Pretrial Release | Rhode Island


State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.

Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.


Citation in Lieu of Arrest

Issuing a citation is not presumptive, however a citation can be issued for misdemeanors. Citations can be issued at any time during the arrest process by peace officers or officers in charge of a police station. (§ 12-7-11; § 12-7-12)

Pretrial Release Eligibility

State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for offenses punishable by life imprisonment, offenses involving use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon when the defendant has a prior similar conviction or previous life sentence, and drug crimes punishable by more than 10 years. (Const. art. 1 § 9; § 12-13-1)

Guidance for Setting Release Conditions

Law requires the least restrictive conditions be imposed. (§ 12-13-1.3(e))

Pretrial Release Conditions

Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§ 12-13-1.3; § 12-13-10; § 12-13-5.2; § 12-13-8; § 12-13-21)

Pretrial Detention

Defendants charged with offenses punishable by life, offenses involving use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon if they have a prior similar conviction or prior life sentence, or drug crimes punishable by more than 10 years require a hearing to deny pretrial release. (§ 12-13-1.1)

Bail Bond Agent Licensure

The Superior Court regulates, Superior Court Professional Bondsmen Rule 1 professional bondsmen. (§ 12-13-21)

Bail Forfeiture Procedure

Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. (Super. R. Crim. P., Rule 46)

Victims’ Rights and Protections

Victims have the right to notification on the pretrial release hearing and pretrial release. Pretrial release hearings are required for crimes involving domestic violence and violence against an elderly person. (§ 12-28-11(b); § 12-28-3(a)(2); § 12-29-4; § 12-29.1-5)


Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.