East Providence Municipal Court – East Providence, RI

Oct 26, 2021

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

East Providence Municipal Court INformation

Court: East Providence Municipal Court
Address: “145 Taunton Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914”
Phone: 401-435-7540 Ext. 11040

City: East Providence
County: Providence
State: Rhode Island

What is the purpose of the East Providence Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like East Providence Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, 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 charges, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in East Providence, Rhode Island

Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses in the U.S.. 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 help their population or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony charge, 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 East Providence?

Municipal courts are the first level 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. Matters 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 help for a specific time.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when someone has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate

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

Municipal Court Penalties in East Providence, RI

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

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

East Providence Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court 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 charge they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the East Providence Municipal Court

What is municipal court in East Providence, 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 area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in East Providence, 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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the East Providence 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 elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to population. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing material every period to maintain their credentials.