Rhode Island DUI /DWI Lawyers

Rhode Island DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Rhode Island law requires you to take up to two blood, breath, or urine tests if you are arrested for an OUI. Rhode Island’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been operating under the influence, then you consent to taking one or two chemical tests of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). The test or tests must be taken as soon as possible from when you were last driving and the officer gets to choose which ones you take.

If you have a medical or religious reason that prevents you from taking a blood test, then you need to plan ahead. First, you must file an affidavit, explaining why you can’t take the test, with Rhode Island’s division of motor vehicles. Then, this agency will put a notation on your license that will let an arresting officer know that you do not have to take a blood test. This does not excuse you from the other tests, however.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Rhode Island?

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Jail Up to 1 year 10 days to 1 year 1 to 5 years
Fines and Penalties $100 to $500 $400 to $1,000 $400 to $5,000
License Suspension 2 to 18 months 1 to 2 years 2 years min.
ID Required No Yes Yes

First Offense DUI in Rhode Island

A first DUI in Rhode Island conviction carries both criminal and administrative penalties; however, as seen in most states, the applicable criminal penalties are often applied at the discretion of the courts. Rhode Island employs a sliding scale for punishments, with higher BAC’s at time of arrest incurring more severe mandatory minimum license suspensions and fines. The following articles addresses only issues related to first DUI for adults with a private driver’s license, and in turn, minors, commercial drivers, and other penalties, such as suspensions under implied consent laws, may be applicable.

  • First offense DUI in Rhode Island results in administrative license suspensions, which are applied based on the BAC of an offender at time of arrest. BAC up to .10 results in at least thirty (3) day license suspension, BAC up to .15 results in at least three (3) month license suspension, and BAC above .15 results in at least three (3) month license suspension with possibility of suspension of eighteen (18) months
  • Refusals to submit to BAC testing under implied consent laws results in automatic license suspension of six (6) month license suspension, fines, and mandatory community service
  • Ignition interlock devices, unless specifically ordered by courts, are not prerequisite to license reinstatement, but attendance at DUI school most likely will be

Second Offense DUI in Rhode Island

The penalties for a second DUI in Rhode Island are established in Section 31-27-2 of the state’s statutes. These laws provide for fines, imprisonment and installation of an ignition interlock device on an offendor's vehicle.

Rhode Island prescribes different penalties for second time DUI offenders based on the amount of alcohol in the offender’s blood. An offender with less than .15% of a blood-alcohol concentration is subject to at least ten days and no more than a year in prison and a fine of $400. An offender with more than .15% of blood-alcohol concentration is subject to no less than six months and no more than one year in prison and a mandatory fine of $1,000.

In either situation the court can also require an ignition interlock device, which would prevent the offender from driving while under the influence of alcohol, installed on the offender’s car for two years and participation in an alcohol treatment program.

Third Offense DUI in Rhode Island

A Rhode Island driver charged with a third DUI within five years (the "lookback" period) faces severe administrative and felony criminal penalties.

Criminal penalties are those parts of your sentence which require you to pay financial fines or serve jail terms. For a third offense DUI in Rhode Island, the penalties are as follows:

  • A fine of $1000 to $5000 at the maximum.
  • A prison sentence that can range anywhere between one to three years.
  • The judge may decide for the defendant to forfeit his vehicle, or it could be seized and sold off by the state.

Rhode Island classifies a third DUI offense as a felony.

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