Rhode Island Public Records

Depending on the kind of records you want to inspect of copy, the process of gaining access to public records in the state of Rhode Island is something that is protected by the law. Read on to learn about the procedure you need to follow to gain access to the records you might be looking for.

Section 38-2 of The General Laws of Rhode Island gives guidelines on what records are to be made available to the general public and how they should be accessed. The Rhode Island law statutes contains provisions that protect the rights of agencies or persons to get records of events that involve the public and government agencies, such as arrest records, court records and criminal records.

Rhode Island Criminal Records

Rhode Island has a very simple, but fairly localized, process for arrest records. You can also contact the local police department to obtain arrest logs depending on which municipality or town you are looking in. Some of the arrest logs are actually available online.

In terms of background checks and criminal records, the Rhode Island District Attorney’s Office allows businesses with signed authorized forms to access background checks for a fee of 5 USD per background check. However, these checks can only be accessed within the borders of Rhode Island. If you are applying for a national background check, you will have to make your request through Rhode Island State Police or the Attorney General’s Office and you would have to pay a fee of $35.

Rhode Island inmate records and arrest records are readily available and accessible online. You can find them on the official website of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. If you are a crime victim and you want to keep tabs on your offender because you fear that they might retaliate, you should visit VINElink. This is a website that uses a national database to inform victims of where the inmates are being held. This is done through phone. It will also notify you of any custody changes.

Rhode Island Court Records

You can access Rhode Island Court Records through the judiciary of the state. Court records in Rhode Island must go through the state’s judiciary. To get information about the status of court processes or to get court records, you can simply visit online and search by docket number or name.

Rhode Island Vital Records

The Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for giving access to the state’s vital records. The department has a division of Vital Records, Death, and Birth. There is a division in every county where you can obtain this information either by mail or in person. The Department of Health Website has a full list of all the county offices where these records can be found.

  • Birth records: The state of Rhodes organizes its birth records into two categories: state records and town records. The records included in the state records category are all birth records collected from the state’s Family History Library. The town records category includes records that were collected from county records of vital statistics and Rhode Island church, which are actually the earliest birth records in the state. The state of Rhodes began statewide registration of birth in 1853 but full compliance was achieved in 1915.
  • Death records: Death records in Rhode Island are organized into state records and town records. All death records in the state category are collected every year from Rhode Island Death Index and Rhode Island State Registrar. The death records in the second category were collected from the state’s Family History Library, which keeps microfilmed copies of the birth records originally recorded in counties.
  • Marriage records: There are town marriage records and state marriage records. Each county in the state of Rhode Island started registering marriages in 1853, and these are the records in the town records category. These records are available at the state’s Family History Library. Statewide registration of marriages was fully complied with by 1915 and all marriage records from this time to present are in the state records category.
  • Divorce records: Divorce records are organized into state records and town records. The town records category include the records from 1853 that were collected from the counties and are now available at the state’s Family History Library. The town records category comprises of divorce records from 1915 to present.

By following the right procedure and appropriate channels, you will easily obtain records in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island state court system

Understanding how the system of Rhode Island state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Rhode Island Courts Overview

The trial court system of Rhode Island State consists of Workers’ Compensation Court, Traffic Tribunals, Municipal Courts, Probate Courts, Family Courts, District Courts, and Superior Courts.

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Rhode Island by simply going to courts by county.

Superior Courts

These courts have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but generally handle cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over.

Criminal cases generally handled by Superior Courts include some misdemeanors and felonies. Civil cases include general civil claims with more than $10,000 in dispute. They share original jurisdiction over most general civil claims for less than $10,000 and more than $5,000 with District Courts. Besides, superior Courts also hear most civil cases involving disputes over title, interests, and rights to real property. They also handle cases connected to access to public records.

They also share jurisdiction over name changes of adults who have convicted of felony or misdemeanor, and certain types of trust with Probate Courts. Some probate matters involving equity issues are also heard by Superior Courts.

