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Driving Under the Influence in Rhode Island

Drunk driving is a serious offense that has serious repercussions throughout our community.  Each year, about 50% of Rhode Island’s traffic fatalities are alcohol related.  This is one of the reasons that Rhode Island has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in New England.

A first offense can carry a maximum penalty of a $500 fine, 60 hours of community service and a year in prison.  In addition to these penalties, the court may require that you attend a drunk driving school or alcohol treatment.  The state will assess an additional $500 highway assessment fine.  Finally, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 18 months.

Rhode Island’s first offender penalties are divided into three sections, depending on the offender’s blood alcohol level (BAC).  If the BAC is between 0.08 and 0.10, the maximum penalty fine will be $100-400, with 10-60 hours of community service, the possibility of drunk driving school, up to 45 days of license suspension, and the $500 highway assessment.

If the first time offender’s BAC is between 0.10 and 0.15, the fine will be $100-400, with 10-60 hours of community service, a 3-12 month license suspension, drunk driving school, a $500 highway assessment, and the possibility of up to one year in prison.

If the first time offender’s BAC is greater than .15, then the maximum penalties listed above will apply.

Second offenders with a BAC between .08 and .15 will receive a $400 fine, 10 days to a year in prison, a 1-2 year license suspension, the $500 highway assessment, and may have an ignition interlock device placed on their care for up to two years.

Second offenders with a BAC greater than .15 will face a fine of at least $1000, 6 months to a year in prison, two years of license suspension, the $500 highway assessment, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device for up to two years.

Finally, third offenders face felony charges.  The third offender will receive a $400 fine, 1-3 years in prison, and a 2-3 year license suspension.

But the costs of a DUI do not stop there.  Following a DUI, your insurance rates will go up, likely by a couple thousand dollars.

The best decision you can make is not to drink and drive.  But, if you have already made this mistake, don’t make another mistake by representing yourself in court.  Sayer Regan & Thayer are experienced in handling Rhode Island drunk driving cases and can help you correct your mistake and move on with your life.


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Sayer Regan & Thayer LLP
130 Bellevue Avenue, Unit 2
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 849-3040
Fax: (401) 849-4330
Toll Free: (866) 378-5836
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South County Office
343 Main St # C Wakefield, RI 02879
Phone: (401) 789-1616
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