North Smithfield DUI Amended to Reckless Driving

In July of 2011, our Client was stopped by the North Smithfield Police Department. The North Smithfield Police stopped our Client based on a tip from another driver that he was driving erratically. Following the stop, our Client was arrested for drunk driving (DUI) and he submitted to the chemical test at the station.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2, drunk driving is defined as whoever drives or otherwise operates any vehicle in the state while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor except as provided in subdivision (d)(3) and shall be punished as provided in subsection (d) of this section.

If convicted of drunk driving, our Client faced these penalties:

(d) Every person found to have violated subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be sentenced as follows: for a first violation whose blood alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) but less than one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or who has a blood presence of any scheduled controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(2) shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than three hundred dollars ($300), shall be required to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution, and/or shall be imprisoned for up to one year. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge and/or shall be required to attend a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, and his or her driver's license shall be suspended for thirty (30) days up to one hundred eighty (180) days.

(ii) Every person convicted of a first violation whose blood alcohol concentration is one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or above but less than fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or whose blood alcohol concentration is unknown shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred ($100) dollars nor more than four hundred dollars ($400) and shall be required to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution and/or shall be imprisoned for up to one year. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge. The person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of three (3) months to twelve (12) months. The sentencing judge shall require attendance at a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcoholic or drug treatment for the individual.

(iii) Every person convicted of a first offense whose blood alcohol concentration is fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or above, or who is under the influence of a drug, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(1) shall be subject to a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) and shall be required to perform twenty (20) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution and/or shall be imprisoned for up to one year. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge. The person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of three (3) months to eighteen (18) months. The sentencing judge shall require attendance at a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol or drug treatment for the individual.

Instead, due to legal issues that Attorney Humphrey raised in the case, the charge was amended to reckless driving. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 31-27-4, reckless driving is defined as, any person who operates a motor vehicle recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, or operates a vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee from a traffic officer or police vehicle, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first conviction and a felony for the second and each subsequent conviction.

Reckless driving does not have mandated penalties. Instead our client received a one (1) year filing, which is not a criminal conviction and only a thirty (30) day loss of license. As part of the filing, our client must keep the peace and be of good behavior for one (1) year. After the one (1) year period, our client is eligible to have the records of the case expunged.

If your or a family member have been charged with drunk driving, reckless driving or refusal to submit to a chemical test, please allow attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Contact Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at rhh@rhumphreylaw.com.