Fair warning: Rhode Island drunk driving penalties are stiff

In Rhode Island, driving while intoxicated is a term based on a blood alcohol content reading of 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with driving under the influence with a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.08 percent.

The penalties are significant, and they vary depending on BAC level and the number of offenses. In addition, if a drunk driver is responsible for seriously injuring or killing someone, the DWI or DUI misdemeanor becomes a felony.

Refusing the chemical test

Rhode Island is an “implied consent” state, which means that if you are driving anywhere in the state, you have given your implied consent to take a chemical test to determine your BAC level if asked to do so by a law enforcement official. If you refuse, you may lose your driver’s license for six months, you might have to perform community service and attend either drunk driving school or an alcohol treatment program. A fine for a first offense would be between $200 and $500, plus additional assessment fees of up to $700.

Underage DUI penalties

If you are under the age of 21 and arrested for a first offense DUI, you may have your license suspended for six to 18 months, you will do 10 to 60 hours of community service and pay a Highway Safety Assessment Fee of $500.

Adult DWI penalties

A driver 21 years of age or older may face fines between $100 and $300 with a license suspension of 30 to 180 days. There will be alcohol or drug treatment plus attendance at a class on DWI. Depending on the circumstances, the court could order jail time of up to a year.

The hardship license

If law enforcement arrests you for DUI-DWI, you may gain a whole new perspective on drunk driving penalties in Rhode Island. There is one glimmer of hope, however, concerning the matter of a suspended license. Your criminal defense attorney will work to help you obtain a hardship license, which you can use for specific purposes, such as driving to work, college classes, medical appointments and other necessary trips.

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Nicholas J. Hemond Attorney at Law
1 Turks Head Place, 12th Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-648-6509
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