We are pleased to announce a successful ruling made in the appeal of a chemical test refusal conviction on behalf of one of our Clients. Our Client had been charged with a chemical test refusal by the Burrillville Police Department in October of 2013. The case proceeded to trial at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. At trial, we vigiously argued that our Client had been unlawfully arrested without probable cause and the evidence used against him should have been excluded from introduction into evidence because it was obtained in violation of his statutory and constitutional rights.
In August of 2017, at the second appellate level the Court has agreed with our arguments and issued a ruling that our Client was unlawfully arrested without probable cause. Moreover, the Court today ruled that the evidence obtained in violation of his constitutional rights should be suppressed and excluded from introduction into evidence.
In a broader context, the ruling is extremely important. Magistrate Ippolito's ruling now means that in the prosecution of all chemical test refusal cases at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, evidence obtained in violation of a Motorist's constitutional rights should be excluded from introduction into evidence. This is a major change. The typical understanding and rationale of most Traffic Tribunal Judges and Magistrates was that the exclusionary rule did not apply to civil traffic violations. The decision today reverses that thinking.
To read the decision of the Sixth Division District Court, follow this link: https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/districtcourt/DistrictDecisions/16-45.pdf