Rhode Island Court Records
What are Rhode Island Juvenile Court Records?
Juvenile court records in Rhode Island refer to the information that is collated and used in the state court on matters that concern minors under eighteen years of age. The court handles petitions on minors who commit delinquent acts that the state laws will classify as criminal offenses if they were aged eighteen and above. Such offenders fall into two categories:
- Misdemeanant Offenders: These are minors that commit actions that will be considered misdemeanor offenses if they were adults.
- Status offenders: These are minors that commit acts that are neither misdemeanors nor felonious offenses. Essentially, they are age-related transgressions.
The court also has jurisdiction over dependent, abused, and neglected juveniles. Generally, the juvenile court aims to provide minors under its jurisdiction with care and guidance that will guarantee adequate welfare, while promoting the best interest of the state.
The Family Court of the Rhode Island Judiciary Branch hears juvenile cases within its jurisdiction. The information generated during such case proceedings is managed at the court where the hearing occurred. The Rhode Island Rules of Juvenile Proceedings governs the court’s conduct on juvenile proceedings.
What Information is Contained in a Rhode Island Juvenile Record?
Typically, Rhode Island juvenile records contain personal information about the minors and all other relevant information that are prepared to do the case hearings. Under Section 14–1–64 of the Rhode Island statutes, all records regarding juveniles that the court has jurisdiction over are managed separately from adult records and access to such records are only available to eligible persons. Information in RI juvenile records include:
- Personal and familial details of the juvenile
- Police reports
- Statements from victims
- Witnesses’ statements
- Disposition details
- Court-issued evaluations
What Cases are Heard by Rhode Island Juvenile Courts?
The type of cases heard in Rhode Island juvenile courts can either be for minors who commit crimes or children that require special services. These cases include:
Delinquency cases: This kind of case occurs when minors engage in acts that are illegal under the state’s criminal code or a city/town ordinance. They are usually initiated by a petition submitted by an educational institution or the police to inform the court of delinquent acts committed by the minor. Complainants submit their petition alongside an incident report to the juvenile court’s clerk office. Typically, the court refers such petitions to the Juvenile Correctional Services to perform primary investigations and determine if the petitions received are adequate to bring the minor before a court. The Assistant Intake Supervisors then determine if delinquents qualify for other means of non-judicial dispositions depending on the severity of the crimes and other factors acceptable to the court. An informal hearing may commence briefing the juveniles and their legal guardians on the allegations against them and possible disposition options.
The Family Court also offers a Mediation Program for juveniles that did not commit severe crimes and accept responsibility for their wrongdoings. The program offers non-judicial methods of disposition for the parties involved.
Child Dependency cases: These kinds of cases occur when the minor is a victim of abuse or neglect by their parents or legal guardians and are under the protection of the court. In such occurrences, the state files a petition on behalf of the victim, against their abuser(s). Child dependency cases are also called Children in Protective Services (CHIPS) or Children in Need of Services (CHINS).
Status Offenses: Status offenders are minors that engage in offenses that cannot be particularly classified as crimes under state laws. Such acts include truancy committed by children aged fifteen and below, curfew violation, habitually rebellion, or running away from home.
Victim Restitution: Such juvenile cases are for victims of juvenile offenses. The court proceedings center on the compensation of persons who are victims of delinquent acts. The Juvenile Services Department aids the court in the investigation of these cases and also restitution collection.
Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Rhode Island?
Generally, the court automatically seals Rhode Island juvenile records after sentencing and closure of the case. Juvenile information becomes inaccessible to persons looking to inspect or copy them. Under Section 14–1–64 of the state statutes, the following parties can view Rhode Island juvenile records upon settling the required fees:
- The parent of the subject of the record
- The subject’s legal guardian
- The court
- Law enforcement officials
- The legal representative of the juvenile involved
How to Find Juvenile Records in Rhode Island
Juvenile records are not available to the general public. However, eligible persons that wish to find such records can request them at the court that the hearing occurred. The clerk of the court office is responsible for managing and disseminating juvenile records in Rhode Island. Requestors should note that some charges may apply to copy or inspect desired information.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Can You Lookup Rhode Island Juvenile Records Online?
No, interested parties cannot look up Rhode Island juvenile records through online means. The court seals juvenile records and makes them unavailable for copying or viewing. Eligible parties that wish to look up juvenile court records can contact the clerk of the court’s office to be informed on available resources for such.
Do Rhode Island Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?
Since custodians do not disclose Rhode Island juvenile records to the public, they are not available on background checks. Minors that commit delinquent acts have their juvenile records expunged once they are adults under the law. However, records regarding juvenile offenses that the minor was tried in an adult court for serious crimes like murder or rape are available to the public and will show up on background checks.
How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Rhode Island?
Upon the final disposition of a juvenile case, the court seals the juvenile records in Rhode Island and makes it unavailable to the public. Such records become expunged when the juvenile reaches eighteen years of age. However, records of minors that commit severe criminal offenses are kept till the subject files a motion to expunge them, and the court grants the motion.