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Rhode Island Arrest Records

Rhode Island Arrest Records refers to documents collected and stored by law enforcement agencies on individuals duly detained on accusation or suspicion of criminal activity, awaiting arraignment, discharge by law enforcement, or bail.

Contrary to criminal records, these documents do not prove the person has committed a crime. Arrest records only cover the arrest procedure and the related charges, offering a snapshot of a person's involvement with law enforcement.

In Rhode Island, each police department makes this type of record following an arrest and keeps it as documentation of a person's criminal behavior. It also plays a vital role in an individual's trial in the criminal justice system.

The content of arrest records may vary across different jurisdictions, but in Rhode Island, it typically includes information such as:

  • The arrestee's name, birthdate, race, and gender
  • Fingerprints
  • Social security number
  • Mugshots
  • The date, time, and location of the arrest
  • Arresting agency
  • Arresting officer's name
  • Charges filed
  • Any accompanying court proceedings


Like other states, arrest records in Rhode Island are public information per the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act (APRA). To ensure transparency and accountability, APRA grants the general public the right to access records maintained by government agencies, including arrest records.

By making arrest records publicly accessible, Rhode Island enables individuals to exercise their right to access information that directly affects their safety and well-being. It fosters a sense of transparency within the criminal justice system, enhancing public trust in law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.

However, access to these records is subject to some exemptions and limitations, including those involving ongoing investigations, court-sealed documents, state or federally private information, and any papers that threaten someone's safety or violate their privacy.

What Laws Govern Arrests in Rhode Island?

Similar to other states, Rhode Island follows a set of laws and regulations that dictate the process of making an arrest. These laws protect individuals' rights while empowering law enforcement officers to carry out their duties effectively.

The primary legislation governing Rhode Island arrests is in Title 12, Chapter 7 of the Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL).

Any peace officer in Rhode Island has the authority to make an arrest. Peace officers include state police, local police departments, park police, airport corporation police, capitol police, conservation officers, fire marshals, university police, deputy sheriffs, and federal law enforcement officers. 

State prison employees, such as corrections officers and the warden, also fall under this category.

However, a peace officer in Rhode Island must establish probable cause before making an arrest. Probable cause means having a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that a person has committed or is about to commit a crime.

In many cases, a peace officer in Rhode Island must also obtain an arrest warrant before arresting a suspect. An arrest warrant is a court order issued by a judge or magistrate granting permission to capture an individual.

However, there are exceptions to the warrant requirement. In Rhode Island, a peace officer can arrest without a warrant if they have enough evidence to believe a person has committed or is about to commit a misdemeanor.

Furthermore, they can also arrest someone without a warrant if they have sufficient grounds to think the person has committed a felony or have a reasonable belief based on adequate reasons.

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Rhode Island?

The arrest booking process in Rhode Island is a fundamental aspect of the state's criminal justice system. While the process may vary in certain situations or jurisdictions, in Rhode Island, this procedure typically includes the following:

Obtaining Demographic Information

Upon arrest, law enforcement officers in Rhode Island initiate the booking process by gathering crucial demographic information from the individual. It includes the person's full name, date of birth, address, and contact details.

In Rhode Island, collecting such data ensures accurate identification and establishes a record within the criminal justice system.

Capturing Mugshots

As part of the booking process, Rhode Island law enforcement officials typically take photographs of the arrested individual, commonly called mugshots. These photographs serve as visual records, assisting in the identification process, and are often included in Rhode Island Arrest Records.


Just like in any other state, fingerprinting is a vital component of the arrest booking process in Rhode Island.

Law enforcement officials capture the fingerprints of the arrested individual using specialized equipment. These fingerprints are then cross-referenced with existing databases, aiding identification and providing valuable information for future criminal investigations.

A full-body search is conducted during the booking process to ensure the safety and security of the arrestee and those within the correctional facility. This procedure thoroughly inspects the individual's clothing and belongings to identify and remove potentially dangerous items.

Medical Exam or Mental Health Screening

In some cases, Rhode Island may require a medical examination or mental health screening as part of the arrest booking process.

