North Smithfield Municipal Court – North Smithfield, RI

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

North Smithfield Municipal Court INformation

Court: North Smithfield Municipal Court
Address: “575 Smithfield Road, North Smithfield, RI 02896”
Phone: 401-356-0564

City: North Smithfield
County: Providence
State: Rhode Island

What is the role of the North Smithfield Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like North Smithfield 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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

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 felonies and larger civil cases.

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

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 service their people or to save money on costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony case, 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 North Smithfield?

Municipal courts are the entry 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 managed 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 time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to charge

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The person 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 don’t 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.

Step Two: Show Up 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 North Smithfield, RI

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have 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 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 could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

North Smithfield Municipal Court Records

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

Questions ABOUT the North Smithfield Municipal Court

What is municipal court in North Smithfield, Rhode Island?

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

What does the municipal court handle in North Smithfield, 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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the North Smithfield 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 precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.