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RI Criminal Defense Practice Manual CoverRHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
© John E. MacDonald


Bail Guidelines

General Principles. The purpose of bail is to assure that the defendant will appear in court and keep the peace and be of good behavior.
Misdemeanors and Non-Capital Felonies:
There is a presumption of personal recognizance unless there is no reasonable assurance of appearance or the defendant presents a danger to the community.
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 requires an order of the court.
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 financial ability to post bond.
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 appear.
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.
Capital Offenses.
The court shall proceed in accordance with Rule 5(a); RIGL §12-13-1.1 and §12-13-6 and Article I, Section IX of the R.I. CONST.
Where there is no opposition and state does not object to bail, the court shall proceed in accordance with section II.
Pre-release screening. The following information shall be provided to the Court:
Marital status
Name and address of dependents
Present employment
Under care of physician or medication
Physical or mental conditions affecting behavior
Prior criminal record and facts indicating danger to community
Prior court appearances or non-appearances
Ties to the community
Financial resources
Guidelines for Amount of Bail.
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 crime but instead an individualized decision will take into account the special circumstances of each defendant.
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.
Misdemeanors: $1000 w/ surety or $100 cash.
5 year felonies: $5000 w/ surety or $500 cash.
10 year felonies: $10,000 w/ surety or $1000 cash.
20 year felonies: $20,000 w/ surety or $2000 cash.
20+ year felonies: $50,000 w/ surety or $5000 cash.
Whenever bail exceeds the 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.
Previous record of non-appearance.
Physical or mental condition affecting defendant’s behavior.

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