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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. All the agencies listed above are repositories of traffic records for the state.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, 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 document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

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?

Most traffic tickets in Rhode Island that do not require a mandatory court appearance must be paid no later than seven days from the date of issue. 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 is deemed a guilty plea. Although the case is closed after payment, the driving record subsequently reflects the violation. Convictions on a driving record often lead to higher insurance rates and employment problems. An accumulation of offenses within a short time can lead to the suspension of driving privileges. Also, convictions on a driving record will 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. Visa, Mastercard, or Discover make acceptable online payments. 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 must 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 Visa, Mastercard, or Discover. There will 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 all moving violations on the driving record of the individual. According to state laws, anyone who receives a third traffic citation within 12 months must 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 will result in a default judgment entered against the individual and ultimately lead to the suspension of license and vehicle registration. If the alleged offender has had a good driving record within three years before the current offense, they can 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 in number, 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 are 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 is vital 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 must provide all 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 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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