I am greatly honored to have once again lectured the members of the Rhode Island Bar Association on the successful prosecution and defense of refusal to submit to chemical test (Refusal) cases. The June of 2011 Refusal Continuing Legal Education Program, part of the Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, is part of the DUI and Refusal Cases Beyond the Basics series of lectures and articles the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey is conducting for the Rhode Island Bar Association. This educational program provides an opportunity for both prosecutor and defense attorneys to learn about legal issues beyond the basics of these types of complicated DUI cases involving the admissibility of chemical test results, the admissibility of the standardized field sobriety tests, and the suspect's statutory and constitutional rights to a timely release on bail. Emphasis is given to teaching the advanced trial techniques and practice pointers for the successful prosecution and defense of DUI and Refusal cases.
In every refusal case the Prosecution and Defense are concerned with four (4) basic components of the case as follows:
- That the law enforcement officer who submitted the sworn report to the RITT had reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant had been driving a vehicle within the State while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs;
- That the defendant, while under a lawful arrest, refused to submit to a chemical test upon the request of the law enforcement officer;
- That the defendant had been informed of his or her rights in accordance with R.I.G.L. 31-27-3; and
- That the defendant had been informed of the penalties incurred as a result of non-compliance with R.I.G.L. 31-27-2.
Attendees were provided with updates about recent Refusal cases. In State v. Cohen, the Refusal charge was dismissed because the State failed to introduce evidence at the hearing about a sworn report. The Appeals Panel held that evidence the sworn report was created is an element of a Refusal charge and must be proven at the hearing. In State v. Quattrucci, the Judge held that motorists have a right to a confidential telephone call when they are charged with a civil Refusal violation. In State v. DeCorpo, a different Judge held that motorist do not have a right to a confidential telephone call when they are charged with a civil Refusal violation. The issue is on appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. In another recent Refusal case of Haley v. State, the motorist was arrested for DUI. After her arrest, the police asked her to submit to a preliminary breath test, which she did. The police later asked her to submit to a chemical breath test and she refused. The Judge held that based on the Refusal statute, the motorist had submitted to a chemical test at the officer's request after her arrest and that she could not be charged with Refusal, if, the PBT and the chemical test are the same type of test.
The law of drunk driving and refusal to submit to a chemical test is an ever evolving area of the law. If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving ( DUI, DWI, OUI) or refusal to submit to a chemical test in Washington County (Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown and Westerly), Newport County (Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton), Kent County (Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick, West Greenwich, West Warwick) and Providence County (Burriville, Central Falls, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, Foster, Glocester, Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Providence, Scituate, Smithfield and Woonsocket), please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.