One of the most significant changes in Rhode Island's DUI and Refusal laws occurred on January 1, 2015, when Rhode Island allowed for individuals convicted of drunk driving ("DUI") or Refusal to submit to chemical test ("Refusal") to have a conditional hardship license ("CHL") during the period of license suspension. However, the CHL comes at a price and will only be granted in connection with the installation of an ignition interlock device ("IID").
The parameters of the CHL and the ability to obtain a CHL will be decided on a case by case basis. The CHL will only be valid for twelve (12) hours a day. The CHL is to allow individuals the ability to travel to and from their employment. Other non-employment hardships may also be considered. In most first offense DUI and Refusal cases, a CHL will be available with the installation of an IID.
It should be noted that the newly revised DUI and Refusal statutes and the newly enacted ignition interlock statute will allow for, and in some cases require, the installation of an IID at the discretion of the sentencing judge or magistrate. An IID will be mandatory in more serious cases, such as a first offense DUI charge with BAC readings over .15 and second, third and subsequent offenses. In many of these serious cases, where an IID is required, a CHL is not always available.
To determine the availability of a CHL and the procedures before both the Court and the Registry to obtain a CHL, with the installation of an IID, are extremely complicated and should only be considered after discussing the particular facts of your case with an attorney knowledgeable in DUI and Refusal law. For more information, please my article entitled " Rhode Island DUI Conditional Hardship Licenses" published in the January/February 2015 edition of the Rhode Island Bar Journal. Please call or e-mail me today with your questions regarding Rhode Island DUI's hardship licenses.