Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and Municipal Court
When an individual is pulled over and receives a traffic summons in Rhode Island, this means the person is charged with a civil violation. A traffic summons can sometimes be paid by mail, but often requires a court appearance at either the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal “RITT” or a Municipal Court.
RITT is the state version of traffic court, whereas Municipal Court is an individual town or city’s version of traffic court. Whether the person is required to go to RITT or a Municipal Court depends on what police department issues the summons and what violations are charged against the motorist. Rhode Island General Laws specify the jurisdiction for both RITT (§ 8-8.2-2) and the Municipal Courts (§ 8-18-3).
Issuing Police Department
RITT hears and has exclusive jurisdiction over all tickets issued by state agencies such as:
- Rhode Island State Police “RISP”
- Rhode Island Department of Transportation “DOT”
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management “DEM”
- Board of Governors for Higher Education
RITT will hear or preside over tickets for parking, standing, or stopping in areas under the jurisdiction of said agencies, as well as speeding and other moving violations charged by them against motorists.
Twenty-eight (28) cities and towns in Rhode Island have their own Municipal Courts and their police officers may issue tickets for their respective Municipal Courts.
However, there are numerous civil violations that may be heard at both the Municipal Courts and RITT. Under this circumstance, it is up to the issuing police officer to determine where or in which court the Summons will be heard.
RITT hears and has exclusive jurisdiction over all probationary license hearings as provided in § 31-10-26. Rhode Island General Law § 8-18-10 also provides RITT with exclusive jurisdiction over numerous violations, including the following:
- § 31-3-1. Operation of unregistered vehicle.
- § 31-8-2. Operation of vehicle when registration canceled, suspended, or revoked.
- § 31-8-3. Improper use of evidences of registration or certificate of title.
- § 31-12-3 Obedience to police officers
- § 31-20-12 Stopping for school bus required
- § 31-25-13. Axle load limit.
- § 31-25-4. Maximum height.
- § 31-25-5. Maximum length of single vehicle and load.
- § 31-27.1 Aggressive Driving