Rhode Island has strict laws surrounding convictions for drivers guilty of operating while under the influence (sometimes called a Rhode Island DUI) of either alcohol or drugs. You can be convicted of this offense based on one of two theories. The first theory allows you to be convicted of OUI if your driving is obviously impaired due to the presence of alcohol in your body. This conviction does not require blood alcohol content (BAC) testing. However, you can also be convicted based on the results of your BAC test alone. This type of conviction is found in the state's per se laws, which state that you are OUI if you have a BAC of .08% or higher.OUI Arrests in Rhode Island
After your arrest for OUI, you will face two cases. The first is in the criminal courts. During this case, you will face jail time, fines, community service, and a variety of other punishments. You will want to work with a lawyer to present your case in the best possible light in criminal court.
You will also face an administrative hearing in the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. This hearing will determine how long your licenses suspension will be. Again, you will want a lawyer to help you with this case.
You will be asked to submit to a BAC test after your arrest. You can refuse to do so, but you should know that doing so introduces additional criminal penalties. Talk to your lawyer before deciding whether or not to take the test, if possible.Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
In the state of Rhode Island, OUI convictions vary depending on your circumstances. The level of punishment you will receive is based on the number of previous OUI convictions you have. Potential consequences for first-time offenders include:
Prior OUI convictions are considered as part of your history for a look back period of five years. If you have an OUI conviction on your record that is over five years old, it will not be considered when choosing your consequences. Subsequent OUI convictions carry stricter consequences, including possible jail time.License Suspension for Rhode Island OUI
You will also find that your license is suspended by the Rhode Island DMV as a result of your OUI conviction. Typical license suspension times are as follows:
The cost to have your license reinstated is $50. If you refuse to take the BAC test, you will have at least a 90-day suspension. You could also be required to use an alcohol ignition interlock device after you get your license back. Rhode Island does not allow drivers to have a hardship license while serving their license suspension times.Insurance Consequences
You will also face consequences with your insurance carrier as a result of your Rhode Island OUI conviction. If you choose to keep your insurance while you serve your license suspension, you will find that your cost increases. If you do not keep your insurance, getting new coverage after you serve your suspension will be difficult. You may even find that your current carrier drops you completely.