Rhode Island has a law called the “Good Driver’s Statute (GDS). The “Good Driver’s Statute states that if you have a good driving record in the last three (3) years, meaning you have no moving violations in the last three (3) years, you may qualify to have your ticket dismissed under the “Good Driver’s Statute”(GDS), To use the GDS, you must come to court for the court to review your driving record and determine whether you qualify. If you feel you are guilty of the traffic violation, you may plead guilty and request that your ticket be dismissed upon payment of a $25 surcharge and court costs of $35, for a total of $60. The $25 surcharge is substantially less expensive than the traffic tickets (usually, $85, $95 or more, in some cases).
If you do not feel you are guilty of the traffic violation, you have the legal right to plead “not guilty.” If you plead “not guilty,” you will have a brief “pre-trial conference” with a Municipal Court employee to determine if there are extenuating circumstances such that the ticket can be adjudicated that day (at arraignment); otherwise, you will be given a trial date, at which time you may bring in any witnesses you may have. At that time, the officer you gave you the ticket will be present, along with any witnesses against you, and the court will hold a trial and do its best to render a fair and impartial decision.
In order to qualify for the GDS, you must possess an active/valid license for the last (3) three years. Your record must be clear of any moving violations within the last (3) three years. If you have not had an active driver’s license for 3 years, but your record is clear of traffic violations, the Judge, at her/his discretion, may allow you to perform community service in exchange for a dismissal.
Federal law prohibits dismissal under the “Good Driver’s Statute” (GDS) for those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Likewise, you cannot use the “Good Driver’s Statute (GDS) if the traffic ticket was issued in connection with an automobile accident.
To determine your eligibility to use the “Good Driver’s Statute” (GDS), Pawtucket Municipal Court can obtain driving records from every state with the exception of Connecticut and Florida. Connecticut and Florida drivers must obtain their own driving records prior to their court date, if they wish to request consideration under the GDS.
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