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Mistake with paperwork could lead to dismissed DUI charges

Dozens of drunk driving cases in the state of Rhode Island are being challenged due to incorrect paperwork at police stations that fail to adequately inform the accused of their rights as DUI defendants. The form in question is called "rights for use at station," and the accused individual uses the form to know what his or her rights are. However, on New Year's Day, new laws went into affect, and some of them dealt with the rights of DUI defendants -- and these rights are not listed on these "rights for use at station" forms.

One of the rights that was left off the form is a defendant's right to apply for a "hardship" license. This allows the person to still drive a vehicle -- though under a probation-like status -- so that they may continue to work while they deal with the DUI. Another piece of information that isn't listed on the form is the fact that an individual may be required to use an ignition interlock as a result of the DUI.

The appeals of these DUI charges say that since the defendants couldn't knowingly consent to the forms due to the lack of correct information, the blood alcohol test results in the case should be thrown out.

Whether these appeals succeed or not is unknown, but this is a nice reminder that the logistic and procedures that surround drunk driving charges are often just as important as the offense itself. The police have to follow the rules too, and when they don't, it could lead to charges being thrown out.

Source: Providence Journal, "Paperwork compromises DUI cases in RI," Katie Mulvaney, May 17, 2015

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