A lot of people enjoy going out with their friends to have a few drinks. Choosing to get behind the wheel after drinking, though, can mean trouble. Not only is it dangerous to you and everyone else on the road, but you could also face harsh, long-lasting penalties if you are charged with a DUI.
What is the legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) level?
Rhode Island is serious about preventing drinking and driving. Anyone with a BAC of at least 0.08% could be charged with a DUI. Penalties for a DUI are partially based on BAC, so a higher BAC level could mean harsher penalties.
If a minor is caught drinking and driving, they can face a DUI if their BAC is 0.02% or higher.
What are the penalties for a DUI?
The more times you have been charged with an offense, the harsher the DUI penalties. However, even first-time offenders may deal with severe consequences.
DUIs always involve fines, though the amount will depend on your individual circumstances. You can also have your license suspended for at least a month, or often longer. This can significantly impact your life by limiting your ability to get to work, shop, drive kids to school or any other responsibilities you need to do.
Even first-time offenders potentially face jail time. Your sentence could last up to a year. In addition to losing that time to work and care for your family, your future career or opportunities could be impacted. It could create difficulties if you are ever seeking a job in certain fields, such as transportation or child care, and some employers take any mark on a criminal record seriously.
If someone is injured or killed in an accident while you are driving under the influence, these penalties greatly increase in severity.
How can an attorney help me?
You may believe you can fight a DUI charge on your own or maybe you plan to just plead guilty and accept the consequences. However, it may be wise to consult an attorney about your situation.
In a DUI case, an attorney may be able to drop the charges against you or reduce your penalties to preserve the best quality of life possible for you. Attorneys understand the complexities of the legal system and can build a strong defense for your case. For example, they may be able to show that a breath test was administered incorrectly and showed incorrect results.
Attorneys also have lots of experience with DUI charges. They see these situations every day. While you may be facing a first-time DUI and are unsure what you should do next, an attorney can explain the next steps and discuss what course of action makes the most sense for you.
If you face a DUI, do not give up hope. You have options to improve your circumstances and you do not have to fight charges alone.