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Rhode Island Court Records

Rhode Island Court Records refer to a collection of documents, including information, verdicts, judgments, filings, opinions, and recordings, produced or preserved by a court during legal proceedings. These records serve as a comprehensive record of court activities, capturing key details and outcomes of cases.


They offer valuable insights for personal investigations and legal research. It aids in monitoring court proceedings and gathering details about an individual's history within the judicial system.

The accessibility of court records in Rhode Island is governed by the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act (APRA).

The APRA establishes the right of the public to inspect and obtain copies of court records. It aims to foster transparency, facilitate legal research, and encourage public participation in the justice system.


However, certain exemptions exist within the APRA. Some records may be withheld from public access to protect sensitive information or uphold privacy rights. In many cases, only authorized individuals, such as parties involved in the case, attorneys, or those granted access through a court order, can access these exempted records.

These exemptions strike a balance between transparency and safeguarding individuals' rights and confidential information.

Which Rhode Island Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?

To effectively obtain court records in Rhode Island, have a comprehensive understanding of how the state court system operates. Within Rhode Island's jurisdiction, the trial court system serves as the primary repository for publicly accessible records. This system encompasses a range of courts, including the following:

Rhode Island Superior Courts

Rhode Island Superior Courts are integral to the state's judicial system. They have jurisdiction over a broad spectrum of criminal and civil cases that exceed the jurisdiction of other courts.

In criminal cases, these courts primarily handle felonies, which are serious offenses, as well as certain misdemeanors when a jury trial is requested.

Regarding civil cases, the Superior Courts can hear various disputes. They exercise jurisdiction over general civil claims exceeding a threshold of $10,000.

They also hear cases involving disputes over real estate rights, titles, and interests. Moreover, the Superior Courts possess exclusive original jurisdiction over equity cases involving fairness and equitable relief matters.

For specific general civil claims falling between $5,000 and $10,000, these courts share jurisdiction with District Courts.

In certain instances, the Superior Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Probate Courts over adult name changes resulting from felony or misdemeanor convictions and specific types of trusts.

Furthermore, these courts may establish specialized divisions, such as Gun Courts, which focus on cases related to firearm offenses. These specialized divisions allow for streamlined and efficient adjudication of specific types of cases.

Rhode Island District Courts

Rhode Island District Courts preside over specific types of criminal and civil cases.

In criminal cases, they mainly handle misdemeanors or offenses punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and fines not exceeding $1,000. Aside from misdemeanor cases, they handle arraignments for felonies.

Regarding civil cases, District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over most civil disputes under $5,000. They also handle landlord-tenant disputes valued at less than $10,000.

Each District Court includes a Small Claims Court division, specializing in handling specific civil claims with values typically below $5,000. This division provides a streamlined process for resolving smaller civil disputes efficiently.

District Courts play a vital role in addressing various legal matters beyond civil and criminal cases. They also handle issues related to involuntary hospitalization, domestic violence protective orders, and specific administrative agency appeals.

Rhode Island Family Courts

Rhode Island Family Courts address domestic relations cases, including divorce, child custody, and support issues. They also handle crucial juvenile matters such as delinquency, abuse, and adoption. Moreover, Family Courts preside over specific criminal cases related to neglect and threats within families.

In addition to their primary jurisdictions, Family Courts regulate childcare providers and exercise partial authority over administrative agency appeals. They ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards to safeguard the well-being of children.

Furthermore, these courts offer specialized programs such as Juvenile Drug Court and Domestic Violence Court. These programs provide tailored support and alternative approaches to traditional court proceedings, emphasizing the unique needs and circumstances of the individuals involved.

Rhode Island Probate Courts

Rhode Island Probate Courts oversee a range of essential probate matters. These include making decisions on wills, administering estates, determining guardianships for minors, resolving custody disputes involving juveniles, managing conservatorships, and handling specific issues related to trusts and name changes.

They are also in charge of facilitating the adoption of adults and children and granting approval for the sale or mortgage of property through private or public channels.

Rhode Island Municipal Courts

Rhode Island Municipal Courts play a significant role in the state's judicial system, primarily focusing on handling municipal ordinance violations.

These courts address many cases, including traffic violations, with some having exclusive jurisdiction over specific traffic-related matters. However, they do not handle issues under the Traffic Tribunal's exclusive jurisdiction.

