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