The Rhode Island DUI Guide

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State of Rhode Island

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 Driving While Revoked After Revocation

 

 

 

 

 

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site is under construction; do not rely upon this information 

 

I just got arrested for a State of Rhode Island DUI charge.  What happens next?

 

ISSUE ONE:  The Rhode Island Implied Consent / Administrative License Revocation Proceeding:  Under Rhode Island law, any person who operates any vehicle in the State of Rhode Island is considered to have given consent to the withdrawal of his or her blood or other bodily substance and chemical analysis of the person's blood, breath, or other bodily substance to determine the amount of alcohol in the person's blood and to determine the presence of marijuana or any controlled drug or substance or any substance ingested, inhaled, or otherwise taken into the body or any other substance that may render a person incapable of safely driving.  This is known as Rhode Island's implied consent law. 

 

Pursuant to Rhode Island's implied consent law, your Rhode Island drivers license (or your right to drive in Rhode Island if you're not a Rhode Island licensed driver) was most likely revoked for anywhere from one year if you refused a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test.  This typically starts on the 120th day following your arrest. 

 

Read your paperwork carefully.  If you act within 120 days, you can request a hearing from the secretary of public safety to challenge your proposed administrative revocation.  If the secretary of public safety finds that the police officer complied with the law and the refusal was made, the secretary will revoke your license to drive and (or your right to drive in Rhode Island if you did not have a valid Rhode Island license at the time of your arrest).

 

Speak to your Rhode Island DWI attorney for more information about contesting your administrative (implied consent) license revocation. 

 

 

ISSUE TWO:  The Rhode Island DUI Criminal Case:  Separate from the administrative license proceeding is the criminal charge either for driving under the influence (DUI).  Under Rhode Island law, you may not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while:

(1) There is 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in your blood as shown by chemical analysis of your breath, blood, or other bodily substance (sometimes known as a per se DUI);

(2) You are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, or any controlled drug or substance not obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any combination of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, or such controlled drug or substance;

(3) You are under the influence of any controlled drug or substance obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any other substance, to a degree which renders you incapable of safely driving; or

(4) You are under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and or any controlled drug or substance obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any other substance, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving.

If you are under twenty-one years of age, it is unlawful to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of any vehicle:

(1)  If there is physical evidence of 0.02 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person's blood as shown by chemical analysis of the person's breath, blood, or other bodily substance; or

(2)  After having consumed marijuana or any controlled drug or substance for as long as physical evidence of the consumption remains present in the person's body.

Important:  The implied consent / administrative license revocation proceeding and the criminal DUI case are completely separate from one another. 

 

Will my Rhode Island driver license be suspended or revoked?

 

RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your Rhode Island driver license (or your right to drive in Rhode Island if you do not have a valid Rhode Island license) may be revoked in the implied consent proceeding for refusing a chemical test for alcohol and / or drugs.  This revocation is for one year. 

 

Again, you may challenge this proposed suspension / revocation in an administrative hearing this revocation if you make a timely hearing request.

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  If you are convicted of the DUI charge, your Rhode Island license (or your right to drive in Rhode Island if you don't have a valid license) for between 30 days and three years depending on your DUI / DWI history.

 

What happens if I get caught driving while my license is revoked?

 

Driving while your license is revoked for a test refusal or a DUI conviction should be avoided, as it is a separate criminal offense.  If you have more than one DUI conviction in the past 10 years, and you are convicted of driving after a revocation, you face mandatory jail time.

 

I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted license / work permit / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?

If you're convicted of the DUI charge, the court has the discretion to authorize limited driving privileges for the period of your revocation.  If granted, these privileges generally allow you to operate a vehicle for purposes of employment, sobriety testing, school attendance, and for counseling programs.

 

If you're revoked for refusing a breath test, the secretary of public safety may authorize you to drive for employment purposes.

What is the difference between a DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI etc.?

 

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the crime commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime.  For example, in Iowa the acronym OWI (operating while impaired / intoxicated) is used; New York, Texas and other states use the term DWI (driving while intoxicated).  Rhode Island law refers to: driving under the influence (DUI) and actual physical control (APC). 

 

Is a DWI offense in Rhode Island a misdemeanor or felony charge?

In Rhode Island, a first or second DUI conviction within a 10 year period is a misdemeanor charge.  If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within a 10 year period, it is a felony offense.

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Rhode Island DUI / Aggravated DWI charge?

