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Rhode Island Public Records

Rhode Island Public Records

Accessing public records in Rhode Island, depending on the type of records you are looking for, is protected by law and is a very straightforward process. Because of this, there is a fairly standard procedure depending on what you are looking for. Many records are available online, but access to them is limited overall. Because of this, it’s best to see what is the best procedure to access records by contacting the offices below directly.

Rhode Island Public Records Laws

The General Laws of Rhode Island in Section 38-2 detail the wide level of access given to public records in the state of Rhode Island. The rights of persons or agencies to obtain records of actions that involve government agencies and the public, from court records to criminal and arrest records are generally protected within the statutes of Rhode Island law, with the exception listed in 38-2.3.16, which in certain cases allows public agencies to deny access for reasons which surround the general welfare of the state. With that exception in mind, access to Rhode Island public records is fairly easy and straightforward, depending on what you are looking for.

Rhode Island Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

Rhode Island has a fairly straightforward, but heavily localized, procedure for arrest records. Depending on which town or municipality you are looking in, you can also call and get arrest logs from the local police department; some of these are available online.

In terms of criminal records and background checks, the Rhode Island District Attorney’s Office allows businesses with a signed consent form to gain access to background checks (known as BCI’s) for a nominal fee of $5 per background check. These checks, however, are specifically limited to the state of Rhode Island. For a national background check (which is required for many job positions) you would have to go through the office of the Attorney General or Rhode island State Police, and there is a fee of $35.

Rhode Island Jail and Inmate Records

Inmate Records for Rhode Island are available online, and can be found on the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Website. For those looking for a loved one, this gives all the information someone needs to know. For crime victims trying to keep tabs on an offender out of concern for the possibility of retaliation, VINElink is a website that makes use of a national database to notify victims by phone of where inmates are being kept as well as custody changes if and when they occur.

Rhode Island Court Records

Rhode Island Court Records are accessed through the state’s judiciary. Court records go through the Rhode Island Judiciary and you can actually visit online and get records for cases and the status of the particular court process. You can search either by name or docket number if you have that available.

It is important to note that remote access to these records online is limited to those directly involved in a case, attorneys, and law enforcement agencies. If you’d like county court records, it’s a good idea to go down to the county courthouse where access to these records is provided at a terminal for a nominal fee.

Contact information for the state court administrator can be found at the Rhode Island Supreme Court website.

Rhode Island Vital Records

Vital records can be gotten from the Rhode Island Department of Health, which has a division of Birth, Death, and Vital Records. Each county has a division where this information can be obtained, either in person or by mail. The Department of Health Website contains a list of county offices where records can be obtained, as well as fees and other information.

  • Updated September 11, 2018
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