No, you do not automatically lose your license for a DUI in Rhode Island. In Rhode Island, you will never automatically lose your license after being arrested and charged with DUI in RI. At a minimum, you will keep your drivers license until you appear in Court at your first court date.
Depending on the charges and the severity of the charges, you may have your license suspended when you appear in Court for the first time. The Police Department, however, cannot revoke or suspend or take your drivers license.
If you are charged strictly with a criminal DUI charge in which you submitted to chemical testing, in most cases you will retain your drivers license and privileges to operate until your case is resolved. In certain limited circumstances (multiple offenses, severe injury resulting), the Court may place limitations on your operating privileges or suspend your license even on a first offense DUI charge.
The District Court has limited authority to impact your driving privileges at the outset of a criminal case because of the Constitutional rights bestowed on individuals facing criminal charges. These rights include the presumption of innocence and the requirement that the State prove the criminal charges by the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt prior to the imposition of criminal penalties.
On the other hand, if you are charged with a criminal DUI charge as well as a traffic violation for refusing to submit to a chemical test in most cases the Judge at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal will issue an order of preliminary suspension of your license at your first traffic court appearance. This preliminary suspension will remain in effect until your traffic court case has been resolved.
The Judge at the Traffic Tribunal has statutory authority to revoke your license pursuant to Rhode Island's implied consent law in conjunction with the chemical test refusal statute. By driving on the roadways of the State of Rhode Island, you have impliedly consented to chemical testing by law enforcement authorities. If you are properly requested to submit to chemical testing by law enforcement authorities and you refuse, the chemical test refusal law provides for an immediate suspension of your privileges to operate upon submission of the proper paperwork to the Court from the arresting police department. As long as that paperwork is submitted to the Court by the Police at your first appearance, the Judge at the Traffic Tribunal is required by law to suspend your drivers license.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with DUI and possibly a chemical test refusal charge, contact Attorney Matthew Marin for experienced legal advice and representation. We are available 24/7 to discuss your case and provide detailed recommendations to help navigate your legal issues. Call us at 401-228-8271 or contact us via email at [email protected].