Bail Hearings in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, our Constitution (Article 1 Section 9) states that you are entitled to bail for all criminal charges unless you a charged with certain enumerated criminal crimes. These crimes are often called “Capital Offenses” because of the severity of the sentences they call for if you are convicted. Most of these crimes call for a Life in Prison Sentence if Convicted. If you are held without bail at your arraignment, then you are entitled to a “Bail Hearing” where the State must meet a certain threshold criteria to justify the denial of bail.
Cases Where You Can Be Held Without Bail Pending Trial
- Life Cases in Rhode Island
- 1st Degree Robbery
- 1st Degree Sexual Assault
- 1st Degree Child Molestation
- Kidnapping With Intent to Extort
- 1st Degree Arson
- Possession with Intent to Deliver, Distribute, Sell or Manufacture a Control Substance
- Possession of a Controlled Substance Punishable by 10 years or More
- Use of or Threat of Use of a Dangerous Weapon if already convicted of that crime or a crime punishable by life in prison
What Happens At Court?
During your initial arraignment the Court can hold you without bail for 2 weeks at the ACI before you get to have a Bail Hearing. Having a knowledgeable attorney that knows the process will allow you the best possible chance to get bail at the first arraignment.
I have spent many years prosecuting and defendant clients at bail hearings and I know what works and what does not. Call Now for a FREE Consultation.
If you are held without bail you are entitled to an evidentiary hearing. There is a two-tiered approach taken by the Court.
Tier 1: Proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great
After hearing all the evidence and arguments from attorneys the Court will determine if the “Proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great” that you committed the crime charged.
This is not a criminal trial and this standard is much lower than “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.” The State must put its witnesses on the stand and present evidence for the Court’s consideration. Your attorney has the opportunity to cross examine the State’s witnesses and call witnesses on your own behalf and present favorable evidence for your defense. Your witnesses and evidence will be used for a tier 2 argument only.
The Court will view all the evidence in “the light most favorable” to the State without judging credibility of the witnesses to determine if “Proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great” that a non-bailable offense was committed and that the defendant committed it. This is a forward looking hearing and only admissible evidence is allowed. If tier one is satisfied, then the Court may hold the defendant without bail unless discretion is exercised under tier 2.
Tier 2: Court’s Discretion
The Court will look at the following factors when deciding to exercise its discretion:
- Ties to the community
- Respect for the law
- Likelihood of Conviction
- Financial resources
- Past criminal record
- Danger to community (type of charge and record)
- Physical or medical conditions
As a prosecutor and now a defense attorney, I have handled countless Bail Hearings. I know how to find weaknesses in the State’s case, and I know when it’s the proper time to fight the violation. Don’t leave your fate and future to an overworked attorney that happens to get your case. Chose the best and protect your freedom and future.