§ 31-41.1-6. Hearings.
(a) Every hearing for the adjudication of a traffic violation, as provided by this chapter, shall be held before a judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal or a judge of the municipal court, where provided by law. The burden of proof shall be upon the state, city, or town and no charge may be established except by clear and convincing evidence. A verbatim recording shall be made of all proceedings. The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal may prescribe, by rule or regulation, the procedures for the conduct of the hearings and for pre-hearing discovery.
(b) After due consideration of the evidence and arguments, the judge or magistrate shall determine whether the charges have been established, and appropriate findings of fact shall be made on the record. If the charges are not established, an order dismissing the charges shall be entered. If a determination is made that a charge has been established or if an answer admitting the charge has been received, an appropriate order shall be entered in the records of the traffic tribunal.
(c) An order entered after the receipt of an answer admitting the charge or where a determination is made that the charge has been established shall be civil in nature, and shall be treated as an adjudication that a violation has been committed. A judge or magistrate may include in the order the imposition of any penalty authorized by any provisions of this title for the violation, including, but not limited to, license suspension and/or in the case of a motorist under the age of twenty (20), community service, except that no penalty for it shall include imprisonment. A judge or magistrate may order the suspension or revocation of a license or of a registration in the name of the defendant in accordance with any provisions of this title which authorize the suspension or revocation of a license or of a registration, or may order the suspension of the license and the registration of the defendant for the willful failure to pay a fine previously imposed. In addition, after notice and opportunity to be heard, a judge or magistrate may order the suspension of the registration of the vehicle with which the violation was committed, if the defendant has willfully failed to pay a fine previously imposed.
(d) A judge or magistrate may, as authorized by law, order a motorist to attend a rehabilitative driving course operated under the jurisdiction of a college or university accredited by the state of Rhode Island, or the trained personnel of the department of revenue. An order to attend a course may also include a provision to pay reasonable tuition for the course to the institution in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00). The order shall contain findings of fact. Failure to comply with an order of attendance may, after notice and hearing, result in the suspension or revocation of a person's license or registration.
(e) Unless a judge or magistrate shall determine that a substantial traffic safety hazard would result from it, he or she shall, pursuant to the regulations of the traffic tribunal, delay for a period of thirty (30) days the effective date of any suspension or revocation of a driver's license or vehicle registration imposed pursuant to this chapter. However, the regulations may provide for the immediate surrender of any item to be suspended or revoked and the issuance of appropriate temporary documentation to be used during the thirty (30) day period. Any order for immediate surrender of a driver's license or vehicle registration shall contain a statement of reasons for it.
(P.L. 1999, ch. 218, art. 3, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 117, art. 25, § 4; P.L. 2008, ch. 1, § 12; P.L. 2008, ch. 98, § 27; P.L. 2008, ch. 145, § 27; P.L. 2009, ch. 322, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 323, § 1.)