If you hold a Massachusetts drivers license, navigating a Rhode Island DUI case can be extremely difficult. Typically, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will not take action on your Massachusetts drivers license while your Rhode Island DUI case is still pending. The exception to this general rule is if your privileges to operate in Rhode Island have been suspended at the Traffic Tribunal based on a chemical test refusal charge arising out of the same incident.
But, if you are facing just a DUI charge Massachusetts will generally not take any action until your case is over. Depending on the outcome of your case and your prior history, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the RMV may take action on your license in MA independent of and apart from any action that Rhode Island may order.
What this means is that regardless of the penalties imposed on a Rhode Island DUI charge, if the case results in a DUI conviction that information will be conveyed to the MA RMV and will result in additional penalties being imposed in MA.
If you have no prior history and are convicted of a first offense DUI charge in Rhode Island, the MA RMV will typically impose the penalties imposed in MA OUI cases. This means that the 24D Program penalties will be imposed on a MA licensed driver in addition to the penalties imposed by the Rhode Island Court. The 24D program penalties require the completion of a 16 week drug and alcohol education program which must be paid for by the motorist. Additionally, the MA RMV will suspend your privileges for 45 to 90 days regardless of what the Rhode Island Court imposes as a penalty. Moreover, they will not reinstate your license upon the completion of the 45 to 90 days unless you have satisfied all the conditions of the Rhode Island license suspension and reinstated your privileges.
If you have a prior DUI or OUI on your record, the consequences of a Rhode Island DUI conviction are much more severe. Even if you are charged with a first offense DUI in Rhode Island (because it is your first offense within the last five years), the MA RMV has a lifetime lookback period. This means that you could hypothetically be convicted of a first offense DUI charge in Rhode Island and take extremely low penalties yet be penalized in MA as a multiple offender. If you have one prior conviction in your lifetime, the MA RMV will make you complete the 24Q program which requires a 14 day in-patient treatment program and a two year license suspension. Lastly, if you have two prior convictions then it is likely that the MA RMV will suspend your license for 8 years.
Therefore, prior to resolving your Rhode Island DUI case it is extremely important to understand the ramifications to your Massachusetts drivers license. Going it alone or hiring an inexperienced lawyer in this complex area of the law can cause significant hardship down the line. We have represented hundreds of individuals charged with DUI in Rhode Island who hold Massachusetts drivers licenses at the time of their arrest. We employ a number of strategies and work closely with our clients to minimize the impact of the MA RMV. Moreover, we strive to ensure that our clients are fully informed of all of the potential consequences of the resolution of any DUI case, especially when it comes to your drivers license. In some cases, the best course of action is to go to trial to attempt to defeat the charge knowing how high the stakes are.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Rhode Island and you hold a Massachusetts drivers license, you likely have questions about what will happen to your license and what is the best way to resolve your case. Contact us today for a no obligation strategy session to discuss how we can help guide you through the process and protect both your rights and your drivers license. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or via email at [email protected].