A basic definition of habitual offender in Rhode Island is any driver who commits three or more major offenses over a three-year span.
Rhode Island does not have a points system in place and thus they rely upon fines and the possibility of license suspensions or revocations to discourage drivers from breaking traffic laws. Without a points system RI has less tolerance for major offenses. Violations such as voluntary or involuntary vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and failure to stop in the event of an accident that causes injury or death result in mandatory and immediate license revocations lasting from one to three years.
The RI laws have set up the designation of a habitual offender to deny the privilege of operating motor vehicles on the highways to persons who, by their conduct and record have demonstrated their indifference for the safety and welfare of others and their disrespect for the laws of the state of Rhode Island.
Chapter 31-40 of the Rhode Island Statutes is titled Habitual Offenders and gives a very detailed description of a habitual offender. Section 31-40-2 defines a habitual offender as any person, resident or nonresident, whose record, as maintained in the office of the RI division of motor vehicles, shows that the person has accumulated the convictions, or findings of delinquency or waywardness in the case of juveniles, for separate and distinct offenses, described in subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of this section, committed within a three (3) year period, provided that where more than one included offense shall be committed within a six (6) hour period the multiple offenses shall, on the first occasion, be treated for the purposes of this article as one offense, provided the person charged has no record of prior offenses chargeable under this article, and provided further that the date of the offense most recently committed occurs within three (3) years of the date of all other offenses the conviction for which is included in subdivision (1), (2), or (3) of this section as follows:
(1) Three (3) or more convictions, or findings of delinquency or waywardness in the case of a juvenile, singularly or in combination, of the following separate and distinct offenses arising out of separate acts:
(i) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(ii) Driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drugs in violation of § 31-27-2;
(iii) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license, permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked in violation of § 31-27-2.1 or chapter 11 of this title;
(iv) Willfully operating a motor vehicle without a license;
(v) Knowingly making any false affidavit or swearing or affirming falsely to any matter or thing required by the motor vehicle laws or as to information required in the administration of the laws;
(vi) Any offense punishable as a felony under the motor vehicle laws of Rhode Island or any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(vii) Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the death or injury of any person to stop close to the scene of the accident and report his or her identity in violation of § 31-26-1; or
(viii) Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to an attended or unattended vehicle or other property in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) to stop close to the scene of the accident and report his or her identity or otherwise reports the accident.
(2) Six (6) or more convictions, or findings of delinquency or waywardness in the case of a juvenile, of separate and distinct offenses, singularly or in combination, in the operation of a motor vehicle which are required to be reported to the division of motor vehicles and the commission of which requires the division of motor vehicles or authorizes a court to suspend or revoke the privilege to operate motor vehicles on the highways of this state for a period of thirty (30) days or more, and the convictions shall include those offenses enumerated in paragraph (1)(ii) of this section when taken with and added to those offenses described in this section.
(3) The offenses included in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this section shall be deemed to include offenses under any valid town or city ordinance paralleling and substantially conforming to the state statutory provisions cited in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this section and all changes in or amendments of them, and any federal law, and law of another state or any valid town, city, or county ordinance of another state substantially conforming to those statutory provisions.
When one is found to be a habitual offender their driving privileges are taken away for a period of not less than one year nor more than five (5) years from the date of the order of the court finding the person to be a habitual offender per RI Statute 31-40-7.
It does not appear that speeding offenses fall into the major offenses that cause one to qualify as a habitual offender. To get more information on the designation of a habitual offender in Rhode Island and if they have any extra penalties for drivers that are convicted of 3 minor moving violations such as speeding tickets within a certain time period contact the RI Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).