From small events to serious offenses, being cited for a traffic offense can be a very stressful event. You may be left feeling clueless and confused about the road ahead of you as you figure out how to fight the charges you’re facing. You may be scared about the possibility of losing your license, seeing an increase in your insurance rates, or many of the other penalties you face.
The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. And you don’t have to pay your ticket and accept the penalties coming your way. With the help of an experienced Rhode Island traffic offenses lawyer, you can effectively fight the case ahead of you. We will prepare you to go to court and work to get the penalties lowered or, in some cases, dismissed. If you are seeking legal representation after committing a traffic offense in Rhode Island, contact our office today to set up a consultation to discuss your case.
Common Moving Violations & Penalties
Some of the most common moving violations include: failing to halt at stop signs or red lights, speeding and aggressive driving, failing to use turn signals, using breakdown lanes for travel, land roadway violations, or following too close to other vehicles.
Many moving violations will result in hefty fines, increased insurance rates, and a violation on your driving record. In some cases, your license may even be suspended. The common causes of a license suspension include: DUI/DWI offenses and refusing a breathalyzer or chemical test, other alcohol/drug-related offenses, and traffic violations or accidents. Your license may also be suspended if you are deemed medically unable to drive a vehicle.
Fines for traffic offenses in Rhode Island can be as costly as $1,000 depending on the violation committed. You may also be required to fulfill 60 hours of driver retraining courses, plus 60 hours of community service.
You Received a Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island – What Do You Do?
If you have received a traffic ticket in the state of Rhode Island, you have a few options. First, you could simply pay the fine and accept whatever penalties come your way. Fines can be paid by mailing a check or can be paid online. If you choose to accept the ticket and simply pay the fine, this is considered an admission of guilt.
Tickets do remain on your driving record for a total of three years. If you receive three tickets within one year, you will be required to appear at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. You also face a license suspension at this time. If you receive four tickets within 18 months, you face the penalties outlined under the Colin B. Foote Act, which includes a long license suspension.
Your second option is to request a dismissal of the ticket based on a previous good driving record. You can only go with this option if you haven’t had any moving violations within the previous three years. You will be required to appear at a hearing.
Your other option is to appear at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal or Municipal Court to fight your ticket. When you receive your ticket after being pulled over, you will receive a court date with information for fighting your ticket. If you choose to fight your ticket, we advise you to have an experienced Rhode Island traffic offenses lawyer by your side to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
What Happens if You Go to Court?
If you choose to go to court to fight your ticket, you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment. If you plead guilty, you give up your right to have a trial for your traffic ticket. The judge will give you your sentence, inform you of your fine, and require you to pay an additional $5 in court costs. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will be given a later date for a trial or hearing.
If you plead not guilty and receive a future court date, you are required to appear in court. The officer who issued your ticket is required to be present as well. If, however, the officer does not appear in court, your traffic ticket will then be dismissed. In this case, you will not be required to pay any fines or court costs. The citation will also be removed from your driving record.
It’s possible that with the help of a lawyer, you and the officer can also come to an agreement without the need for a further trial. This is referred to as a “disposition.” As a result, you may receive lower fines, the dismissal of your case after the completion of community service, or other outcomes. If you’re unable to come to an agreement together, the trial will move forward.
During a trial, the officer who issued your traffic ticket will be required to testify first and has to explain why you pulled over, why you were issued a ticket, and will be required to provide evidence that proves your guilt. After the officer’s testimony, you will be able to cross-examine the officer. You will also be given the chance to testify on your own behalf or call upon witnesses who may help in your case.
If the judge finds you to be not guilty of the traffic violation you are facing, the case will be dismissed. In the instance of a dismissal, you will not be required to pay any court costs and the violation will not be on your record. If you are, however, found guilty of the traffic violation in question, you will face fines, court costs, community service, and other penalties based on your particular offense.
If you choose to go to court and fight your ticket, it is highly recommended to hire a Rhode Island traffic offenses lawyer to help you. Our office will prepare you for your day in court by preparing a strong defense with the goal of lowering your penalties or getting them dismissed. We don’t recommend going to court alone. We can help you and work to make sure the traffic violation you have been charged with doesn’t leave a mark on your driving record.