of probation and require the defendant to report to probation. The judge can also impose a suspended jail sentence with the period of probation, meaning that if the defendant violates the probation term thereafter, that suspended sentence could be imposed, requiring the defendant the serve jail time. The judge can also sentence the defendant to a term to serve at the ACI – this is harshest potential penalty for violating a filing. In some instances the judge may opt to continue the defendant on the same previously imposed filing; this is a good outcome because it preserves the possibility that he or she can ultimately have it expunged. Lastly, the judge may continue sentencing until a later date and give the defendant the opportunity to come back into compliance with the terms and conditions of the filing and then impose sentence accordingly.
Who determines whether or not a filing was violated?
The judge in either the District Court or Superior Court makes the determination of whether or not the filing was violated; whichever Court imposed the original filing is the Court that has jurisdiction over the filing. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law 12-19-14 and Rule 32(f) of Rhode Island Criminal Procedure, after a defendant has been presented notice of an alleged violation of a filing or probation, the Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing with the defendant present; he or she may present evidence or elect not to. If after the hearing the judge is convinced by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated the terms of the filing or probation, sentence may be imposed. This “preponderance of the evidence” standard is a much lower standard that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal trials.
Can a violation be filed against me if my One Year Filing has expired?
That depends. In some instances, the State may attempt to violate a defendant even if the filing period has expired if the defendant had had an outstanding bench warrant or something else that would toll the expiration of the One Year Filing. In most instances though, a judgment of violation must be made prior to the expiration of the filing period. This area of the law can be murky and occasionally up for interpretation; if you or a loved one has a pending probation or filing violation, call us today and let us fight for the best possible outcome.
Who charges Filing violations?
Much like criminal charges, filing and probation violations are brought by the State. This is done by presenting an individual as a Rule 32(f) violator, either by probation or Justice Assistance, the Attorney General, or both.
Why hire a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney for your filing or probation violation?
If you have been reading these FAQs you now understand that the violating a filing or a probationary sentence can have swift and devastating consequences. You also know that the system seems stacked in favor of the State and against the accused. If you or a loved one is on probation or a filing and is alleged to have violated, call us today. Let our team of experienced and tested criminal defense attorneys get to work on crafting a defense and securing the best possible outcome. Contact us today at 401-228-8271.