Woonsocket DUI Charge Amended to Reckless Driving & Refusal Dismissed

In April of 2011, our Client was arrested and charged with drunk driving ("DUI") by the Woonsocket Police Department. At the police station, our Client refused to submit to the chemical test. Through a series of plea negotiations and legal issues raised in the case, Attorney Humphrey was able to have the DUI charge amended to reckless driving and the refusal charge dismissed.

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.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2, 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.

For first time offenders, both charges are criminal misdemeanors, but have differing penalties. Under Rhode Island Law, there are not any specific designated penalties for reckless driving. Typical penalties include a fine, community service hours and a period of license suspension. There are specifically designated penalties for DUI under Rhode Island Law based on the chemical test readings of the driver.

The penalties for drunk driving, with unknown blood alcohol results include:

Every person convicted of a first violation whose blood alcohol concentration is one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or above but less than fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or whose blood alcohol concentration is unknown shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred ($100) dollars nor more than four hundred dollars ($400) and shall be required to perform ten (10) 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 twelve (12) 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 alcoholic or drug treatment for the individual.

Instead our client received a one (1) year filing, which is not a criminal conviction and the Court did not impose a period of license suspension. 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 driving, reckless 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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