A typical drunk driving or DUI charge is a misdemeanor in the State of Rhode Island. However, any DUI charge in which a motorist seriously injures or kills another person is a felony charge. In some states, this would be referred to as vehicular manslaughter, in Rhode Island, it is driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury or death. Both charges are extremely serious and the penalties are severe.
The law does define the difference between injury and serious injury. Any “physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious physical disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ” is considered to be a serious injury. The penalties for DUI resulting in serious injury include one (1) to ten (10) years imprisonment at the ACI, $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 fine, up to two (2) year license revocation, alcohol or substance abuse treatment and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
The penalties for DUI resulting in death include five (5) to fifteen (15) years imprisonment at the ACI, $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 fine, five (5) years license revocation, alcohol or substance abuse treatment and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
In a typical DUI case, a motorist is allowed to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test when asked by the arresting police department. If they refuse the test, the police department will not conduct a test over their objections. Instead, the motorist will then be charged with refusal to submit to a test. In DUI resulting in serious bodily injury or death cases, a motorist is not allowed to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. If a motorist refuses, the arresting police department will request a warrant from a judge. This is important because the blood test will provide additional evidence of intoxication which can be used against a motorist in any criminal case.
A DUI resulting in serious bodily injury or death is an extremely serious charge.
Contact a Rhode Island DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey today to start working on your defense.