Providence DUI Charge Amended to Reckless Driving

In September of 2010, our client was charged by the Providence Police Department with driving while under the influence ("DUI") and failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle following a serious accident.  Through a series of plea negotiations and defense motions Attorney Humphrey was able to have the charge amended to reckless driving

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law 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.

Whereas, Rhode Island General Law 31-27-2 defines driving while under the influence ("DUI") 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.

For first time offenders, both charges are criminal misdemeanors, but have differing penalties.  Under Rhode Island Law, there are not specific outlined penalties for reckless driving.  Typical penalties include a fine, community service hours and a period of license suspension.  There are specifically outlined penalties for DUI under Rhode Island Law based on the chemical test readings of the driver. Our client, who had readings over .15 BAC, could have received the following penalties:

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 our client received a one (1) year filing, which is not a criminal conviction.  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 you or a family member has been charged with drunk drivingreckless 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 at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at
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