Kent County DUI Lawyer

Defending Rhode Island DUI Cases in Providence, Washington, Newport & Bristol Counties

As in other states, Rhode Island carries severe penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. These penalties are meant to send a message to the public to discourage impaired driving. However, law enforcement can be overzealous in their dealings with drivers in seeking offenders and doing whatever they can to get a conviction.  

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, you may be confused about what to do next or how to defend yourself. You may believe that an arrest and charge will automatically lead to a conviction that you cannot stop. However, that is not the case. Any criminal charge can and should be defended; defenses do exist to these charges but you will need the services of an experienced attorney. At Biafore Law, our Kent County DUI attorney brings 20+ years of experience to this matter.

Arrested for DUI? Reach out to Biafore Law at (401) 244-7433 or contact us online to request your free initial consultation about your case today. 

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DUI Defense in Rhode Island

What Is a DUI in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island General Laws § 31-72-2 concerns driving under the influence. 

It provides that a person commits an offense when they operate or drive a vehicle in the state and they:

  • Are under the influence of liquor, drugs, and/or a controlled substance, or
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.

A person might be alleged to have been under the influence if their normal faculties, such as judgment or motor skills, were impaired to the point that they could not safely operate their vehicle. An officer might have grounds to pull someone over on suspicion of DUI if they notice dangerous driving behaviors like weaving, following too closely, or failing to maintain proper speed.

Even if a person was not displaying unsafe driving behaviors, they could still be charged with a DUI if their BAC was at or above the legal limit. BAC levels are measured by blood, breath, or urine tests.

Traffic Tribunal Appearance for Chemical Test Refusal

Under Rhode Island General Laws § 31-27-2.1, individuals who drive in the state and are arrested on suspicion of DUI have given their implied consent to be subject to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine whether alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance was in their system. An individual can refuse to provide a specimen, but the refusal has consequences.

The Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal will hear matters concerning chemical test refusals. A magistrate will determine whether reasonable grounds existed to believe the person was driving under the influence, was arrested, and refused the blood, breath, or urine analysis. If the magistrate decides that the person failed to submit to the test, they may immediately suspend the individual’s driver’s license.

The person may also be subject to the following penalties:

  • First violation:
    • $200 to $500 in fines
    • 10 to 60 hours of public community restitution
    • 6 months to 1 year of driver’s license suspension
    • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence course
    • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • Second violation within 5 years:
    • Up to 6 months of incarceration
    • $600 to $1,000 in fines
    • 60 to 100 hours of public community restitution
    • 2 years of driver’s license suspension
    • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • Third or subsequent violation within 5 years:
    • Up to 1 year of incarceration
    • $800 to $1,000 in fines
    • At least 100 hours of public community restitution
    • 2 to 5 years of driver’s license suspension
    • Alcohol or drug treatment

What Are the Penalties for a DUI?

The punishments a judge can impose upon a DUI conviction vary depending on the driver’s BAC level and criminal history.

First offense (misdemeanor):

  • BAC of 0.08% or more but less than 0.1% or the presence of any controlled substance
    • $100 to $300 in fines
    • 10 to 60 hours of public community restitution 
    • Up to 1 year of incarceration
    • 30 to 180 days of driver’s license suspension
  • BAC of 0.1% or more but less than 0.15%
    • $100 to $400 in fines
    • 10 to 60 hours of public community restitution
    • Up to 1 year of incarceration
    • 3 months to 1 year of driver’s license suspension 
    • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances course
    • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • BAC of 0.15% or more or under the influence of a drug or controlled substance
    • $500 in fines
    • 20 to 60 hours of public community restitution
    • Up to 1 year of incarceration
    • 3 to 18 months of driver’s license suspension
    • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance course
    • Alcohol or drug treatment

Second offense within 5 years (misdemeanor):

  • BAC of 0.08% or more but less than 0.15% or the presence of any controlled substance
    • Mandatory fine of $400
    • 10 days to 1 year of incarceration
    • Driver’s license suspension for 2 years
    • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • BAC of 0.15% or more or under the influence of a controlled substance
    • Mandatory fine of $1,000
    • Mandatory incarceration for 6 months to 1 year
    • Mandatory driver’s license suspension for 2 years
    • Alcohol or drug treatment

Third or subsequent offense within 5 years (felony):

  • BAC of 0.08% or more but less than 0.15% or the presence of any controlled substance
    • Mandatory fine of $400
    • 1 to 3 years in prison
    • Driver’s license suspension for 2 to 3 years
    • Alcohol or drug treatment

Third or subsequent offense within 10 years (felony):

  • BAC of .15 or more or under the influence of a controlled substance
    • Mandatory fine of $1,000 to $5,000
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 3 to 5 years
    • Mandatory license suspension of 3 years
    • Alcohol or drug treatment 

Additionally, a conviction for any DUI offense comes with a highway assessment fine of $500 and an $86 fee.

By fighting your charge, you can seek to avoid or minimize the conviction punishments. Speak to our Kent County DUI lawyer at Biafore Law to discuss your legal options.

  • “Attorney Biafore took the time to explain things to me and never got frustrated with my lack of legal knowledge and the many questions I would ask.”
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Biafore Law Is Here To Help

Call us today at 401-244-7433 or fill out our form to schedule a free consultation.

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