In addition to traffic offenses, Municipal Courts handle violations of zoning ordinances or local housing.

Rhode Island Traffic Tribunals

Rhode Island Traffic Tribunals have sole authority over various motor vehicle and traffic-related violations.

In addition to cases involving violations of state laws about motor vehicles, Traffic Tribunals possess exclusive jurisdiction over city or town traffic ordinances violations where a Municipal Court lacks the authority to address them.

However, certain motor vehicle matters lie outside the jurisdiction of Traffic Tribunals. These include significant crimes resulting in serious bodily harm or death, high-speed evasion attempts, driving without a license, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and possession of stolen automobiles.

In specific instances, these tribunals share jurisdiction with other entities regarding public water ordinances and boating violations, mainly when a harbormaster refers to these cases.

Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Court

The Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Court is a specialized court system operating from a central office to serve the entire state. It holds exclusive jurisdiction over cases about workers' compensation.

It acts as a dedicated forum for resolving conflicts between employers and employees regarding rehabilitating injured workers, compensation benefits, and disputes involving compensation insurers and employers.

In addition to the trial courts, the Rhode Island court system includes the Supreme Court, which serves as a higher-level judicial authority.

This court allows individuals to challenge rulings made by the lower trial courts for a comprehensive and just legal process. Moreover, the Supreme Court possesses the authority to manage and disseminate certain Rhode Island Court Records.

What are the Common Public Court Records in Rhode Island?

The courts in Rhode Island are committed to transparency and making justice accessible. They provide, upon request, commonly sought-after court records such as:

Rhode Island Civil and Small Claims Records

Rhode Island Civil Court Records refer to the official documentation and records about civil cases heard and resolved in the state civil court system. It typically involves disputes between individuals, businesses, or organizations and can cover various legal matters such as contract disputes, personal injury claims, and property disputes.

Legal proceedings in civil court cases often follow a formal process, including filing a complaint, exchanging legal documents between the parties involved, pre-trial conferences, and ultimately a trial if the case proceeds to that stage.

The court responsible for handling most civil cases in Rhode Island is primarily the Superior Court, especially those with claims exceeding $10,000.

On the other hand, Rhode Island Small Claims Court Records pertain to cases heard and resolved in the state small claims court system. In this state, the Small Claims Court has a lower monetary limit than the civil court system, typically cases involving claims up to $5,000.

Legal proceedings in Small Claims Court are generally less formal than civil court proceedings. Parties involved in small claims can represent themselves without proper legal representation, although they can consult an attorney.

The process often involves filing a simplified complaint form, attending a hearing before a judge, and presenting evidence or arguments to support their case.

In most cases, the court responsible for small claims matters in Rhode Island is the District Court.

Rhode Island Civil Court Records and Rhode Island Small Claims Court Records contain essential information about individual cases.

These records may include details about the parties involved, the nature of the dispute, court filings, motions, orders, judgments, and other relevant documents. The specific information contained in these records can vary depending on the details of each case and the stage of the legal proceedings.

How To Access Rhode Island Civil and Small Claims Records

One of the primary methods to obtain Rhode Island Civil Court Records and Rhode Island Small Claims Court Records is to visit the courthouse that heard the case.

In Rhode Island, civil court records are typically available at the Superior Court, while small claims court records can be accessed at the District Court.

Visitors can approach the court clerk's office and request assistance locating and retrieving the desired court records. The court clerk will guide individuals through the necessary steps, which may involve filling out a request form, providing relevant case details, and potentially paying any applicable fees for copies of the records.

Alternatively, individuals can make a written request for court records through the mail. This method involves drafting a formal letter or completing a specific request form, which can usually be obtained from the respective court's website or by contacting the court clerk's office directly.

The written request must include details about the case, such as the case number, parties involved, and any other relevant information to assist in identifying the records. One must also enclose any required fees for copies of the documents, as specified by the court.

Rhode Island Criminal Records

Rhode Island Criminal Records refer to official documents maintained by state law enforcement agencies, such as the courts, the Sheriff's Office, and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. These records play a crucial role in documenting and recording individuals' involvement in criminal activities within the state.

