Stiffer Penalties for RI DUI Charges

As reported by Tracy Breton in the January 19, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, a new bill has been proposed to increase the penalties for drunk driving (DUI) and Refusal cases. The bill was introduced to the Rhode Island General Assembly last week and contains many proposed changes to the current DUI laws.

Currently, the Rhode Island District Court hears DUI cases, while the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal hears Refusal cases. The new bill proposed to combine DUI and Refusal cases and have both heard by the District Court. Another proposed change is the amount of "look back" time. Under Rhode Island General Law 31-27-2, the "look back" period is five (5) years, meaning a person can only be charged with a DUI - 2nd offense, if the 1 st offense was within the past five (5) years. This new bill wants to make the "look back" time period ten (10) years.

Another proposed change is mandatory imprisonment for DUI - 1st offense if the blood alcohol level is over .15. Under R.I.G.L. 31-27-2, 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 Judge has the option to impose up to one (1) year imprisonment. The new bill proposes a mandatory minimum of thirty (30) days up to one (1) year imprisonment.

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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