Rhode Island DUI Penalties

As reported by Peter Elsworth in the January 8, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are lobbying for changes to the DUI laws. MADD wants Rhode Island to require ignition interlocks as a penalty for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.

Ignition interlocks are installed in vehicles and have a mouthpiece attached to them. Ignition interlocks require the driver to provide a breath sample before he is able to drive. If the sample shows a breath alcohol reading over the legal limit of .08, the car will not start. In addition, the driver has to provide a breath sample periodically while driving.

MADD wants ignition interlocks to be mandatory penalty for 1st offense DUI. Currently, under Rhode Island General Law 31-27-2, a judge may order an ignition interlock as part of the sentence for a DUI - 2nd offense conviction.

Every person convicted of a second violation within a five (5) year period with a blood alcohol concentration of eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or above but less than fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or whose blood alcohol concentration is unknown or who has a blood presence of any controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(2), and every person convicted of a second violation within a five (5) year period regardless of whether the prior violation and subsequent conviction was a violation and subsequent conviction under this statute or under the driving under the influence of liquor or drugs statute of any other state, shall be subject to a mandatory fine of four hundred dollars ($400). The person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of one year to two (2) years, and the individual shall be sentenced to not less than ten (10) days nor more than one year in jail. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge; however, not less than forty-eight (48) hours of imprisonment shall be served consecutively. The sentencing judge shall require alcohol or drug treatment for the individual, and may prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system for a period of one year to two (2) years following the completion of the sentence as provided in § 31-27-2.8.

If you or a family member has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI/DWI), OUI, or Refusal, 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

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