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What are the penalties for a DUI in Rhode Island?

The consequences and penalties of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Rhode Island are stringent and severe. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Rhode Island, you will potentially face significant fines, community service, license suspensions, and possibly even jail or prison time. However, it is important to note that if you are charged with a DUI in Rhode Island, you are not “convicted” of the DUI charge, and presumed innocent until you either plead no contest, plead guilty, or are found guilty after trial.

In most cases, if you have no prior DUI convictions and no one was injured by your vehicle during the arrest, you will most likely not face a jail sentence if convicted. However, certain circumstances can result in a jail sentence, even on a first offense DUI charge. In this case, a first offense DUI is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense in Rhode Island and carries up to a year in jail.

Factors That Impact DUI Penalties in Rhode Island

  • Any policies of the judge or prosecutor
  • The facts of the case
  • Any weaknesses discovered by the defense in the case
  • The DUI defense attorney’s reputation

It is also important to note that there are common aggravating factors, which often cause the prosecutors to pursue a greater sentence than the mandatory minimum. Common aggravating factors include:

  • Having prior DUI convictions
  • An outrageously high blood alcohol content
  • The DUI charge resulted in a motor vehicle accident
  • If anyone was injured as a result of the person driving under the influence
  • A criminal record
  • A driving record that includes a high number of violations

Penalties for a Rhode Island DUI Charge

  • Possible jail or prison sentence
  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Community service
  • Required attendance at a driving school
  • Administrative penalties given by the DMV

These penalties vary depending on the person’s blood alcohol levels and whether they had any prior convictions.

Rhode Island’s First Offense DUI Penalties

The following include the potential penalties you may face if convicted of a first offense DUI in Rhode Island.

BAC Between 0.08 and 0.10

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 30 to 180-day license suspension
  • Up to $800 of fines and costs
  • 10 to 60 hours of public community service
  • Potential driving school and/or alcohol treatment program requirement

BAC Between 0.10 and 0.15 or BAC Unknown

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 3 to 12 months license suspension
  • Up to $800 of fines and costs
  • 10 to 60 hours of public community service
  • Mandatory driving school and/or alcohol treatment program requirement

BAC Over 0.15

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 3 to 12 months license suspension
  • Over $1,200 in fines and costs
  • 20 to 60 hours of public community service
  • Mandatory driving school and/or alcohol treatment program requirement

Rhode Island’s Second Offense DUI Penalties

If a person commits a second offense DUI, they will undoubtedly be given more severe penalties and will be required to serve a mandatory jail sentence if they are convicted. It is important to note, however, that the “prior conviction” would have to be within the past five years and must be a “conviction” according to Rhode Island Law (or under the law of whichever state the DUI took place). In addition, the length of the mandatory jail sentence will depend on the defendant’s blood alcohol content. If the defendant has an experienced defense attorney, they may be able to serve their sentence at home instead of jail.

BAC Between 0.08 and 0.15

  • Mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail but may receive up to 1 year
  • 1 to 2-year license suspension
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Over $1,200 in fines and costs

  BAC Over 0.15

  • Mandatory minimum of 6 months in jail but may receive up to 1 year
  • 1 to 2-year license suspension
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Over $1,750 in fines and costs

Rhode Island’s Third Offense DUI Penalties

BAC Between 0.08 and 0.15

  • Mandatory minimum of 1 year in jail but may receive up to 3 years
  • 2 to 3-year license suspension
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Over $1,200 in fines and costs

BAC Over 0.15

  • Mandatory minimum of 3 years in jail but may receive up to 5 years
  • 3-year license suspension
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Between $1,000 and $5,000 in fines and costs

If you would like to learn more about Rhode Island’s DUI penalties, contact The Law Offices of Howe and Garside at (401) 841-5700. Our experienced and qualified attorneys can help keep you informed and, most importantly, help you achieve the best possible outcome. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Phone: (401) 841-5700
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