DWI/OUI Laws in Rhode Island

Laws and penalties for DWI/OUI in Rhode Island.

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In Rhode Island, you can get a DWI (driving while intoxicated, 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 DWI/OUI law.

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

Here are the minimum jail times for a DWI/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 DWI/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 DWI/OUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Rhode Island?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer to help you with a plea bargain, you can find a DUI/OUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DWI/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.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

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