Employers, landlords, and organizations frequently use criminal records for background checks on individuals. They can assess the potential risks of hiring or engaging someone by accessing criminal records. It helps promote safety and security in various settings.

Rhode Island Criminal Records may contain the following information:

  • Subject's name and any known aliases
  • Personal details such as age, place of birth, and date of birth
  • Mugshot
  • Details of offenses committed and criminal charges faced in court
  • The court where the trial took place
  • Trial outcome or disposition
  • Information regarding any period of incarceration
  • Parole eligibility and post-conviction status


How To Obtain Criminal Records in Rhode Island

Obtaining criminal records in Rhode Island is a straightforward process that allows individuals to access important information about an individual's criminal history within the state.

Aside from the state trial courts, there are two main options for requesting criminal records in Rhode Island. Individuals can either make an in-person request at the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) or submit a mail request.

For those opting for an in-person request, they can visit the Customer Service Center of the BCI. When making this request, bring a valid government-issued photo ID and payment for the requested service.

Individuals preferring to submit a mail request must follow a specific procedure. First, they need to obtain a notarized and signed release from the subject of the search. Then, they must attach a valid identification document and include payment in a check or money order along with the release form.

The requester must enclose the completed application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail it to the BCI. To ensure a smooth process, double-check the application packet for completeness and accuracy before submitting it. Any missing or incorrect information may lead to delays or inaccuracies in the criminal record report.

Upon receipt of the request, the BCI aims to process it within 7-10 business days. However, the actual delivery of the criminal record may take longer, depending on the volume of requests and logistical factors.

Rhode Island Traffic Records

Traffic records are Rhode Island Court Records that hold significant importance for the general public. They provide valuable information about an individual's traffic and driving history in Rhode Island, encompassing personal data, traffic tickets, accidents, violations, fines, convictions, and license restrictions and suspensions.

By providing access to traffic records, Rhode Island empowers its residents to proactively ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. It allows individuals to evaluate the driving competence and behavior of others, which can have a significant impact on personal safety and decision-making.

The agencies responsible for creating and managing public traffic records in Rhode Island include the Municipal Courts, the Traffic Tribunals, and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These agencies diligently collect and update the documents to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Rhode Island operates under state laws that guarantee public access to government agency records, including traffic records held in physical custody. However, certain personal information in traffic records may be omitted or redacted in compliance with the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

The DPPA ensures that sensitive and private information, such as a driver's address and social security number, is not released to the general public.

How To Access Rhode Island Traffic Records

Individuals can obtain their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) directly from the DMV through an online portal, in-person, or mail-in requests when seeking Rhode Island Traffic Records.

For online access, individuals can purchase a certified MVR by visiting the DMV's online portal and using a valid credit card (Discover, Mastercard, or Visa) for payment. To proceed, the requester or the record holder must provide their last name, driver's license number, birth date, and zip code.

Alternatively, individuals can request their traffic records by visiting any DMV office. The DMV imposes a fee for in-person inquiries, which can be paid in cash or by other approved ways at the office.

It's worth mentioning that the fee for in-person requests is typically higher than for mail requests.

For those who prefer to request their traffic record by mail, send a written request to the Rhode Island DMV. The mail request must include the necessary information, such as the record holder's name, driver's license number, date of birth, and the applicable fee, which must be a money order or check.

Rhode Island Probate Records

Rhode Island Probate Records refer to official documents and records related to the administration of estates and the distribution of assets after an individual's death. These records are vital in determining how the deceased's property and assets were handled and identifying heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors.

Probate records typically contain a wealth of information, including wills, inventories of the deceased's assets, guardianship appointments, estate settlements, and other relevant legal documents. They can provide insights into family relationships, property ownership, financial status, and a particular period of social and economic history.

Interested individuals can access Rhode Island Probate Records through two primary sources: the Probate Courts in each county and the Rhode Island State Archives Repository.

To access probate records from the county Probate Courts, visit the respective court's office and request access to specific documents. Researchers may need to provide relevant information such as the deceased's name, approximate date of death, and case number if available.

Some Probate Courts may have online portals or digital databases where one can access certain records remotely.

The Rhode Island State Archives Repository also houses probate records from various counties. Researchers can visit the State Archives in person or explore their online resources to access a broader collection of probate records.

