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Rhode Island Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island

Rhode Island traffic tickets are notices issued to drivers by law enforcement officers for allegedly violating state traffic rules and regulations. All matters relating to motorists in the state are managed by the Rhode Island division of motor vehicles. Examples of common Rhode Island traffic violations are:

  • DWI and DUI offenses
  • Driving without a license
  • Driving aggressively
  • Speeding
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Failure to halt for the stop sign

Rhode Island traffic citations usually remain on a motorist’s driving record for 36 months. Although in most U.S states, the major worry for drivers is the accumulation of traffic points on the license; however, Rhode Island does not operate a points system. The government employs the term “habitual offenders” to regulate the individuals that accrue several tickets within a specific period, repeatedly commit DWI & DUIs, or constantly violate any traffic rule. Therefore maintaining a clean record as a driver in a state that practices a point system is just as important in a state that does not.

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 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.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island?

Yes, fighting a traffic ticket in Rhode Island is worth it because it is constitutionally entrenched that persons issued a citation can dispute such in a court. The Rhode Island speeding laws are unique because a flat $75 charge accompanies most moving offenses. However, the drivers that are charged for speeding pay an even higher price.

For instance, an individual speeding at ten mph higher than the predetermined speed limit will be charged $85. Also, a driver may get charged for every added mile per hour above the limit such a person goes. Therefore speeding at 63 mph when the speed limit is 50 may cost a motorist at least $215, and that does not include any other consequences or fees that might accompany the citation.

Although contesting a ticket is time-consuming and stressful compared to pleading guilty, every concerned-party ought to take advantage of their constitutional right. A simple plea of guilt at arraignment may result in further sanctions and even suspension of the driver’s license.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island

The only way to dispute a traffic ticket in Rhode Island is in court. After an offender enters a plea of not guilty to a Rhode Island traffic ticket, they are informed of a trial date. The law enforcement officer that served the citation to the driver will also be required to appear. Deciding to go to trial means that both the prosecutor and the defendant could not reach an agreement on the case.

At trial, the police officer that served the ticket testifies first because the state bears the burden of proving, through clear evidence, that the offender is guilty. The officer will give the statement and present all evidence that demonstrates the defendant violated a traffic rule. Afterward, the individual or the representative will be allowed to cross-examine the prosecutor.

The police officer will be allowed to call out witnesses as further proof. However, the defense will also be permitted to cross-examine them all.

Finally, the alleged offender will be given the opportunity to testify and call out witnesses if available. However, concerned parties should note that the defense is not allowed to display any evidence.

After trial, if the judge ruled in the driver’s favor, the case will get dismissed, no fees paid, and no record of the alleged violation. On the other hand, if the judge finds the offender guilty, sanctions will be imposed. However, as stated in the rules of procedure, Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal (rule 21), motorists are entitled to appeal to the Appellate panel, any municipal court/Traffic Tribunal judgment.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

In Rhode Island, when a traffic ticket is being contested, the officer that issued the citation must be present. Otherwise, the defense can request a “motion to dismiss” which is a request to throw out the ticket since there is no prosecution. With that, the judge may have to dismiss the case and cancel all fines/court costs and citations from the driver’s record.

Alternatively, if both parties in the case can reach an agreement without trial, then the matter can be resolved. The defendant should converse with the concerned-officer and try to reach a disposition (an agreement). The disposition may be an outright dismissal or any of the following:

  • Community service
  • Reduced fines
  • Charitable contributions
  • Retraining the driver

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, all traffic offenders can talk to the officer/prosecutor to reach an agreement without a trial. This is the same as the mitigation hearing, and the offender is at an advantage with an experienced Rhode Island traffic attorney. The offender’s representative can ask the police department to reduce the driver’s ticket speed rate. Also, in certain cases, an individual can get the traffic ticket reduced after enrolling and completing a state driving course.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Rhode Island?

Yes, motorists in Rhode Island can get their speed tickets dismissed. Pursuant to section 31.41.1–7 (Rhode Island code), an alleged offender has the right to seek the dismissal of a traffic citation based on a credible driving record. For Rhode Island motorists to take advantage of their good driving records, they must not have on their driving record any moving violations for the previous three years. Also, such persons must not fail to appear for trial on the specified court date.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island

Most minor citations can be resolved once the offender makes the fine payment. However, an admission means the ticket will stay on the driver’s driving record for at least 3 years.

Offenders must note that accumulating citations will lead to sanctions. For instance, accumulating three tickets in twelve months will lead to the offender appearing at the Rhode Island traffic tribunal. Such offenders are liable for a license suspension. Also, receiving four citations within 18 months, opens up the individual to the Colin B. Foote Act penalties, which include:

  • A fine as high as $1,000;
  • Driver retraining course for 60 hours (minimum)
  • Community service for 60 hours (minimum)
  • One year driver license suspension
  • Two years revocation of driver license

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Rhode Island

Motorists issued traffic tickets in Rhode Island can find experienced traffic legal advisors within the state. The attorney can help if the alleged offender is seeking to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Many third-party sites offer persons dealing with traffic tickets the names and contacts of different Rhode Island traffic-attorneys. Before picking a traffic attorney, the concerned-party should check the lawyer’s reviews from past clients. This is an important step for determining if that attorney is experienced and credible.

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