East Greenwich Municipal Court – East Greenwich, RI

Oct 26, 2021

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

East Greenwich Municipal Court INformation

Court: East Greenwich Municipal Court
Address: “125 Main Street, East Greenwich, RI 02818”
Phone: 401-886-3212

City: East Greenwich
County: Kent
State: Rhode Island

What is the purpose of the East Greenwich Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like East Greenwich 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 family law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in East Greenwich, Rhode Island

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

This can be done to better assist their population or to save money on costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanors 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 East Greenwich?

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

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The person who has received the summons from the court will need to show up at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate

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

Municipal Court Penalties in East Greenwich, RI

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can possess penalties up to $1000 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 courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

East Greenwich Municipal Court Records

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

Common Questions ABOUT the East Greenwich Municipal Court

What is municipal court in East Greenwich, Rhode Island?

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

What does the municipal court handle in East Greenwich, Rhode Island?

Depending on the size 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 East Greenwich Municipal Court have?

The number of judges depends on the municipality’s size.

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 duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.