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Rhode Island DWI laws and Penalties

Rhode Island takes a hard stance against DWI. The state's stringent laws and penalties
are based on age and blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. However, it's important to
remember the following points:

• Any DWI resulting in death of another person is considered a felony.

• Any driver under 21 years old found with an open container in his or her vehicle
may face a 30 day suspension.

• "Implied Consent" means that any driver behind the wheel of a vehicle gives the
state permission to administer a any BAC test.

The state defines driving while intoxicated (DWI) as any driver 21 or older with a BAC
of .08% or higher. The law is less tolerant for drivers under 21 who can be charged with
DWI for a BAC of .02% or higher


Test Refusal

If you refuse to take a chemical test, your license will be suspended for a minimum of
ninety (90) days. You are also subject to a fine, a highway safety assessment, public
community service, drunk driving school and/or an alcohol treatment program. Penalties
also increase for each subsequent refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test


Under 21

For drivers 21 years of age or older, test results that show a blood alcohol content (BAC)
in excess of 0.05 but less than .08, can be convicted of DWI (driving while impaired) if
there is other evidence that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.

A BAC level as low as 0.02% (which is less than one beer for most people) can result in
the loss of your driver's license, a fine of up to $150, and community service of up to 100


Juvenal Drunk Driving (Under 18, First Offender)

Penalties for a BAC of .10% or more include:

6- to 18-month license suspension, $500 maximum highway safety assessment, 10 to 60
hours of community service, alcohol or drug treatment or $250 driving school, and time
in family court with your parent(s).

Penalties for a BAC at least 0.02% but less than 0.10% include:

a 6-month license suspension, a $150 highway safety assessment or community service,
and the Family Court Judge may order "Driving While Intoxicated" course and/or
alcohol-drug treatment.


DUI for Age 18 to 21

Penalties for a First Offender with a BAC at least 0.02% but less than 0.10% include:

a 1- to 3-month license suspension, a $100 fine, a $150 highway safety assessment, 30
hours community service, attend a "Driving While Intoxicated" course. You may take
part in alcohol-drug treatment at the judge's discretion.



Your insurance rates will probably rise considerably, and the rates of you family
members, or even in some cases your employer, may rise as well.


Even Greater Penalties

You are subject to even greater penalties if you had a DUI related crash that involved
serious injury or death.


First Offense DUI Penalties

First Offense - BAC .08-.10

Fine ranging from $100-$300

• Suspended license for one to six months, up to one year in jail, and a $50
reinstatement fee

• At the discretion of the court, serve 10-60 hours of community service


First Offense - BAC between .10-.15

• Fine $100-$400

• One year in jail or 10-60 hours of community service

• Suspended license 3-12 months


First Offense - BAC of .15 or Higher

• Fine $500

• One year in jail or 20-60 hours of community service

• Suspended license 3-18 months

• Participation in a drunk driving course or drug or alcohol treatment plan


Second Offense DUI Penalties

Second Offense - BAC between .08-.15%

• Fine $400

• Suspended license for up to two years

• Minimum 10 days to one year in jail

• Alcohol or drug treatment


Second Offense - BAC of .15% or Higher

• $1,000 Fine

• Jail for 6-12 months

• Suspended license for two years


Third Offense DUI Penalties

Third Offense - BAC between .08-.15%

• Felony

• Mandatory $400 fine

• One to three years in jail

• Two to three years license suspension

• Alcohol or drug treatment

• Ignition interlock device for up to two years after sentence is completed


Third Offense - BAC between .15% or Higher

• Fines $1,000-$5,000

• Jail for 3-5 years

• Suspended license for three years

• At the discretion of the judge the violator's vehicle may be seized and sold by the


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