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RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE BLOG

Can you refuse a Preliminary Breath Test in Rhode Island?

Posted by Matthew Marin | Jul 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Generally, there are two types of breath tests that can be requested of you by a police officer in Rhode Island. The police can ask you to submit to a roadside breath test. The breath test on the roadside is referred to as a preliminary breath test. The police can also ask you to take a breath test back at the police station. The breath test at the police station is referred to as a chemical test. 

While not typically fully or effectively explained, the roadside (or preliminary) breath test is administered prior to the investigating officer making an arrest determination. By law the preliminary breath test can only be used for establishing probable case to make an arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence. It cannot be admitted into evidence or presented to the jury in the motorists trial on a DUI charge.

Legally, you are required to submit to a preliminary breath test if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. If you refuse to submit to the preliminary breath test, you will be cited with the civil traffic violation “refusal to submit to a preliminary breath test.” Unlike the charge “refusal to submit to a chemical test,” the penalties for refusing to submit to a preliminary breath test are minor and do not carry a license suspension. If convicted, the Court can impose a $85 fine for refusing to submit to a preliminary breath test. This penalty is in stark contrast to the massive penalties (6-12 month license suspension, large fines) that can be imposed upon an individual convicted of refusing to submit to a chemical test.

In summary, as a motorist you are legally obligated to submit to a preliminary breath test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer who has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence in the State of Rhode Island. If you are requested to take a preliminary breath test and you refuse, you will be subject to an $85 fine but you will not face the likelihood of a license suspension based on this violation.

If you have further questions or you have been cited for refusal to submit to a preliminary breath test, contact Attorney Matthew Marin today for experienced and aggressive DUI representation throughout the State of Rhode Island. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or via email at mm@matthewtmarin.com.

About the Author

Matthew Marin

My name is Attorney Matthew Marin. I have dedicated my career to defending those charged with criminal offenses throughout Rhode Island. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a criminal offense, we understand that are likely in an unfamiliar situation that can be extremely intimidating and even paralyzing. You may feel as if you do not know where to turn or who to ask for help. Fortunately, you have come to the right place to begin your search for answers and a successful resolution to your situation. We have extensive experience assisting thousands of clients facing drunk driving charges, domestic violence charges, and drug charges throughout Rhode Island.

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Attorney Marin Named A Super Lawyers Rising Star Three Consecutive Years 2014-2016

Attorney Matthew Marin was named a Rhode Island Rising Star by Super Lawyers for 3 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2016. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.


Rhode Island Member of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorney Marin is a Rhode Island General Member of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.

NCDD National College for DUI Defense: Matthew Marin