In January of 2011, our Client was charged by the South Kingstown Police Department with drunk driving ("DUI") and refusal to submit to a chemical test ("Refusal"). Through a series of plea negotiations and legal issues raised through defense motions, 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.
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 unknown BAC readings, could have received the following penalties:
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. 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.
In addition, based on our negotiations with the Department of Attorney General, the Refusal charge pending before the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal was dismissed. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 31-27-2.1, our Client could have received the following penalties for Refusal:
A fine in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200) to five hundred dollars ($500) and shall order the person to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution. The person's driving license in this state shall be suspended for a period of six (6) months to one year. The traffic tribunal 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.