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Beautiful colonial towns and many attractions make Rhode Island a visually-pleasing state. When you want to get somewhere and are in a hurry, it's possible that you begin to drive too fast. Such a mistake can cost you! You are increasing the odds that you receive a speeding ticket. At least make sure you use your turn signals when changing lanes! Make no mistake: Rhode Island takes road safety seriously, and has even set a new record for highway safety in 2015.

Speeding Laws

Rhode Island follows a “presumed” or “prima facie” law, under which going over the speed limit in some Rhode Island roads is legal, provided that you are driving safely. This, of course, is dependent on weather and traffic conditions, so it is sometimes better to not take a chance, and just stay within the posted speed limits. For many people, driving 5 to 15 mph over the speed limit is sensible since the cars can handle and so can they. It just depends on the situation.

On the other hand, you can also be handed a speeding ticket in Rhode Island if you were driving within the limit but the conditions were deemed unsafe for you and other motorists. An example of such a scenario is if you happen to be driving down the road while the weather is hazardous (rainstorm, fog, etc.) or the traffic is slow and heavy and you are deemed to be driving too fast for these conditions. Here is an overview of the speed limits in the state:

  • During daytime outside business or residential districts: 50 mph
  • During night time outside business or residential districts: 45 mph
  • Within business or residential districts: 25 mph
  • School zones: 20 mph

Rhode Island does not follow a point system for traffic violations

Rhode Island is one of the states that does not follow a point system, but still every traffic violation gets recorded on your driving record. You risk getting your driver’s license suspended or even revoked if you record too many violations in a determined time, and harsher penalties with every consequent traffic violation. So this is no time for any Tokyo Drift driving!

Fines

The fine for traffic violations in the state are determined according to the nature of the offense:

  • As a first-time speed limit violator, going up to 10 miles over the limit will have you face a penalty of $85.
  • Driving 11 miles or more over the speed limit includes an additional $10 per mile (over).

These fines will go higher with every offense. Moreover, you will also have to bear court costs as well. So if you are not making Chris Pine or Mark Walhberg money, you may want to take it easy!

Paying your fine

You have many ways to pay a traffic ticket fine in Rhode Island, which includes using the mail, online, in person, or on the phone. If you have been given a ticket under a municipal court’s jurisdiction, you have to contact that particular court to know about your fine payment options.

The exact amount of fine is mentioned on your ticket, but it is important to remember that it must be paid within 20 days. The failure to do so may lead to additional fines and other penalties, including the risk of getting your driver’s license suspended. And you do not want to have to rely on public transportation. That is terrible!

What are the consequences if found guilty of speeding in RI?

Before you rush to pay the fine for speeding just because you want to get the matter over as soon as possible so you can focus on watching the Patriots and/or Yankees losing in the playoffs or not making the playoffs, you should know that paying up means that you are admitting to your guilt. This means you face similar consequences as those who are proved guilty if a traffic violation in court.

The possible consequences include violations being noted on your driving record (which may lead to higher auto insurance rates and even license suspension). According to the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles, a driver with 3 or more offenses within 3 years is marked as a habitual offender, which results in suspension of the driver’s license for 1-5 years. Moreover, the state provides information about traffic ticket convictions regularly to other states. So trying to run off to another state like Ellis Boyd ‘Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman) ran off to another country in The Shawshank Redemption is just not a winning plan.

Options

The following are the options for motorists who have received a speeding ticket in Rhode Island:

  • Plead guilty and pay the fine

Many drivers choose this option simply because it seems like the easier way out, but this ticket will stay on your driving record for the next three years. That is about as often as Al Gore invents something that changes humankind, like the Internet did!

  • Request a dismissal with a good driving record

You can plead guilty and ask for dismissal of the charges against you under the “good driving statute” per Rhode Island General Law § 31.41.1-7. To choose this option, you must have no moving violations on your record within the last 3 years and also appear in court for the hearing. However, you are required to pay the fines and court costs.

  • Fight the speeding ticket

If you wish to contest, you will need to submit a “not guilty” plea by appearing in court on the date of your arraignment and request for a trial. You will need to visit either a local municipal court or the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.  Having a qualified traffic lawyer in such a situation can be helpful as he/she can request the police department to alter the speed on your ticket to a lower one. This can bring down your total fine amount and any time you are able to keep more money in your bank account is a fantastic thing.

Whichever route you choose to take, seeking advice from a traffic lawyer is always an astute idea.  If you would like to talk to some lawyers about your case, you can use the BernieSez system for free. Simply upload your speeding ticket details, and lawyers will contact you about your case. Whether you choose one or decide not to go with a legal representative, it’s completely your call!  Click or tap the button below to get started.