What Are The Bail Guidelines In Rhode Island?

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bail guidelines

In Rhode Island, the setting of bail is always within the discretion of the court regardless of the offense, and cannot be prohibited by statute.  The primary purpose of bail, be it of the pre-trial or the post-conviction variety, is to assure a defendant’s appearance in court at the appointed time. The bail guidelines that the court generally uses to determine bail are as follows:

I.  Misdemeanors and Non-Capital Felonies:

1.) There is a presumption of personal recognizances unless there is no reasonable assurance of appearance or the defendant presents a danger to the community.

2.) If personal recognizance is not sufficient, further conditions shall be the least restrictive as possible to assure appearance and community safety. A release on conditions require an order of the court.

3.) Monetary conditions are allowed only if no other conditions will assure appearance or community safety. The court may not impose monetary conditions solely for the purpose of detention. Monetary conditions are a technique for release not detention, therefore the court shall consider the defendant’s finical ability to post bond.

4.) Cash or surety bail may be imposed only if one or more conditions exist:

    – The court is reasonably satisfied defendant will not appear.

    – The court is reasonably satisfied defendant will engage in other criminal contacts.

    – The defendant is a bail, probation or parole violator or has outstanding warrants for failure to       


5.) If cash or surety bail is required, the court shall state the reasons for such bail. The reasons shall be set forth on a document prepared by State Court administer.

II.  Capital Offenses:

  1. If there is an objection to bail by the State, the defendant is entitled to a bail hearing.
  2. Where there is no opposition and state does not object to bail, the court shall proceed in accordance with section I (i.e. with the setting of bail in non-capital offenses.)

III. Guidelines For Amount of Bail:

          1. Cash or surety bail shall not exceed the guidelines provided below unless it can be shown that special circumstances exist.

  • Bail shall not be pre-determined by the nature of the crime but instead, an individualized decision will take into account the special circumstances of each defendant.
  •     a. Misdemeanors:      $1000 w/ surety or $100 cash.

        b. 5 year felonies:       $5000 w/ surety or $500 cash.

        c. 10 year felonies:     $10,000 w/ surety or $1000 cash.

        d. 20 year felonies:     $20,000 w/ surety or $2000 cash.   

         e. 20+ year felonies:  $50,000 w/ surety or $5000 cash.

    2. Whenever bail exceeds the bail guidelines, the court shall articulate reasons on the record (first, the reason for cash or surety bail and second the reason for exceeding). Reasons for departing from the guidelines include:

    •   Likelihood of conviction and likely sentence.
    •   Outstanding warrants or detainers.
    •   The previous record of non-appearance.
    •   A physical or mental condition affecting the defendant’s behavior.A defendant should not be required to post bail on each count in a multiple count complaint unless the charges could be severed for trial. 

Do You Have A Loved-One Who Is Trying To Get Bail On A Criminal Offense?

If you know someone who is being held without bail or held on high bail, call our office today to speak with an experienced Rhode Island bail lawyer.  With a keen understanding of the bail guidelines, we will fight to get your loved-one back home.  Our offices are located in the heart of downtown Providence, RI, and in Fall River, MA. Stop by for a free consultation or call or text us at 401-855-9023