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RHODE ISLAND DUI PENALTIES AND SENTENCING

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Rhode Island. When you are arrested and charged with DUI (driving under the influence) you potentially facing severe consequences in the form of fines, license suspension, community service, and possibly jail. When you are charged with a DUI in Rhode Island, you are presumed innocent and are not “convicted” of the DUI charge until you either plead guilty, plead no contest, or you are found guilty after trial.

Am I going to Jail for my Rhode Island DUI charge?

Generally speaking, if you have no prior convictions for DUI and no one was injured by your operation of a motor vehicle during this arrest it is unlikely that you will be facing a jail sentence if convicted. However, in certain circumstances even first offense DUI charges can result in a jail sentence. A first offense DUI in Rhode Island is a misdemeanor criminal offense and carries up to one year in jail.

What factors impact Rhode Island DUI penalties?

A number of factors typically impact any sentence handed down on a Rhode Island DUI charge. These factors can commonly include:

  • The facts of the case
  • Any particular policies of the Judge or Prosecutor
  • Any weaknesses uncovered by the Defense in the case
  • The reputation of the DUI defense attorney

There are also a number of common aggravating factors which are typically identified by prosecutors for enhanced punishment and can often cause the prosecutors to recommend a sentence greater than the mandatory minimum. These aggravating factors include:

  • Having prior DUI convictions (even if it is outside the 5 year period for a second offense)
  • Having an exceptionally high blood alcohol content
  • If the DUI charge was the result of a motor vehicle accident (even if a single car accident)
  • If anyone was injured as a result of the vehicle's operation
  • Having a “bad” criminal record (even if not DUI related)
  • Having a “bad” driving record including a high number of moving violations

What are the penalties for a Rhode Island DUI charge?

The penalties for Rhode Island DUI charges include the following:

  • Possible jail sentence
  • License Suspension
  • Fines
  • Community Service
  • Attendance at a Safe Driving School
  • Administrative Penalties Imposed by the DMV

The above-referenced Rhode Island DUI penalties are in the form of ranges. The ranges depend upon the level of your blood alcohol content (if you submitted to a chemical test) and whether or not you have a prior conviction.

First Offense DUI Penalties in Rhode Island

If you are charged with a first offense DUI in Rhode Island, you are potentially facing the following penalties if convicted. It is not a foregone conclusion that if you are charged with a DUI that you will be convicted and will receive the penalties listed below. These penalties are listed so that you know what you are potentially facing.

First Offense DUI – BAC Between 0.08 and 0.10

  • Up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 30 to 180 Days
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Nearly $800
  • 10 to 60 Hours of Public Community Service
  • Possible Enrollment in a Driving School and/or Alcohol Treatment Program

First Offense DUI – BAC Between 0.10 and 0.15

  • Up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 3 to 12 Months
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Nearly $800
  • 10 to 60 Hours of Community Service
  • Mandatory Enrollment in a Driving School and/or Alcohol Treatment Program

First Offense DUI – BAC Unknown

  • Up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 3 to 12 Months
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Nearly $800
  • 10 to 60 Hours of Community Service
  • Mandatory Enrollment in a Driving School and/or Alcohol Treatment Program

First Offense DUI – BAC Greater than 0.15

  • Up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 3 to 12 Months
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Over $1,200
  • 20 to 60 Hours of Community Service
  • Mandatory Enrollment in a Driving School and/or Alcohol Treatment Program

First Offense DUI – Blood Test Results Indicating Drug Impairment

  • Up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 3 to 12 Months
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Over $1,200
  • 20 to 60 Hours of Community Service
  • Mandatory Enrollment in a Driving School and/or Alcohol Treatment Program

To Read the Full Statute Click the Link Below: R.I. General Laws 31-27-2

Second Offense DUI Penalties in Rhode Island

The penalties for a second offense DUI in Rhode Island are much more severe than the first offense penalties and require the defendant to serve a mandatory jail sentence if convicted. However, to qualify as a “prior conviction” the case needs to have been within the past five years. Moreover, it has to be a “conviction” under Rhode Island law (or under the law of the State in which the offense took place). The length of the mandatory minimum jail sentence depends on the level of the defendant's blood alcohol content. With the assistance of a skilled DUI defense lawyer, it may be possible to serve the mandatory jail sentence through home confinement instead of a sentence at the ACI.

Second Offense DUI – BAC Between 0.08 and 0.15

  • Mandatory Minimum 10 Days in Jail, but up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 1 to 2 Years
  • Mandatory Alcohol and/or Drug Treatment
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Over $1,200

Second Offense DUI – BAC Greater than 0.15

  • Mandatory Minimum 6 Months in Jail, but up to One Year in Jail
  • License Suspension of 1 to 2 Years
  • Mandatory Alcohol and/or Drug Treatment
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Over $1,750

Third Offense DUI Penalties in Rhode Island

If you are charged with a third offense DUI in Rhode Island, you are in serious need of the assistance of a Rhode Island DUI lawyer. To properly be charged with a third offense DUI in Rhode Island, you need to have been convicted of two criminal DUI charges within the preceding five years. If you have been convicted of two DUI charges within the prior five years, your third offense DUI charge is a felony criminal offense which will ultimately be handled in the Rhode Island Superior Court.

Third Offense DUI – BAC Between 0.08 and 0.15

  • Mandatory Minimum 1 Year in Jail, but up to Three Years in Jail
  • License Suspension of 2 to 3 Years
  • Mandatory Alcohol and/or Drug Treatment
  • Fines and Costs Totaling Over $1,200

Third Offense DUI – BAC Greater than 0.15

  • Mandatory Minimum 3 Years in Jail, but up to Five Years in Jail
  • License Suspension of 3 Years
  • Mandatory Alcohol and/or Drug Treatment
  • Fines Between $1,000 and $5,000

For a free, confidential consultation contact Attorney Matthew Marin at 401-228-8271 or email us at [email protected]

Attorney Marin Named A Super Lawyers Rising Star Four Consecutive Years 2014-2017

Attorney Matthew Marin was named a Rhode Island Rising Star by Super Lawyers for 4 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2017. 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.