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Rhode Island Court Records

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What are Rhode Island Traffic Tickets?

Traffic citations in Rhode Island are state-authorized sanctions handed to violating motorists within the state. The issuing officer may be an agent of the State Police or the local law enforcement agency. Traffic tickets are an official order requiring the offender to pay a certain amount as a fine or attend a court hearing. Municipal Courts handle traffic violation cases filed by the local enforcement agencies, while the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal hears cases on state-issued traffic tickets. The aforementioned agencies are repositories of traffic records for the state.

Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites streamline the inquiry process since they aggregate records from various geographic locations and allow users perform multi-record searches. To search using a third-party site, interested parties are typically expected to provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

These sites are operated independent of government sources and not sponsored by government agencies.Thus, the accuracy and validity of these records may not be guaranteed.

What Does a Traffic Citation Mean in Rhode Island?

The terms’ traffic ticket’ and ‘traffic citation’ are used interchangeably. Rhode Island operates an e-citation system which allows citations to be filed and issued electronically. A traffic citation refers to a legal document that charges the offender with a violation with an order to appear in court or pay a fine. It also gives information about the:

  • Nature of the offense
  • Rights of the offender
  • Amount of the fine
  • Address of the court to which the penalty is owed, or court hearing is to be held
  • Date and time of the event
  • Deadline for payments or appearance in court

How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island?

Traffic tickets in Rhode Island that do not require a mandatory court appearance should be paid no later than seven days from the date of issuance. Acceptable payment forms include credit cards using the Rhode Island Judiciary Website Online Payment Portal, cash, checks, money orders, and certified cashier checks. Cash payments are not accepted for mail payments.

For mail payments, enclose a copy of the citation and write the ticket number on the check or money order and mail to the court address listed on the ticket. Note that payment of fines without entering a ‘not-guilty’ plea may be deemed a guilty plea. Although the case might be closed after payment, the driving record subsequently reflects the violation. An accumulation of offenses within a short time may lead to the suspension of driving privileges. Also, convictions on a driving record may make up part of the individual’s rap sheets in the state. For traffic tickets payable at Municipal Courts, contact the court of interest for their payment policy.

Can You Pay Rhode Island Traffic Tickets Online?

The Rhode Island judiciary website allows interested persons to make online payments through the Rhode Island traffic tribunal online payment system. With a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card, motorists can pay prescribed fines on this system. Each transaction attracts a service fee of 3.25% of the transaction fee that includes the total fine and technology surcharge.

How Do I Pay a Ticket Online in Rhode Island?

If an offender chooses not to fight the traffic ticket, they may pay the Rhode Island traffic tickets online using the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal page on the state judiciary website. Users should first click the online payment tab and then find the case online using:

  • Summons or citation number
  • case number
  • party name
  • driver’s license number

After verifying the information, proceed to make payment using a credit card. There may be a deduction of 3.25% of the total amount of transactions, and processing takes around 15 minutes. Users can print a receipt or have it emailed to them. Some traffic citations are not eligible for online payment:

  • If the defendant is below 18 years of age, payment cannot be made online before a hearing
  • If the traffic citation is not yet available on the system. However, check back within seven days before the court date
  • Violation type cannot be paid online
  • The information has not been entered correctly
  • Citation is not under the jurisdiction of the traffic tribunal

Call (401) 275–2700 for assistance. Some Municipal Courts also provide online portals for payments of traffic citations.

What is The Rhode Island Traffic Ticketing System?

Rhode Island is one of the few states in the US that does not use a driving point system. Instead, the state records moving violations on the driving record of the individual. According to state laws, anyone who receives a third traffic citation within 12 months may be required to appear in person before the traffic tribunal or municipal court judge. This does not include parking ticket citations. Failure to appear in court at the due date can result in a default judgment entered against the individual which could ultimately lead to suspension of license and vehicle registration. If the alleged offender has maintained a good driving record within three years prior to the most recent offense, they may appeal to have the ticket dismissed.

Another way to reduce the number of violations on the record is to attend an approved defensive driving course. When moving traffic tickets exceed three, sanctions may be increased. For more severe violations such as Driving Under Influence (DUI) or drunk driving, stiffer penalties such as extended suspension periods and a lifetime driving record might be enforced.

How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island?

E-citations are a common feature in Rhode Island traffic cases. E-citations are electronic copies of citations sent to the offender by mail or entered into the tribunal database. Interested persons can look up the electronic citation database for any existing traffic citations. Otherwise, visit the traffic tribunal clerk’s office in person to make inquiries at:

Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal
670 New London Avenue
Cranston, Rhode Island 02920

Alternatively, send an email. The office is open for questions during business hours during weekdays except for legal holidays. If it is a Municipal Court, contact the court of interest to request to inspect the records. If preferred, order a driving record from the Division of Motor Vehicles at a $20.50 fee. Law enforcement agencies equally retain copies of traffic citations issued to violate motorists while discharging their duties.

How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island?

Prompt payment of traffic tickets usually helps to avoid a default judgment entered against the offender or an increased fine. A lost ticket can be retrieved by visiting the Traffic Tribunal Clerk’s office or Municipal Court, where the traffic citation was filed. Requestors are typically required to provide information required to facilitate the search such as driver’s license, vehicle registration information, date of birth, and individual name.

How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in Rhode Island?

A traffic ticket in Rhode Island remains on the offender’s driving record for a minimum of three years. DUIs and other serious traffic offenses are criminal convictions, so they may stay on the record for life.

Is a Summon Worse Than a Ticket in Rhode Island?

The word ‘summons’ and ‘citation’ are used interchangeably by the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal Rules of Procedure. A summons consists of a list of violations alleged by the issuing officer and a requirement that the offender appears in court or pay a fine on a set date, time, and place. Therefore a summons in Rhode Island traffic matters does not necessarily imply a more severe offense.

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