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Rhode Island: The DUI laws and penalties you should know

You didn't think you had too much to drink at dinner, but you see the cop car behind you and its flashing lights. Were you weaving? Do you have a light out? You're not sure. After a few moments talking to the officer, you realize you're being accused of being intoxicated.

If you get accused of driving under the influence, it's important to defend yourself. If you don't, you could face serious punishments that may have been avoided with the right defensive options. For example, you could lose your license temporarily if you are accused and convicted of drunk driving. Taking steps to prevent the conviction or to lower the charge can help.

In Rhode Island, a DUI can be charged against anyone who is driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Bicycles are also considered to be vehicles, so if you're riding home after a party or going to or from the bar while intoxicated, you can be stopped. The police may also give a person a DUI charge if they believe that you are under the influence of a chemical substance that has made it impossible for you to safety operate a vehicle. A DUI can be used to describe situations with alcohol abuse, drug abuse or other substance abuse while driving a vehicle.

Penalties in Rhode Island vary significantly. Some include fines, community service and incarceration. If this is your first offense, you may think that you can go to substance abuse classes and to fulfill other requirements in order to have your case dismissed. That's not true in Rhode Island, however, because the state does not have diversion programs that allow the charge to be dropped.

Source: FindLaw, "Your Providence DUI Case: The Basics," accessed July 13, 2017

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