Cranston Municipal Court – Cranston, RI

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be located at the county or city tier.

Cranston Municipal Court INformation

Court: Cranston Municipal Court
Address: “5 Garfield Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920”
Phone: 401-477-5010

City: Cranston
County: Providence
State: Rhode Island

What is the role of the Cranston Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courts like Cranston Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve divorce or other family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Legal Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Cranston, Rhode Island

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Cranston?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time period.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The following is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when someone has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Cranston, RI

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney near you. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Cranston Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can have penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in local jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.

The penalties for different charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Cranston Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Cranston Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Cranston, Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Cranston, Rhode Island?

Depending on the scope of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than  $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Cranston Municipal Court have?

The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Rhode Island?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged based on the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing education every period to maintain their credentials.