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DUI & DWI in Rhode Island

Arrested for a DUI or DWI?

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Rhode Island takes a hard stance against drunk driving. The state's stringent laws and penalties are based on age and blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. It's important to remember the following points:

  • Any DWI resulting in death of another person is considered a felony.
  • "Implied Consent" means that any driver behind the wheel of a vehicle gives the state permission to administer a breathalyzer exam.

The state defines driving while intoxicated (DWI) as any driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The law is less tolerant for drivers under 21 years old who can be charged with DUI - driving under the influence - for a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%.

Penalties for Drivers 21 and Older

If you are 21 years old or older, you face the following penalties for DWI.

In addition to those listed below, you also face the possibility of a Highway Safety Assessment fee of $500, an $86 fee, and possible enrollment in a driving school and/or an alcohol treatment program.

1st offense - BAC between 0.08 and 0.10%:

  • Fined $100 to $300.
  • Suspended license for 30 to 180 days.
  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • At the discretion of the court, serve 10 to 60 hours of community service.

1st offense - BAC between 0.10% and 0.15%:

  • Fined $100 to $400
  • 1 year in jail
  • 10 to 60 hours of community service
  • Suspended license 3 to 12 months

2nd offense within 5 years - BAC between 0.08% and 0.15%:

  • Fined $400
  • Suspended license for up to 2 years
  • Anywhere from 10 days to 1 year in jail
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock system for up to 2 years

3rd offense within 5 years - BAC between 0.08% and 0.15%:

  • Felony charge
  • Mandatory $400 fine
  • 1 to 3 years in jail
  • 2 to 3 years of license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to 2 years after sentence is completed

1st offense - BAC of 0.15% or higher:

  • Fined $500
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 20 to 60 hours of community service
  • Suspended license 3 to 18 months
  • Mandatory participation in a special course on DWI and/or drug treatment

2nd offense within 5 years - BAC of 0.15% or higher:

  • Fined $1,000
  • Jail for 6 months to 1 year
  • Suspended license for 2 years

3rd offense within 5 years - BAC of 0.15% or higher:

  • Fined $1,000 to $5,000
  • Jail for 3 to 5 years
  • Suspended license for 3 years
  • At the discretion of the judge, the violator's vehicle may be seized and sold by the state

1st offense - DUI resulting in death:

  • Jail sentence 5 to 15 years
  • Fined $5,000 to $10,000
  • Revoked license for 5 years

Breath Test Refusals

1st offense:

  • Fined $200 to $500
  • Community Service for 10 to 60 hours
  • Suspended license 6 months to 1 year
  • Pay a $200 fee to support the department of health's chemical testing programs

2nd offense within 5 years:

  • Fined $600 to $1000
  • Suspended license 1 to 2 years
  • 60 to 100 hours of community service
  • Mandatory alcohol or drug treatment
  • Pay a $200 fee to support the department of health's chemical testing programs

3rd offense within 5 years:

  • Fined $800 to $1,000
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • License suspended 2 to 5 years
  • Mandatory 100 hours or more of community service
  • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • Hearing to determine whether license may be reinstated
  • Pay a $200 fee to support the department of health's chemical testing programs

Penalties for Drivers Under 21

Under 18 years old - 1st offense - BAC of 0.02% to 0.10%:

  • Suspended license 6 to 12 months
  • Must enroll in a DWI course and/or an alcohol treatment or education program
  • Hghway assessment fine of $150, or community restitution

Under 18 years old - 2nd offense - BAC of 0.02% to 0.10%:

  • Suspended license until 21 years old
  • $150 highway assessment fine or community restitution
  • Alcohol/drug treatment
  • DWI course

18 - 21 years old - 1st offense - BAC of 0.02% to 0.10%:

  • 30 hours of community service
  • A fine of up to $250
  • Suspended license for 1 to 3 months
  • Class on DWI
  • Enrollment in an alcohol treatment education program

18 - 21 years old - 2nd offense - BAC of 0.02% to 0.10%:

  • Fined $250 in addition to a $300 highway assessment fee
  • 60 hours of community service
  • Suspended license 3 to 6 months
  • Must enroll in a course on DWI and in an alcohol treatment program

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