Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Rhode Island for various violations of traffic law. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.
If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. Appearing in court gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court. For more information on how to dispute a traffic ticket in Rhode Island, see our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations.
PAYING A TRAFFIC TICKET - WHAT IT MEANS
When you pay a ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense. Motorists should be aware that receiving and paying a traffic citation could result in higher car insurance rates and points on your driving record. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.
HOW TO PAY THE FINE
If you decide to plead guilty to a traffic violation, there are several ways to pay the ticket. The Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal (RITT) handles most traffic tickets, but some traffic offenses are handled by the district/municipal courts. Generally, the back of the citation will clearly indicate the deadlines and options for answering the ticket. Usually, you must act within fifteen days of receiving a traffic ticket to avoid additional fines and possible suspension of your license.
- Pay online. Most traffic tickets answerable at the Traffic Tribunal can be answered and paid online using a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover). Visit the Rhode Island online citation payment service.
- Pay by mail. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully, then check the "Guilty" box and sign the ticket. Enclose a check or money order for the amount indicated on the ticket and mail to:
Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal 670 New London Avenue Cranston, RI 02920
Be sure to retain a copy of the citation for your personal records.
- Pay in person. You can pay your traffic tickets at any of the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal locations or the designated Municipal Court. Bring the citation with you, along with cash, check, money order, or credit card.
- Pay by phone. You can pay traffic tickets answerable at the Traffic Tribunal by calling the toll free number (877) 435-9361. You can pay by credit card (there will be an additional convenience fee for this service).
You may be able to pay by installments in certain cases.
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
If you decide to plead not guilty and dispute the ticket, read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully. The instructions will generally indicate when and how to plead not guilty, and information about appearing in court to dispute your ticket. See our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations for more information about how to dispute a traffic ticket in Rhode Island State.
DISMISSAL OF CHARGES
Remember that you cannot be found guilty of committing a traffic offense unless there is clear, accurate and convincing evidence that you committed the violation. Charges may be dismissed in court if the citation includes vague or incorrect information. For instance, vehicle information, time, location and circumstances must all be indicated correctly on the ticket. Many motorists choose to consult with a traffic ticket attorney to help them evaluate the validity of the ticket, and whether or not it is likely to be dismissed in court.
If you lost a traffic ticket after receiving it, you must contact the RITT (phone (401) 275-2700) or the Municipal Court where the ticket is answerable.