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Rhode Island Court Records

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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Rhode Island?

Activities on the highway that contravene the Traffic Law Code of Rhode Island are traffic violations. Infractions describe minor offenses committed by vehicle users, while more serious crimes are referred to as violations. Examples are traffic misdemeanors and felonies.

All traffic violations in Rhode Island are considered significant. For this reason, the state has a penalty system for traffic offenses implemented by law enforcement and legal agencies. These range from ticket fines to jail time. The local and state police issue notices of violations to offenders; the courts prosecute the offenders, and the Department of Motor Vehicles records all traffic convictions in the state.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Rhode Island?

Traffic felonies refer to traffic misconduct that could be categorized as felonies under the state’s laws. It could be a felony offense ab initio or interpreted as such based on the outcome of the misconduct. In Rhode Island, felony convictions may lead to up to a year jail sentence along with huge fines (not less than $1000), restitution, community service, probation, and significant collateral damage. They are graded from class A to E. Class A1 felonies are referred to as capital felonies, and they merit penalties up to life imprisonment. Class E felonies have the lowest penalties awarded to them. Also, a third-time traffic misdemeanor is treated as a felony under the state laws. Although there are restricted alternatives to sentences in felony cases, each case is assessed, and the sentence is decided upon by the judge.

Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Rhode Island

Some common felony traffic violations in Rhode Island are:

  • Third-time traffic misdemeanors
  • Vehicle collisions with established criminal intent
  • Negligent homicide
  • Bodily injury or death resulting from Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident
  • Driving with a revoked license

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Rhode Island?

Traffic misdemeanors lie somewhere between felonies and minor offenses in Rhode Island. In general, misdemeanors are classified into two: regular misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors. Both of them attract penalties of fines and shorter-term jail sentences.

Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Rhode Island

Some traffic misdemeanors in Rhode Island include:

  • Indecent conduct while driving
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Driving While Intoxicated
  • Refusal to submit for chemical testing
  • Careless driving
  • Unlawful use of a vehicle in the transportation of alcohol or drugs

What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Rhode Island

Traffic infractions constitute the largest number of traffic offenses in Rhode Island. They are usually served with ticket fines and recorded convictions on the offender's driving history. See the state’s violation schedule for the fines allocated to each offense. Accumulating three traffic convictions in 12 months may lead to a court appearance or a tribunal session. It may also result in sanctions such as suspending or revoking a driving license.

Examples Of Traffic Infractions in Rhode Island

  • Exceeding speed limits
  • Running a red light signal
  • Driving with an expired license
  • Parking violations
  • Refusal to yield the right of way
  • Failure to slow down for a school bus or ambulance
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving too slowly
  • Going too close to another vehicle

How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Rhode Island?

Law enforcement agents in Rhode Island issue traffic tickets to persons deemed to have violated traffic laws. A traffic ticket is a citation document containing the details of the offender, the type of offense, the traffic code that has been violated, the amount of fine required to be paid, the deadline for payment, the address of the receiving agency, and the details of the ticketing officer.

Depending on the offense, some tickets include a compulsory appearance before the state authorities: Municipal Courts or the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Where an appearance is only an option, the ticketed individual is typically expected to pay the required fine within the due date or enter a “not guilty” plea. If none is done before the due date, the authorities enter a default judgment against the individual. This could mean suspension of driving /vehicle licenses or an arrest. When a fine is paid, the enforcing authority closes the case but reports a conviction on the driving record. An accumulation of three or more convictions may lead to mandatory appearance and stiffer penalties. Only parking violations are not recorded as convictions.

Are Driving Records Public In Rhode Island?

The Federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994 restricts public access to personal information in a driving record. They include addresses, license numbers, names, and social security numbers. For this reason, driving records are issued upon request only to the persons listed in the record. Persons with official consent from the holder of the record are granted access. Employer agencies and government-authorized persons can access drivers’ records.

How To Find Driving Records In Rhode Island?

The county sheriffs, city and state police, municipal courts, and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal are all repositories of driving records. While interested parties can visit the relevant address to request copies of traffic citations and court documents, a comprehensive record is available at the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles. It costs $20.50 to order a record online.

The first step is to provide identification information: Last name, date of birth, the zip code on the driver’s license, and the license number (7 digits). Note that only the persons listed in the record and their delegates are eligible to obtain a driving record. Call (401) 462–0800 for information about requesting records in person or by mail.

Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Rhode Island?

A violation of traffic laws is recorded and retained against an offender for three years. Under the State’s General Laws, if the number of violations is less than three in 3 years, individuals can apply to have the ticket dismissed. Dismissed tickets will not appear on the driving record. Also, certain traffic misdemeanors can be sealed or expunged when the offenders attain 18 and are not under investigation for any other crime. An exception to this rule is DUI offenses and traffic felonies, which remain permanently on the record. Mistaken convictions on a driving record can be resolved by contacting the DMV with the necessary information:

Division of Motor Vehicles
600 New London Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Call (401) 462–4368 for more information.

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