As reported by Alexandra Cowley in the May 24, 2013 edition of ABC 6 news, a West Warwick priest has been arrested and charged with drunk driving, refusal to submit to a chemical test and traffic violations. The man was arrested by the Warwick Police Department earlier this month. This marks the second drunk driving arrest involving clergy in Rhode Island. In early May, a bishop was arrested by the Narragansett Police Department and charged with drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
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.
The penalties if convicted include a fine, community service, a period of license suspension, participation in DUI School or alcohol counseling and assessments. The level of penalties increase based on the chemical test results. A first offense DUI charge is a misdemeanor. The law provides for up to one (1) year imprisonment for a first offense DUI charge, but that rarely, if ever, is imposed.
Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 31-27-2.1, refusal to submit to a chemical test is defined as any person who operates a motor vehicle within this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical tests of his or her breath, blood, and/or urine for the purpose of determining the chemical content of his or her body fluids or breath. No more than two (2) complete tests, one for the presence of intoxicating liquor and one for the presence of toluene or any controlled substance, as defined in § 21-28-1.02(7), shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance, as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these. The director of the department of health is empowered to make and file with the secretary of state, regulations which prescribe the techniques and methods of chemical analysis of the person's body fluids or breath and the qualifications and certification of individuals authorized to administer the testing and analysis.
The penalties if convicted include a fine in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200) to five hundred dollars ($500) and shall order the person to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution. The person's driving license in this state shall be suspended for a period of six (6) months to one year. The traffic tribunal 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. A first offense Refusal charge is a civil violation.
If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving, refusal to submit to a chemical test or other motor vehicle offenses, 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.