DUI charges are a serious criminal offense in Rhode Island and in any state across the U.S. Upon conviction, you face severe, life-altering consequences in the form of fines, license suspension, community service, alcohol/substance abuse counseling or DUI classes, and possible jail time. Consulting with an experienced attorney is the best way to minimize the consequences you face and any negative impact the conviction will have on your life. For more information when facing a DUI in Rhode Island, read the information below. 

Penalties for a DUI in Rhode Island

The penalties you face for a DUI in Rhode Island will largely depend on whether or not it’s your first, second, or third offense. The consequences increase greatly depending on how many times you have received a DUI. If it’s your first offense, you face up to one year in prison and fines ranging from $100 to $500. If no one was injured as a result of the DUI, it’s unlikely you’ll receive jail time for a first offense, however it’s still a possibility. Your license can also be suspended for anywhere between two and 18 months. An Ignition Interlock Device is not required after your first offense.

For your second DUI arrest, you face between 10 days and one year in jail and fines between $400 and $1,000. Your license may be suspended for one to two years. You are also required to use an Ignition Interlock Device for your second offense.

For a third DUI arrest, you face one to five years in jail and $400 to $5,000 in fines. Your license may be suspended for a minimum of two years. Ignition Interlock Devices are also required for those who receive a third offense.

Other penalties for a DUI in Rhode Island include community service, required attendance in a safe driving school, and administrative penalties imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

BAC in Rhode Island

How much do you have to drink in order to receive a DUI in Rhode Island? The determining blood alcohol content (BAC) will depend on your age and other factors. For those under 21 years of age, anyone with a BAC greater than .02% but less than .1% can be convicted of “driving while impaired” and have their license suspended for anywhere between one to three months for a first offense. For a second offense, your license will be suspended for three to six months. There are also fines and community service that come along with DUI offenses. If you’re under 18-years-old, it is mandatory for your license to be suspended until age 21.

If you’re 21 years or older, you need a BAC greater than .08% to be convicted of a DUI. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, the BAC level cannot be greater than .04%.

Refusing a Chemical Test in Rhode Island

There is an implied consent law in the state of Rhode Island. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will be subject to a fine and an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. The consequences will vary depending on how many DUIs you have received.

For your first offense and a refusal to take the chemical test, your license can be suspended for six months or longer. You will also be subject to 10-60 hours of community service and fines ranging from $200 to $500.

For your second offense and refusal to take the test, your license will be suspended for one year. You will also be subject to 60-100 hours of community service, $600 to $1,000 in fines, and possible jail time.

For your third offense and refusal to take the test, your license will be suspended for two to five years. You will be required to complete 100 hours of community service, have to pay $800 to $1,000 in fines, and possible jail time.

DUI Penalties Based on Offense and BAC

The penalties you face for a DUI will depend on a number of factors, including how many offenses you’ve had and your BAC. We have included potential penalties below so you know what you could be facing.

First DUI Offense + BAC Between .08% and .10%: You face up to one year in jail, license suspension of 30 to 180 days, fines up to $800, 10 to 60 hours of community service, and possible enrollment in a driving school or alcohol treatment program.

First DUI Offense + BAC Between .10% and .15%: You face up to one year in jail, license suspension of three to 12 months, fines up to $800, 10 to 60 hours of community service, and mandatory enrollment in a driving school or alcohol treatment program.

First DUI Offense + BAC Unknown: You face up to one year in jail, license suspension of three to 12 months, fines up to $800, 10 to 60 hours of community service, and mandatory enrollment in a driving school or alcohol treatment program.\

First DUI Offense + BAC Greater Than .15%: You face up to one year in jail, license suspension of three to 12 months, fines over $1,200, 20 to 60 hours of community service, and mandatory enrollment in a driving school or alcohol treatment program.

First DUI Offense + Blood Test Results Indicating Drug Impairment: You face up to one year in jail, license suspension of three to 12 months, fines over $1,200, 20 to 60 hours of community service, and mandatory enrollment in a driving school or alcohol treatment program.

For a second DUI offense, you are required to serve a mandatory jail sentence if you’re convicted. To qualify for a prior conviction, the previous DUI needs to have been within the past five years.

Second DUI Offense + BAC Between .08% and .15%: You face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, but could be sentenced to up to one year. Your license may be suspended for one to two years, you’ll be required to attend alcohol or drug treatment, and you’ll face fines over $1,200.

Second DUI Offense + BAC Greater Than .15%: You face a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, but could be sentenced up to one year. Your license may be suspended for one to two years, you’ll be required to attend alcohol or drug treatment, and you’ll face fines over $1,750.

To be charged with a third DUI in Rhode Island, you need to have been convicted of two criminal DUI charges within the preceding five years. If you have, your third DUI offense is considered a felony criminal offense.

Third DUI Offense + BAC Between .08% and .15%: You face a mandatory minimum of one year in jail, but could be sentenced up to three years. Your license may be suspended for two to three years, you’ll be required to attend alcohol or drug treatment, and you’ll face fines over $1,200.

Third DUI Offense + BAC Greater Than .15%: You face a mandatory minimum of three years in jail, but could be sentenced up to five years. Your license may be suspended for three years, you’ll be required to attend alcohol or drug treatment, and you’ll face fines between $1,000 and $5,000.

Don’t Drink and Drive

The best thing is to never drink and drive to avoid any possible DUI convictions. However, if you or someone you know is convicted of a DUI, please contact my office for a free consultation.