Narragansett Municipal Court – Narragansett, RI

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal offenses and civil disputes within its geographic area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

Narragansett Municipal Court INformation

Court: Narragansett Municipal Court
Address: “25 5th Avenue, Narragansett, RI 02882”
Phone: 401-782-0655

City: Narragansett
County: Washington
State: Rhode Island

What is the purpose of the Narragansett Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courthouses like Narragansett 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 law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Narragansett, Rhode Island

Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses 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 assist their population or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code violations.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Narragansett?

Municipal courts are the lowest 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. 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 help for a specific period of time.

Magistrates administer 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 police officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when someone has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, 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 show up after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Narragansett, RI

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can carry penalties up to $1k 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 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 will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Narragansett 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 an individual 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 required by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Narragansett Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Narragansett, Rhode Island?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Narragansett, 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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Narragansett 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their credentials.