This step ensures that immediate medical needs are addressed promptly and that individuals with mental health concerns receive appropriate care. It also protects the arrestee's and others' well-being within the correctional facility.

Confiscation of Personal Belongings

During the booking process, law enforcement officers in Rhode Island typically confiscate the personal belongings of the arrestee. This measure is taken to prevent the introduction of contraband or potential weapons into the correctional facility.

In Rhode Island, the confiscated items are securely stored and returned to the individual upon release or according to specific institutional policies.

DNA Swab

In some instances, Rhode Island may authorize the collection of a DNA sample through a swab of the arrestee's cheek. This DNA sample is then processed and stored in a database, enabling potential matches with existing DNA evidence from crime scenes.

The collection of DNA swabs aids in solving crimes and ensures the accuracy of criminal investigations.

What Happens After the Arrest Booking Process in Rhode Island?

After the arrest booking process, law enforcement officers typically hold the arrestee in a temporary detention area or a holding cell where they will conduct further investigations and decide on the appropriate actions.

Following the investigations, law enforcement officers may release the arrestee on bail or keep them in custody until their court hearing.

The decision on bail considers factors such as the seriousness of the alleged offense, the person's criminal history, and the potential risks they might pose to the community or themselves if released. If released on bail, the arrestee must return to court on the scheduled date.

However, if the arrestee cannot post bail, they remain in custody until their judicial hearing.

When the case goes to court, the booking process becomes essential since the information gathered during the arrest, including fingerprints, mugshots, and personal detail, will become part of the official record. Law enforcement agencies will also use this information for identification during court proceedings.

What Are Rhode Island Mugshot Records?

One crucial aspect of Rhode Island Arrest Records is mugshot records, which visually document individuals arrested and processed by law enforcement agencies. 

These images capture the individual's facial features, providing a visual document that helps law enforcement agencies, the legal system, and the public identify suspects or individuals involved in criminal activities.

The availability of mugshot records varies from state to state, as different jurisdictions have different laws regarding their accessibility. In Rhode Island, mugshot records are public documents, and as such, they are accessible to members of the public, including researchers, journalists, employers, and concerned citizens.

There are several avenues for searching Rhode Island Mugshot Records. One of the primary sources is the Rhode Island Judiciary's Public Portal, an online platform that provides access to various court-related information, including mugshot records. This public portal allows users to search for arrest records by entering the name or case number of the individual in question.

In addition, local law enforcement agencies, like police departments or sheriff's offices, have their databases of mugshot records. These agencies usually have websites or public records divisions where people can ask for mugshot records.

For example, the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) has a website that lists the most wanted individuals in the state. This website helps in identifying unknown suspects by sharing photographs taken during crimes. On this platform, one can click on the suspect's image for more information about the incident or the suspect.

The RISP website also presents the Top 10 Wanted Fugitives in the state. This list shows individuals wanted for serious and often violent crimes. On this website, one can find the personal details of fugitives, their charges, criminal history, current status, and mugshot.

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the retention period for an arrest record has always been necessary for individuals involved in criminal proceedings. 

The duration for which such documents stay on file can impact a person's life in various ways, including employment opportunities, housing applications, and overall reputation. Thus, understanding the length of time that an arrest record stays on file in the state is crucial.

The retention schedule developed by the Rhode Island State Digital Archives (RISDA) governs how long an arrest stays in this state. This schedule outlines how long agencies should keep arrest records before removing them. It also sets minimum time limits for documents in these agencies' possession, custody, or management.

According to the schedule, state and local police departments must retain arrest booking cards and arrest files, including witness statements, cover and face sheets, processing reports, property records, and disposition records until the subject dies or is presumed dead at 85. 

On the other hand, the arrest booking log, which contains information about the arrested individual, is only kept for three years.

However, it is crucial to understand that arrest records are not automatically removed even after the retention period expires. Individuals who wish to have their records destroyed must complete a Certification of Records Destruction (CRD) form and submit it to RISDA for approval.

For more information on records destruction, interested individuals may visit the website of the Rhode Island Secretary of State (RISOS).

