Johnston Municipal Court – Johnston, RI

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters inside its area. These courts can be located at the county or city level.

Johnston Municipal Court INformation

Court: Johnston Municipal Court
Address: “1600 Atwood Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919”
Phone: 401-946-7150

City: Johnston
County: Providence
State: Rhode Island

What is the role of the Johnston Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Johnston Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, the purpose 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, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Johnston, 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 people or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what constitutes 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Johnston?

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 handled 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.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, 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 $1k or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Appearance 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 Johnston, RI

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1k 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 crimes in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Johnston Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Johnston Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Johnston, Rhode Island?

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

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

Depending on the area 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 Johnston Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Rhode Island?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing material every period to maintain their credentials.