About the Office
The Office of Attorney General was first created in Rhode Island in May 1650. Since its inception, the Office has been an elected position, except for a brief period from 1740 to 1742 when the charter allowed for the appointment of a King’s attorney for each county. In 1842 the Rhode Island Constitution formally adopted the Office of Attorney General.
The Office, established under the Rhode Island Constitution, is one of the five general officers subject to election by voters. The powers and duties of the Attorney General are derived from Article IX, Section 12 of the Constitution of the State of Rhode Island, Chapter 9 of Title 42 of the General Laws of Rhode Island, as amended, and the Common Law.
The Attorney General is the top legal official in Rhode Island. As the State’s top prosecutor, the Attorney General fights to enhance the economic security of Rhode Island, protect the public safety of our communities and restore the public trust in state government by fighting corruption.
As the central legal agency of the State, the Office of Attorney General is responsible for prosecution of all felony criminal cases and misdemeanor appeals, as well as prosecution of misdemeanor cases brought by state law enforcement agencies.
Additionally, as chief legal officer of the State, the Attorney General represents all agencies, departments and commissions in litigation and initiates legal action where necessary to protect the interests of Rhode Island citizens.
The Office of Attorney General is also charged with operating and maintaining the Bureau of Criminal Identification, which is the central repository for all criminal records in the State.
Please note: the Office of Attorney General cannot provide you with legal advice or legal referrals. If you are seeking answers to legal questions, need someone to help you find a law or case, or need someone to take your case to court, you will need to find a private attorney. For information on choosing and using a lawyer, you may wish to visit the Rhode Island Bar Association’s website.