 

Upon conviction of an Rhode Island drunk driving offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties.  A range of penalties is set forth below: 

 


Rhode Island DUI PENALTY CHART

CONVICTION TYPICAL PENALTIES
FIRST DUI
Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • fine of under $1000;
  • if BAC is 0.17% or more, alcohol evaluation;
  • jail possible, not required;
  • license revocation of 30 days to one year.
SECOND DUI
(second offense within past ten years)
Class 1 Misdemeanor

  • fine of under $1000;
  • if BAC is 0.17% or more, alcohol evaluation;
  • zero to 10 days jail;
  • license revocation of one year.

THIRD DUI
(third offense within past 10 years)
Class 6 Felony

  • fine of under $2000;
  • significant jail time;
  • substance abuse treatment;
  • license revocation of one year.
FOURTH DUI
(fourth offense within past 10 years)
Class 5 Felony
  • substantial fine;
  • substantial jail time;
  • substance abuse treatment;
  • license revocation of two years.
Note 1:  The critical look back period for prior convictions in Rhode Island is ten years.
Note 2:  A third conviction within the past 10 years is a felony crime.

Will my defense lawyer be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Rhode Island DUI / APC charge down to another (lesser) offense?

Possibly.  Unlike some states, there is no anti-plea bargaining statute in the State of Rhode Island.  A Rhode Island DUI charge may be reduced or dismissed only if the prosecuting attorney states the reasons for reduction or dismissal in writing and on the record and files the reasons with the clerk of court.

Will a Rhode Island DUI / DWI conviction go on "my driving record?"

Yes.  A DUI / APC conviction will go on your Rhode Island driving record and remain indefinitely.

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI in Rhode Island?

The amount of jail time received will depend on a number of different factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

•  your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any DUI's / DWI's outside of Rhode Island);

•  your level of intoxication / blood alcohol content;

•  whether there was an accident / collision involved;

•  whether there was injury (especially serious injury) to another person;

•  which Rhode Island county or court your case is in;

•  which judge sentences you;

•  whether there was a passenger especially a child in your car;

•  whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility.

 

I am licensed to drive in a state other than Rhode Island and I was cited for a DUI / APC in Rhode Island.  Will my driver license be revoked or suspended?

Rhode Island only has the authority to revoke your right to drive in the State of Rhode Island.  However, Rhode Island and 44 other states and Washington D.C. have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Rhode Island will report a driving under the influence conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  Your home state will then generally take action to suspend or revoke your drivers license.

This also works in reverse.  If you are a Rhode Island licensed driver and you are convicted of a DWI / OWI / DUI in another state, Rhode Island will suspend or revoke your license if it learns of your conviction. 

Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?

 

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition system.  In order to start the vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the IID which then measures alcohol concentration.  Rhode Island does not currently require the installation of ignition interlock devices in vehicles driven by DUI drivers.

What will a Rhode Island DUI do to my ability to keep my liability insurance?

If your insurance company finds out about your DUI conviction one of two things are likely to happen.  Either your Rhode Island insurance company will raise your rates or your policy may be cancelled or not renewed.  Your insurance company will learn of your DUI if you have to file an SR-22.

What is an SR-22 Filing?

An SR-22 is a certificate of proof of financial responsibility (liability insurance) submitted by an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of Rhode Island.  Rhode Island requires an SR-22 filing for any DUI conviction.  The form must be kept on file for three years.  Failure to maintain the SR-22 will result in the revocation or re-revocation of your driver license or driving privileges

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get an Rhode Island DUI?

 

Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Rhode Island DUI convictions and implied consent license revocations.  Learn more about the FAA requirement here.

I missed my DUI criminal court appearance.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a Rhode Island court appearance, bad things happen.  At a minimum, the Rhode Island court typically issues a summons or warrant for your arrest (sometimes known as a bench warrant).  You may also face a new, additional criminal charge.  Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.  Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled for you.

Can I represent myself in court on my Rhode Island DUI or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have an absolute constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including an Rhode Island DUI charge.  Keep in mind that Rhode Island DUI defense is a complicated area of the law as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you definitely should apply for a court appointed attorney.  You have no right to court appointed counsel at any administrative license revocation hearing.

 

Websites, including this one, provide general Rhode Island DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create an attorney / client relationship.  General information cannot replace legal advice about your case, criminal charge, or situation.  Consult qualified Rhode Island Drunk Driving attorneys for advice about any specific problem or Rhode Island drunk driving charge that you have.  Rhode Island attorneys are governed by the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way.  No attorney associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way. 

 

Providing drunk driving (DUI) and criminal defense representation to the communities of:  Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, Warwick, East Providence, North Providence and Providence County.  Beat a DUI.  What happens after a RI DUI.  Rhode Island lawyers may accept credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express. 

 

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