Confrontation Clause & Drunk Driving

Attorney Humphrey's article entitled "6th Amendment's Confrontation Clause Evolution" was recently published in the March/April 2013 edition of the Rhode Island Bar Journal. The article analyzed the evolution of the Confrontation Clause and the role it plays in drunk driving cases. In DUI cases involving blood results, the Confrontation Clause can be used to suppress the blood test results.

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.

To determine the motorist's level of intoxication, the police ask the motorist to submit to a breath test or a blood test. Motorists are usually asked to submit to a blood test when they are involved in an accident and taken to the hospital instead of the police station. Blood tests are also common when police believe a motorist is under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol because the presence of drugs will not found with a breath test. A motorist can refuse to submit to both a breath test and/or a blood test. The severity of the penalties imposed for drunk driving cases is based on the breath or blood test results of the motorist.

If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving, refusal to submit to a chemical test or driving 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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