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Newport DUI Defense Law Blog

Lose a loved one in a fatal offshore accident? Help is available

Rhode Island is home to a gorgeous coastline and beautiful waterways. Needless to say, boating activities are a common occurrence in this state. Unfortunately, boating accidents do occur on occasion, and those who have lost a loved one in a fatal offshore accident may wonder if they have any legal recourse.

Boating laws are different than driving laws, but this doesn't excuse boaters who exhibit reckless behavior from facing any consequences for their actions. It is possible to be charged for boating accidents that are caused due to negligent behavior. Apart from any criminal charges filed in association with reckless boat usage, victims of that negligent behavior retain the right to pursue civil claims in an effort to recoup any financial losses suffered as a result.

'Boater's fatigue' and what it means in a BUI case

Imagine that you go out on the lake with your speedboat, or you take to the seas with your boat. It's a sunny, beautiful day -- but a bit windy. While you're out there, you enjoy a beer or two. This isn't out of the ordinary in many boating trips for many people, but on this day, the influence the alcohol has over you feels stronger than ever before.

Eventually you are "pulled over" by the authorities and accused of boating under the influence. You try to explain that your seemingly erratic boating was caused by a number of factors, but the authorities don't want to hear it.

Teen arrested for drunk driving, released on bond

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about the varying charges and penalties related to driving under the influence charges in the state of Rhode Island. In that post, we talked about the "zero tolerance" blood alcohol limit for those who are underage. That limit is 0.02 (much lower than the normal 0.08 limit), and it appears than a teenager in Rhode Island has committed this offense.

The 19-year-old was driving his car when the vehicle overturned. Police on the scene administered field sobriety tests, and the teenager was arrested for driving under the influence. He was soon released on bond, though he now has a serious legal situation on his hands.

What a DUI expungement can do for you

Many people may not know about, or even heard about, criminal expungements. When an expungement is granted to someone, it means that the individual's criminal history is effectively hidden from view. The record still exists, mind you, so that it can be referenced in case of other criminal offenses -- but the charge won't show up in background checks.

This is a huge gift for many people who have a criminal charge, such as a driving under the influence offense, because, in a way, it gives them a chance to start over. Having a criminal history disrupts a person's ability to find living arrangements, suitable work and even lines of credit. Obscuring these crimes so that the individual has a chance to rebuild his or her life is an important step.

Man sued for causing boat collision while drunk

While the following story did not occur here in Rhode Island, it serves as an important reminder to people who enjoy going out on the lake with their boat -- and maybe enjoying a drink or two during the ride. And that reminder is this: don't do it.

A husband and wife are suing a man who hit their boat with his boat last year while he was intoxicated. The man at fault had a 36-foot speedboat while the married couple was in a 17-foot boat that was part of a pack of fishing boats. The collision occurred on Lake Michigan, and it left the wife with a head injury and the man with multiple minor injuries. However, their harm has lingered for a year, and now the married couple is suing the man for boating while intoxicated.

Drunk driving is a mistake, and you have to defend yourself

Let's say that you go out to your local establishment with a few friends on a Thursday night. You and your buddies have been doing this for many months. Every couple of weeks or so, you get together to have a couple of drinks and just catch up. You've never had a problem with this, and every happy hour you've been to before this one, you've always enjoyed two drinks and then a glass of water.

You drive home a couple of hours later and all is well. You never wavered on the road. There was never any indication you were intoxicated at all. In fact, you suspect that, at worst, you would have registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.03 or 0.04 on a breath test. In actuality, it may have been different -- but to you and, objectively, to the world around you, you were not driving drunk.

Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

Drunk driving is treated like a terrible crime, and in some ways, that's understandable. Obviously the act of getting behind the wheel when you are not sober is negligent, and the person responsible for such an act shouldn't have done it. However, this doesn't mean these individuals aren't entitled to their defense, nor does it mean they don't have a case. In addition, compared to other actions that people perform while driving, drunk driving leads to extremely excessive punishment.

A prime example of this is drowsy driving. Did you know that people who are drowsy cause at least 100,000 motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? And yet drowsy driving isn't met with hefty fines, jail time, loss of license or some sort of ignition device.

Firefighters save 1 in fatal boating accident

Usually when you hear about a boating accident, you don't expect there to be any good news in the story. Even in the following story, this is only partially true -- but the heroism displayed by some firefighters to save the life of a man whose boat capsized is something to savor in regards to boating accidents.

The boat capsized off of Staten Island in New York, where two men -- and 84-year-old and an 82-year-old -- were fishing. Unfortunately, the 84-year-old man died in the boating accident. But the 82-year-old man was saved by firefighters after a nearby boat saw the capsize happen and called in a "mayday."

Under Rhode Island law, what are the penalties of a DWI?

It may not seem like it, but there are many different types of DWIs under Rhode Island law -- and the penalties associated with the offenses vary as well. So what are the types of DWIs in Rhode Island and what are the penalties associated with them?

To begin, Rhode Island considers a person to be driving while intoxicated if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.08. But there are two other ways that someone can get a DWI or DWI variant. If you are underage, there is a "zero tolerance" measure that mandates a DWI if you have a BAC that exceeds 0.02. There is also an enhanced (or aggravated) DWI that comes into effect if any driver has a BAC that exceeds 0.15.

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