Misdemeanor Crimes in Rhode Island: Facts on Sentences and Fines

A misdemeanor is a lesser offense that is typically punishable by a a fine or penalty, and/or time in a county jail.  It’s less serious than a felony, but more serious than an infraction.

Most states organize misdemeanor violations into four or five classes, but Rhode Island classifies them into two types: Petty misdemeanors and regular misdemeanors.


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A person convicted of a petty misdemeanor in Rhode Island can face up to six months of prison time and/or a fine of up to $500.  Examples of petty misdemeanors include the following:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Possession of alcohol by a minor
  • Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana
  • Sale, possession, and use of substances that release toxic vapors

Regular misdemeanors, on the other hand, are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and incarceration for a period not exceeding one year.  Examples of regular misdemeanors include the following:

  • Obstruction of justice
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • Simple assault and battery
  • Failure to render assistance to an injured person
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana

Apart from jail time and penalties, some misdemeanor convictions could also result in probation, court-mandated community service, or substance abuse classes.


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Those who are facing petty or regular misdemeanor charges should consult as soon as possible a criminal defense lawyer with experience in Rhode Island law.  A qualified criminal defense lawyer can represent defendants in court and provide valuable legal advice at every step of the process.

The legal team at Sheeley Law is dedicated to providing their clients with rigorous criminal defense representation.  For more articles on Rhode Island law, subscribe to this blog.

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