Middletown Municipal Court – Middletown, RI

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Middletown Municipal Court INformation

Court: Middletown Municipal Court
Address: “350 East Main Road, 1st Floor, Middletown, RI 02842”
Phone: 401-847-0009

City: Middletown
County: Newport
State: Rhode Island

What is the role of the Middletown Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Middletown Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

In other situations, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF CASES adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Middletown, 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 locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better help their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code violations.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony case, 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 Middletown?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific duration.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when a person has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the 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 don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term 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 Middletown, RI

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have penalties up to $1000 or one year in 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 offenses in municipal courthouses 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 $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Middletown Municipal Court Records

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

Questions ABOUT the Middletown Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Middletown, Rhode Island?

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

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

How many judges does the Middletown 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 court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.