Superior Courts may have specialized Gun Court division that handle gun-related crimes. They may also have Adult Drug Court divisions for handling criminal cases that involve drug-related offenses.

District Courts

Rhode Island District Courts have jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. General criminal cases District Courts handle include municipal ordinance violations and misdemeanors particularly when the rights to jury trials are waived.

District Courts have limited jurisdiction to handle most replevin and landlord-tenant cases involving personal property for less than $5,000, and general civil claims with less than $5,000 in dispute. They also hear violations of housing codes particularly if Municipal Court has jurisdiction to handle the violation.

These courts also handle appeals from some administrative agency, involuntary hospitalization, and domestic violence protection orders. These courts share jurisdiction for most general civil claims for less than $10,000 and more than $5,000.

District Courts have Small Claims Court divisions to handle certain general civil claims with less than $2,500 in dispute, exclusive of costs and interest.

Family Courts

Rhode Island Family Courts have jurisdiction to handle some types of civil cases, some criminal cases, juvenile matters, and domestic relations.

Domestic relations cases that these courts handle include legal separation and divorce, paternity, alimony, division of property, child support, child visitation, and child custody. Juvenile cases include adoptions of minors, child abuse, child neglect, and juvenile delinquency.

Criminal cases these courts hear include desertion, neglect, abandonment, and threats against close family members.

Probate Courts

These courts have jurisdiction to handle probate matters, including conservatorships, guardianships, name changes, adoptions of adults, matters related to trusts, the probate of wills, and administration of estate.

Municipal Courts

Rhode Island Municipal Courts handle majority of municipal ordinance violations. Typical cases that Municipal Courts hear include some traffic cases. They also handle requests for certain injunctions and other violations of local zoning or housing ordinance.

Traffic Tribunals

Rhodes Island Traffic Tribunals have limited jurisdiction to handle majority of state law connected to traffic, motor vehicles, or littering offenses. They cannot handle certain types of cases related to motor vehicles, including crimes that result into serious bodily injury or death.

Traffic Tribunals have limited jurisdiction over violations of town or city traffic ordinances especially when a Municipal Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the violations.

Workers’ Compensation Court

This is a specialize court designed for handling some types of civil cases, such as disputes between compensation insurers and employers, the rehabilitation of injured workers, disputes between employers and employees.

The Official Website of Rhode Island County

Warwick Warwick, Rhode Island
Cranston The City of Cranston – “We’re on the Move!” Home Page for the new website for the City of Cranston, Rhode Island.
Pawtucket Welcome to our website! | City Of Pawtucket City of Pawtucket
Woonsocket City of Woonsocket RI
Coventry Coventry
Cumberland Town of Cumberland RI
West Warwick West Warwick, RI Official Website of the Town of West Warwick
Johnston Johnston, RI
North Kingstown North Kingstown, RI | Official Website
Westerly Westerly, RI | Official Website
Bristol Bristol, RI – Official Website
Lincoln Rhode Island Town of Lincoln State of Rhode Island: Town of Lincoln
Smithfield Town of Smithfield, Rhode Island — The Official Site of the Town of Smithfield, Rhode Island The Official Site of the Town of Smithfield, Rhode Island
Central Falls City of Central Falls
Middletown Town of Middletown
Newport County Newport County Chamber of Commerce, RI
Washington County RI.gov: Rhode Island Government The Official Web Site of the State of Rhode Island
Kent County Kent County, Rhode Island – Wikipedia
Providence County RI.gov: Rhode Island Government The Official Web Site of the State of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Arrests and Inmate Search

Johnston Police Department RI The Johnston Police Department provides the citizens of Johnston Rhode Island with many community services.  Visit our website to learn more about the Johnston RI Police Department.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office Washington County Sheriff’s Department
Rhode Island Department of Corrections: Inmate Search Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Background Checks- Rhode Island -RI Office of the Attorney General State of Rhode Island:  RI Office of the Attorney General
Smart Search – Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal
State of Rhode Island: Parole Board & Sex Offender Community Notification Unit : Rhode Island Parole Board and Sex Offender Community Notification Unit