Rhode Island Family Records

Rhode Island Family Records pertain to documents and records related to legal matters within the jurisdiction of the Family Court in Rhode Island. These records provide a comprehensive history of these legal proceedings and contain valuable information about the involved parties and the resolution of family law disputes.

They may include divorce decrees, custody agreements, adoption records, child support orders, protective orders, paternity determinations, and other relevant legal documents. These records often contain personal information about the parties involved, such as names, addresses, dates of birth, and further identifying details.

They also include information on the case proceedings, decisions made by the court, and any relevant court orders or judgments.

Generally, one can access family court records through the Rhode Island Family Court itself. The Family Court has multiple locations throughout the state, and individuals can visit the court's offices in person to request access to specific records.

Researchers may need to provide relevant information, such as the parties' names, case numbers, or other identifying details to facilitate the search for specific records.

Rhode Island Bankruptcy Records

The state trial courts hold the majority of Rhode Island Court Records, but the responsibility for bankruptcy filings and records falls under the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island, which is part of the federal court system.

Rhode Island Bankruptcy Records refer to official documents and information about bankruptcy cases filed within the state. These records are essential for documenting and tracking the details of bankruptcy proceedings and serve as a valuable resource for the general public, creditors, legal professionals, and researchers.

Bankruptcy records in Rhode Island comprise documents related to the entire bankruptcy process, covering pre- and post-filing activities. They provide crucial information about the steps involved before filing, such as means-testing and credit counseling, and details about post-filing processes like debtor education courses.

While the forms and documentation can differ based on the type of bankruptcy case, obtaining these records can provide access to the following information:

  • Type of bankruptcy filed (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13)
  • Filing date
  • Bankruptcy case number
  • Case disposition
  • Debtor's name and address
  • Debtor's assets and liabilities
  • List of creditors and amount
  • Assigned trustee
  • Judge's name


How To Obtain Bankruptcy Records in Rhode Island

To access bankruptcy records, individuals have several options. The first option is to visit the clerk's office in Providence and utilize the public access terminals. These terminals provide convenient access to bankruptcy records.

For those who prefer remote access, there are two additional methods available. The first method involves contacting the clerk's office via phone at (401) 626-3100. By calling this number, requesting parties can inquire about and obtain bankruptcy records.

The second method utilizes the automated Voice Case Information System (VCIS). By calling (866)-222-8029, one can use the system. To access limited bankruptcy case information, users must provide specific information such as the bankruptcy case number, the debtor's full name, social security number, or taxpayer identification number.

In addition to these options, individuals can access bankruptcy records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. U.S. Bankruptcy Courts provide this service and require individuals to register for an account. Electronic access to court records via PACER is subject to a fee per page.

However, an alternative exists for those who cannot access or afford to use PACER. Record requests can be emailed to the clerk's office at It allows individuals to request bankruptcy records through a different channel.

Rhode Island provides individuals with a user-friendly and comprehensive case search system known as the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal. This system enables interested individuals to access and retrieve information about court cases.

Once on the Public Portal, individuals can use the "Smart Search" feature. This feature enables users to input specific search criteria such as a record number or the last, first, middle, and suffix names of the person they are searching for.

Users can obtain a comprehensive list of search results by entering the necessary information, including case number, status, location, and other relevant court case information. While the general public can access the court's docket or register of actions, access to complete case records may require a registered account on the platform.

Rhode Island recognizes that not everyone may prefer or have access to online platforms. Hence, alternative methods are available for requesting specific Rhode Island Court Records.

Individuals can direct their inquiries to the Judicial Technology Center (JTC) by emailing for an email request. When making this request, attach the completed Request for Access to Case Information form along with a signed Data Subscription Agreement. 

For those who prefer a more personal approach, in-person requests can be made at the court clerk's office in the respective court that filed the case. Individuals can use the Rhode Island courts directory to find a specific court's contact information and location.

When making an in-person request, requestors may be required to complete request forms or provide written request applications. They may also need to specify the desired court records in the application and indicate the number of copies required, if applicable.


Counties in Rhode Island

Courts in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Supreme Court250 Benefit St., Providence, RI
Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court1 Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI
Providence County Superior Court250 Benefit St., Providence, RI
Kent County Superior Court222 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI
Washington County Superior Court4800 Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI
Newport County Superior Court45 Washington Square, Newport, RI