DUI/OUI Laws in Rhode Island

Laws and penalties for DUI/OUI in Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, you can get a DUI (driving under the influence, also known as OUI, operating under the influence) if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. And the law in Rhode Island says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Rhode Island and other details about Rhode Island DUI/OUI law.

(For an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit, see our BAC chart.)

In Rhode Island, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI/OUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Rhode Island, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

6 month license suspension, 10-60 hours community service, $200-$500 fine

1 year license suspension, 60-100 hours community service, $600-$1,000 fine, possibly jail

1 year license suspension, 60-100 hours community service, $600-$1,000 fine, possibly jail

In Rhode Island, when do police have to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In Rhode Island, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC at the time of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI/OUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for minors in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 is .02%. Persons under 21 with BAC greater than .02% but less than .1% can be convicted of "driving while impaired" (DWI) and have their license suspended for 1-3 months (first offense), 3-6 months (second offense), plus fines and community service. Persons under 18 have mandatory license suspension until age 21.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI/OUI in Rhode Island?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI/OUI in Rhode Island, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum required jail term

10 days jail

1 year jail

How long will prior DUI/OUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, prior DWI/OUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for 5 years.

Can a DUI/OUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Rhode Island?

For someone who's accused of drunk driving in Rhode Island, it's possible to "plea bargain" for a lesser charge. When such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it's sometimes called a "wet reckless."

(Learn more about plea bargaining in Rhode Island DUI cases and the consequences of a reckless driving conviction.)

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI/OUI offenders in Rhode Island?

Yes, for second and subsequent offenses. Period of use: 1-2 years for a second offense; 2 years for third and subsequent offenses.

Where can I get more information about DWI/OUI laws in Rhode Island?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DWI/OUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Rhode Island DWI/OUI attorneys in your area.

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