RI Criminal Law - 1 Year Filings For First Offenders - Stay Out of Trouble and Case Can Be Expunged!


  • Author David Slepkow
  • Published November 23, 2009
  • Word count 1,008

What is a one year filing in Rhode Island and what are the implications of accepting a filing?

A one year filing is usually only offered by the prosecutor as a penalty for first time offenders. A filing is a penalty that is offered for first time offenders for relatively minor misdemeanors. A filing is the lowest form of penalty available and is always better than probation for an accused.

A filing is when the case is put aside for a year and if the person stays out of trouble for a year then the case is eligible to be expunged and destroyed at the end of the year. If a person gets in further trouble then the filing may be violated and the person sentenced again on the filing. It is a bad idea for a person to represent themselves in A Rhode Island criminal case. A person should either hire a criminal lawyer or if they are eligible contact the R.I. Public Defender.

Be careful, do not forget to have your filing expunged at the end of the year! It is not automatic. A certified copy of the expungement order must also be sent to the Rhode Island Attorney General 's office, and the local police department that pursued the criminal charge.

A plea of nolo contendere with a filing is never a conviction in Rhode Island. In the event that a person is found guilty after trial, a person could still be sentenced to a one year filing. However, any guilty finding after trial will constitute a conviction. A guilty finding with a penalty of a filing should be appealed to avoid a conviction.

(Expungement is a process in which a person can have certain eligible Rhode Island criminal records expunged off there record. In order to obtain an expungement of a Rhode Island criminal record a person must file a motion to expunge. I strongly advise that you contact me or another Rhode Island criminal law attorney to determine whether a criminal record can be expunged.)

If a one year filing is offered by the prosecutor / city solicitor and is accepted then the case will be "filed" for a year. This is commonly called a "filing". If the defendant does not get arrested or get in other trouble and complies with the conditions of the filing during the one year period then the case can be easily expunged from a person's record after the year.

Pursuant to Rhode Island law, Domestic cases such as domestic assault, domestic vandalism and domestic disorderly conduct can not be expunged for (3) years.

What types of filing are there in Rhode Island

There are two types of filings, not guilty filings and nolo contendere filings.

A nolo contendere filing is when the defendant admits to guilt and the case is filed for a year. The vast majority of filings are nolo contedere filings! Whereas, if a person is violated for a nolo contendere filing, the judge simply must impose a sentence because the person has already admitted guilt to that offense.***

If the person violates his filing by not complying with the conditions of the filing then the persons filing can be revoked by the Court. If a person takes a nolo contendere filing and gets into further trouble, violates the conditions of the filing or is arrested on a new offense then the person will be hailed back into court to be sentenced on the filing. (*** unless the filing was a not guilty filing which means the prosecution must prove the defendants guilt) If there is a new charge, a person can be violated for the filing and in addition be charged with a new crime. There are various conditions that can be put on a filing including alcohol and drug counseling, domestic violence counseling or classes, restitution, no contact with the victim and community service.

If a person is arrested for a new offense while on a filing, the person is subject to being held at the aci for up to 14 days as a violator of his filing. When a person is arraigned for a new offense during the filing, the state will usually inform you that you either admit to the new offense and take probation or you will be held at the aci for up to 14 days prior to a hearing!

A person who has a filing must be very careful! A new offense during the filing period in all likilihood means that a person will spend 14 days at the aci (jail) without the benefit of a hearing on the merits. In other words even if the person is innocent of the new offense, he or she could still spend up to 14 days in jail! This is extremely unfair and wrong but nevertheless it is the law in Rhode Ilsand.

If the case is a domestic case or other case such as an assault and battery then a no contact order may be issued in favor of the victim when you accept the filing. A violation of the no contact order when on a filing will constitute a violation of the filing as well as a separate criminal offense and may lead to jail time at the aci.

*** A not Guilty filing is when the defendant maintains his innocence and the case if filed for a year. A not guilty filing is not usually allowed by Judges in the District Court! Not Guilty filings are extremely rare in the District Court. A major difference between a not guilty filing and a nolo contendere filing is when a person is violated for a not guilty filing then the state / prosecution must prove guilt at that time. Some judges will not allow not guilty filings as a matter of policy. Not guilty filings are very beneficial to the defendant as the best case scenario short of a dismissal or not guilty finding because if the person is accused of a new crime or violating their filing the state will need to still prove their underlying case.

David Slepkow is a Rhode Island criminal, dui / dwi, Divorce, Family Law, and Personal Injury law lawyer.

You can contact David at http://www.slepkowlaw.com/refusal.htm or by calling him at 401-437-1100.

For a list of Rhode Island Criminal Law Articles please visit: http://www.slepkowlaw.com/ri-criminal.htm

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