Rhode Island OUI charges are prosecuted using one or both of two methods. Violation of Rhode Island’s drunk driving laws may be proven by demonstrating that the driver is mentally or physically impaired by consuming alcohol or drugs, or by showing that the driver drove a vehicle in Rhode Island with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. If you’ve been arrested in Rhode Island it’s important to contact a skilled attorney right away to protect your rights.
Rhode Island OUI laws are some of the strictest in the northeast. (Rhode Island OUI is the most popular drunk driving acronym, which stands for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs.) An OUI conviction in Rhode Island will result in a variety of Rhode Island drunk driving consequences.
Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem if you, or someone you care about, have been arrested for DUI, OUI, or other alcohol-related offenses.
Rhode Island OUI charges are prosecuted using one (or both) of two methods. Violation of Rhode Island’s drunk driving laws may be proven by demonstrating that the driver is mentally or physically impaired by consuming alcohol and/or drugs, or by showing that the driver drove a vehicle in Rhode Island with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher in violation of Rhode Island’s “per se” laws.
Rhode Island OUI prosecutions that relate to the driver being under the influence of alcohol will typically attempt to prove the Rhode Island drunk driving was under the influence of alcohol or drugs by introducing evidence of an impaired driving pattern, poor performance on the standardized field sobriety tests, signs and symptoms of the driver such as red and watery eyes and slurred speech, and chemical test results. All of these, alone and in combination, are used by the government to attempt to show that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and that there was mental or physical impairment as the result of consuming alcohol or other drugs. This type of charge relates entirely to the condition of the driver as being impaired.
Rhode Island OUI prosecutions on the “per se” theory do not consider whether or not the driver was impaired. This law is violated by showing that, at the time of driving, the Rhode Island OUI suspect had a blood or breath alcohol content of .08% or higher. It is not necessary to prove that the drunk driving suspect was impaired. This is a theory of DUI that is based only on body chemistry.
Rhode Island OUI enforcement techniques to apprehend Rhode Island DUI drivers include blanket patrols, publicized enforcement campaigns, the use of standardized field sobriety tests, and mobile videotaping. Historically, sobriety checkpoints have not been utilized in Rhode Island OUI cases. Each of these Rhode Island drunk driving enforcement techniques presents opportunities for a skilled drunk driving defense attorney. For example, standardized field sobriety tests are only valid if the FST’s are administered in the prescribed, standardized manner, and if standardized clues are used to interpret the OUI suspect’s performance; if any of these elements are changed, the validity of the field sobriety test is compromised. An experienced OUI defense lawyer will be able to readily demonstrate how the arresting officer varied from the way in which the tests are supposed to be administered, and therefore, unreliable to demonstrate impairment if not entirely inadmissible in court.
Refusing to take the chemical test following an arrest for Rhode Island OUI or DUI carries its own criminal penalty, which can include fines, community service, license suspension, OUI educational classes, and other sanctions. The prosecutor may seek to introduce evidence of the refusal as consciousness of guilt.
Rhode Island OUI convictions are priorable, which means that if the accused has suffered a prior conviction for a similar crime, or commits a similar crime in the future, the punishment will be increased. Rhode Island has a “washout” or “lookback” period of 5 years, meaning that if the prior offense is more than 5 years old, it will not count for purposes of enhancing a current OUI or drunk driving charge.
Most Rhode Island DUI charges are misdemeanors; however, a third-offense OUI within 5 years is a felony. Additionally, Rhode Island OUI penalties are enhanced for DUI convictions where the blood or breath alcohol level (BAC) is .15% or higher.
Rhode Island OUI / DUI punishment includes fines, jail (or jail alternatives, if handled by a knowledgeable OUI defense lawyer), community service, alcohol education programs, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device being installed in each car the Rhode Island OUI offender has access to.
Rhode Island OUI convictions also result in separate Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles license suspensions. Rhode Island OUI / DUI license suspensions are 90 days for a first offense, 3 years for a 2nd offense within 10 years, 5 years for a 3rd offense within 10 years, and 7 years for a 4th offense within 10 years. Obviously, the length of these suspensions makes it paramount that anyone who stands accused of a Rhode Island OUI charge consults with a Rhode Island drunk driving defense lawyer immediately.
Rhode Island is a participating state in the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which shares information regarding drunk driving arrests and convictions between states. Therefore, a DUI or OUI conviction from another state may be treated as a prior conviction for purposes of Rhode Island OUI laws.