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Rhode Island

Individuals burdened with Rhode Island Arrest Records can seek a fresh start through expungement. This legal process allows eligible individuals to remove their arrest records, making them inaccessible to the general public and employers during background checks.

Individuals must meet specific requirements outlined in section 12-1.3-2 of RIGL to qualify for expungement in Rhode Island. Generally, individuals who completed deferred sentences can immediately request expungement under this law.

First-time offenders of misdemeanor convictions can also expunge their records after five years. Additionally, individuals can expunge between two and six misdemeanor convictions after ten years if they have remained free from arrests.

However, according to this legislation, a person cannot have felony convictions removed if they have another offense on their record. Nevertheless, felony arrest records that resulted in probation, a suspended sentence, or fines are eligible for expungement in this state. To qualify, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • The individual committed a non-violent felony as outlined in section 12-1.3-1(1) of RIGL.
  • They are first-time offenders.
  • They have remained free from arrests for ten years after completing their probation or sentence.


Apart from expungement, Rhode Island law permits individuals who were mistakenly detained due to identity errors to have their arrest records sealed.

According to section 12-1-12.2 of the same statute, any law enforcement agency that discovers unlawful detention must seal all related arrest records and delete any personally identifiable information within 60 days of the discovery.

The agency must also inform other federal or state organizations, such as the National Crime Information Identity Center (NCIC) or the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), about the acquisition of the record within the same 60-day period.

Expungement Process of Arrest Records in Rhode Island

To begin the expungement process in Rhode Island, individuals interested must understand the state's eligibility criteria. Generally, the eligibility for expungement depends on various factors in this state. Thus, one may fill out an online form provided by BCI to determine if they are eligible for expungement in Rhode Island.

Once eligibility is established, the individual must file a motion for expungement with the appropriate court. The petition should include detailed information about the offense, the date of the conviction, and any relevant supporting documents. Providing accurate and complete information is crucial to facilitate the expungement process.

After filing the petition, the court will schedule a hearing before a judge as outlined in section 12-1-3-3 of RIGL.

If the judge grants the expungement, the arrest record will no longer be accessible to the general public or most employers. However, certain government agencies, such as law enforcement and the courts, may still have access to expunged records in specific circumstances.

How To Search Rhode Island Arrest Records

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get Rhode Island Arrest Records is by doing a state criminal background check through BCI, which allows individuals to request a background check in person or by mail.

For an in-person request, interested individuals can visit BCI and sign up for the walk-in virtual line service by using a text message or scanning a QR code provided in the parking lot. Once registered, they must wait for a second text message before entering the building.

At the facility, they need to show a valid U.S. passport, state identification card, or state driver's license to perform the background check.

Conversely, interested parties must send a copy of a valid photo ID and a signed and notarized release form to the division for a mail request. They must also include a self-addressed, sealed envelope and pay the required fee.

Another way to access arrest records in Rhode Island is by asking or visiting the local police station that made the arrest.

Individuals must mail a record request form or go to the department's records section to obtain the records from these departments. If the arrest record is readily available, the department will release it upon request. If not, the processing time can range from ten to twenty business days.

If the department denies the request, individuals can file a plea with the Chief of Police. If the chief denies the request for reconsideration, the party can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office or a motion in Superior Court.

Additionally, these departments provide arrest logs on their official websites and upon request, as section 38-2-3.2 of RIGL outlines. However, it's crucial to understand that arrest logs do not contain the complete record, but individuals can still obtain essential information about the arrest.

Counties in Rhode Island

Jails and Prisons in Rhode Island

Anthony P. Travisono Intake Service Center (ISC)18 Slate Hill Drive, Cranston, RI
High Security Center (HSC)Regan Court, PO Box 8200, Cranston, RI
Rhode Island Maximum Security PrisonPO Box 8273, Cranston, RI
Minimum SecurityPO Box 8212, Cranston, RI
Bernadette BuildingP.O. Box 8312, Cranston, RI
Newport County Jail45 Washington Square, Newport, RI