Tiverton Schools Approve Use of Breathalyzer

As reported in the October 1, 2012 edition of Rhode Island Lawyers' Weekly, the Tiverton School Committee has approved a proposal to allow for breathalyzers at school events. The new policy allows employees to request students to submit to a breathalyzer if the employee believes the student may have consumed alcohol. The results of the breathalyzer will become part of the student's record. The policy does allow students to refuse the test.

Rhode Island is an implied consent state, which means that motorists implicitly consent to a breathalyzer test if police request that they submit to the test. Motorists are permitted to refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test and they are then charged with Refusal to submit to a chemical test pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2.1. A motorist can still be charged with drunk driving even if he/she does not submit to the chemical test.

The law states any person who operates a motor vehicle within this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical tests of his or her breath, blood, and/or urine for the purpose of determining the chemical content of his or her body fluids or breath. No more than two (2) complete tests, one for the presence of intoxicating liquor and one for the presence of toluene or any controlled substance, as defined in § 21-28-1.02(7), shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance, as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these. The director of the department of health is empowered to make and file with the secretary of state, regulations which prescribe the techniques and methods of chemical analysis of the person's body fluids or breath and the qualifications and certification of individuals authorized to administer the testing and analysis.

The penalties for refusing the chemical test include 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 have been charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test, drunk driving or other alcohol offenses, 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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