New clients frequently ask if the Rhode Island DUI charge they are facing will result in a jail sentence. For the vast majority of our clients we are able to tell them, with confidence, that as long as they do not get into further legal trouble they will not serve a jail sentence. However, there are always exceptions as every case is judged on its own merits and will be treated differently based on the facts of the case, the prosecutor who is assigned to handle the case, and the judge who ends up hearing the case.
For those individuals who have been charged with a first offense DUI in Rhode Island in which there are no aggravating circumstances, the likelihood of the drunk driving charge leading to incarceration is low. If aggravating circumstances are introduced, the potential for a jail sentence increases. Those aggravating circumstances include a prior DUI (older than 5 years), an extremely poor driving record, an accident resulting from the drunk driving, or extremely high blood alcohol content. Oftentimes with the help of a skilled defense attorney these aggravating circumstances can be effectively mitigated and the odds of serving a jail sentence can be significantly decreased.
With respect to second and third offense DUI charges in Rhode Island, the likelihood of serving a jail sentence upon conviction is extremely high. This is due to the fact that second offense and third offense DUI charges carry mandatory minimum jail sentences. For a second offense DUI charge, the mandatory minimum jail sentence can be from 10 days up to 6 months. For a third offense DUI charge, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 1 year. However, even given the daunting mandatory minimum sentences carried by these charges we can oftentimes mitigate the damage and work to lessen or eliminate the jail sentence altogether.
In summary, for most individuals charged with driving under the influence in Rhode Island a DUI charge will not result in a jail sentence. However, for those charged with DUI's involving aggravating circumstances or second and third offense DUI charges, the likelihood of jail increases substantially. Your best bet to avoid incarceration on any Rhode Island DUI charge is to hire an experienced and skilled attorney to put your best defense forward to achieve the best possible result on your case. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 to discuss your case and act as your legal representative.