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DUI & Breathalyzer Refusal

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DUI & Breathalyzer Refusal


The Southern Rhode Island towns of Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Bristol, Narragansett, and North and South Kingstown are DUI hotspots due to their low crimes rates, college student and tourist populations, and litany of bars and restaurants.  Given the number of arrests each year, it is a safe bet that sooner or later you will be stopped. 


Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP knows your rights and we are here to help you. Rhode Island is one of the nation’s leaders in the numbers of drunk-driving fatalities, and the General Assembly and the police have been working over-time to change that reputation. As a result, new laws and drastically increased penalties have been created.  While the General Assembly’s goal was to keep drunk-drivers off the streets, its actions have resulted in massive financial hardships for the accused and an infringement on the rights of the innocent. 




In DUI/DWI and Refusal cases, the stakes are high and the deck is stacked against you.  The attorneys at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP are uniquely positioned to help you obtain the justice you deserve.   You need experienced and aggressive lawyers by your side.  We have helped hundreds of clients survive their DUI/DWI and Refusal charges.  We have experience as both prosecutors and public defenders so we know DUI/DWI and Refusal laws inside and out, and we’re not afraid to do what must be done.  We use our vast resources, experience and skills to help you when you need it most.  You should have Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP on your side! 




Driving under the influence (DUI), often called “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), is a crime in all states, but the specific laws and penalties vary greatly from state to state. That is why it is important to know your rights. DUI/DWI and Refusal charges are amongst the most complicated charges with some of the most severe penalties.  That is one reason why you should get the help you need by calling Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP. 




You could be convicted for DUI/DWI for driving under the influence of any substance—not just alcohol! For example, certain cold medications can increase your blood alcohol content (BAC).  Your blood alcohol content, or blood alcohol concentration, is calculated by dividing the amount of alcohol in the blood by the total amount of blood in the blood stream at any given time. It is often detected using a breathalyzer. As of 1999, the legal BAC for drivers over 21 is .08 BAC. 




The penalties for drunk-driving can be catastrophic to one’s life and career. Not only do you face embarrassment and shame from friends and family, but you face going to prison.  For example, for a first offense you can be sentenced to one year in jail.  Additionally, depending on the BAC level, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 18 months.  Again, depending on the BAC level, a second offense can require a mandatory 6 months to serve in prison.  Even with no jail time, a suspended or revoked license limits your ability to get to work, and can cost you your job and career. Meanwhile the costs and fines of a DUI/DWI conviction keep piling up. Get help you need, now, with Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP. 




You might also be familiar with the term “operating under the influence” (OUI), a phrase commonly used in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, “operating” can mean more than just driving a car. It can include everything from running heavy machinery to sitting in a parked car. That’s right! You can be asleep in your own car, parked on the street in front of your house and you can still be arrested for operating under the influence! 




No.  These tests are optional, there’s no penalty for not doing them and therefore, it is usually a terrible idea to perform these tests.  The field sobriety tests are highly scientific, and most people “fail” without even realizing it.  Generally, if the officer asks you to take these tests, he’s already decided to arrest you, and he’s just looking for more evidence to obtain a DUI/DWI conviction.  You don’t need to help him do that by taking these tests. 




No, but refusing to do so may have harsh penalties.  Rhode Island has what is called “implied consent.” This means that whenever you dive a motor vehicle you have given your implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, your implied consent can be withdrawn at anytime.  Doing so typically results in being charged with a Refusal, and the punishment can be considered more severe than for a DUI/DWI conviction. First-time offenders can have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to one year. A second charge can result in 6 months of jail and a 2 year license suspension.  In some cases, drivers risk losing their licenses for five years and can spend up to a year in prison. All of this not even stemming from an actual DUI conviction, but from simply refusing the breathalyzer test!

Can you afford this?  Can anybody?  Get the help of Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP. As tough, smart attorneys we will fight for your rights. 




You may have been arrested based on the results of junk science and inaccurate evidence. No breathalyzer is 100% accurate. Unfortunately many people are unduly prosecuted because the breathalyzer produces inaccurately high BAC readings. Moreover, even if your test for blood alcohol comes back below the legal limit you can still be convicted based on other evidence, as observed by a police officer. This is because prosecutors, police and state troopers are generally so anxious to show they’re tough on crime that innocent people can be unjustly punished. 




If you are a first-time offender in Rhode Island, DUI/DWI and Refusal laws can be scary and intimidating, especially if this is your first experience dealing with the law in any form. You certainly want to avoid a criminal conviction or jail time, but you are not sure what to do. Contact the law offices of Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP today at 401-849-3040.

Blog for DUI & Breathalyzer Refusal

Library for DUI & Breathalyzer Refusal:

  • A New Bill To Revamp Rhode Island Expungements   
    In a reverse of course, the Rhode Island Attorney General is now in favor of expunging the criminal records of defendants who have entered into a deferred sentence agreement after 5 years. This is slightly surprising (and a tad bit ironic) because it was the same Attorney General who opposed this just a few years ago. The new bill would restore the practice that had been occurring in Rhode Island courts before the Supreme Court's decision in State v. Briggs.
  • Did You Know? Facts About DUIs.   
    DUI and Breathalyser Refusal charges can get your driver's license suspended.
  • Driving Under the Influence in Rhode Island   
    An overview of Rhode Island's Driving Under the Influence laws.
  • Learn About Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.   
    Drivers in Rhode Island stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) should not take the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests at the police officer's request because doing so provides the probable cause for the arrest.
  • Penalties For Refusing A Chemical Test in Rhode Island   
    In Rhode Island every licensed driver has given his/her consent to submit to a chemical test at the request of a police officer if the officer reasonably suspects the driver of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This is known as Rhode Island’s implied consent law.
  • DUI Alcohol Impairment Chart   
    The following Alcohol Impairment Chart, adopted in the California Driver’s Handbook, provides an approximation of an anticipated Blood Alcohol Concentration based upon the amount of alcohol consumed. This chart is not and does not claim to be 100% accurate because people absorb and eliminate alcohol at varying rates.
  • What to Do If The Police Stop You For DUI [PDF]   
    If you are stopped by the police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you need to know your rights. In this article, attorney Michael Robinson explains why you should never perform field sobriety tests.

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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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343 Main St # C Wakefield, RI 02879
Phone: (401) 789-1616
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