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What Happens If You Refuse A Blood Or Breath Test In Rhode Island?

Almost everyone understands the dangers of driving while under the influence. If you are under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, you have markedly impaired reaction times behind the wheel and can put other people on the road, including the other people in your car, in grave danger. For this reason, there is a strict blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 for people behind the wheel. If you test over this limit while operating a motor vehicle, will be charged with driving under the influence. People who are suspected of driving while under the influence are often tested either via breathalyzer, urine test, or blood test to determine a person's BAC level. What happens if people refuse to take these tests in Rhode Island?

You've already agreed to be tested

In Rhode Island, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer under the suspicion of driving while under the influence, you are presumed to have given your "implied consent" to take a test of your breath to determine your BAC level. The U.S. Supreme Court, however recently ruled that without a warrant, police cannot take your blood or urine.

What if I have a medical or religious objection to these tests?

If you have a reason to refuse certain tests, you will need to provide advance notice. This involves submitting an affidavit to the Rhode Island DMV that justifies your reasonable refusal to take a certain test. If approved, this will be noted on your license.

What if I refuse to take the test?

If you refuse to take these tests, you can wind up facing stiff penalties. For refusing to take a BAC the first time, the penalty is a suspension of your driving privileges for six months. You will also be required to perform community service and face a fine that can amount to hundreds of dollars. If you refuse to take the test on subsequent encounters, you will face even stiffer penalties that can amount of longer license suspensions, greater amounts of community service, and larger fines that can reach up to $1,000 dollars. You may even face jail time.

It's usually not in your best interest to refuse a test

The penalty for anyone convicted of driving while under the influence in Rhode Island is similar to the penalty for refusing to consent to a BAC test. In addition, any prosecutor can effectively use this refusal against you in a court of law, arguing that your refusal to take a test means that you knew you were driving under the influence. Whatever your circumstances, every person facing a BAC test or a conviction for DUI should hire an experienced attorney for assistance. These are serious charges with consequences that mandate the attention of a legal professional.

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