Newport Municipal Court – Newport, RI

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil disputes inside its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Newport Municipal Court INformation

Court: Newport Municipal Court
Address: “43 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840”
Phone: 401-845-5410

City: Newport
County: Newport
State: Rhode Island

What is the purpose of the Newport Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courts like Newport 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 divorce or other family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Newport, Rhode Island

Municipal courts are the lowest 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 serve their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime 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 Newport?

Municipal courts are the first tier 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. 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 members to serve for a specific time period.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to learn 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 complicated. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to appear at their assigned time and courthouse, 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 $1000 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 Newport, RI

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, 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 charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Newport Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 case they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Newport Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Newport, Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Newport, 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 Newport Municipal Court have?

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

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 weighted based on population. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.