DUI Charge Amended to Driving While Impaired & Expunged

In July of 2011, our Client was arrested and charged by the police with drunk driving (DUI). Our Client was stopped by the police for traffic violations. During the course of the stop, police observed an open bottle of alcohol in the car. At the police station, our Client submitted to the chemical test and had readings almost three times the legal limit.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, 31-27-3, 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.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, 31-27-2.7, driving while impaired is defined as, a person under the age of twenty-one (21) but at least eighteen (18) years of age who takes a test, as provided for in § 31-27-2, at the request of a law enforcement officer who believes the person to be driving under the influence of alcohol, shall be determined to have been driving while impaired if the test determines the person's blood alcohol concentration to be at least two-hundredths of one percent (.02%) but less than one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight.

Although essentially the same crime, driving while impaired specifically applies to underage individuals. The penalties, if convicted of drunk driving or driving while impaired are very similar too.

The penalties for drunk driving include a fine, community service, a period of license suspension, DWI school/alcohol treatment and fees, costs and assessments. The penalties are enhanced based on breathalyzer results. The penalties for driving while impaired include:

(1) A fine of not more than two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) and thirty (30) hours of community restitution. The fine shall be deposited in the general fund.

(2) The person's driving license shall be suspended for not less than one nor more than three (3) months on a first violation, provided the person also shall attend a special course in driving while intoxicated and provided that the person shall also attend an alcohol and/or drug treatment program if ordered by the district court judge. Failure or refusal of the person to attend the course and/or alcohol or drug treatment program shall result in the person's driving license being suspended until such time as the course and/or treatment program has been completed.

Due to Attorney Humphrey's vast experience in drunk driving defense, he was able to have the charge amended to driving while impaired. A charge of driving while impaired is not a criminal offense, meaning it is not a criminal conviction. Our Client successfully complied with all penalties imposed and the case was recently expunged from her record. This expungement allows our Client to avoid disciplinary issues at school and maintain a clean criminal record. If our Client instead was convicted of drunk driving, the matter would not be eligible for expungement for at least five (5) years.

If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving (DUI), OUI, refusal to submit to a chemical test or other drunk driving charges, 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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