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What Happens the First Time You Receive a DUI in Rhode Island versus the Second Time?

Posted by Ken Barrett | Nov 07, 2016 | 0 Comments

Learn what happens when you receive a DUI in Rhode Island the first and second time.

Being arrested for a DUI in the state of Rhode Island comes with some pretty serious penalties. Whether it's your first offense on your second, you still face hefty fines, license suspension, and possibility time in jail. With each subsequent DUI arrest you receive, the penalties only get more severe. To give you an idea of what to expect with your first DUI versus your second, we have outlined some of the details below. 

First-Time DUI Offense

Rhode Island takes all DUI charges very seriously, so it's no surprise they're quick to dole out the consequences even for first-time offenders. First-time DUI offenses are considered to be a misdemeanor throughout the state. If you are convicted, you will face administrative penalties, such as the suspension of your driver's license. The length of time your license will be suspended will largely depend on you blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of the incident.

For first-time offenders with a BAC of up to .10, you will likely receive a license suspension of at least 30 days. A BAC of up to .15 tends to result in a license suspension of at least three months, while anything above .15 means a suspension between three and 18 months. Because you do have the right to refuse BAC testing, refusal will result in a license suspension of six months, plus other penalties.

Besides the license suspension, you also face criminal penalties such as fines, jail time, and even community service. Again, the penalties you face will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case, including your BAC level.

For first-time offenders with a BAC below .10, the fines are not more than $300. If your BAC was below .15, the fines do not exceed $400. For a BAC greater than .15, fines can be up to $500 for the offense.

You may also be required to complete anywhere from 10 to 60 hours of community service if convicted. When it comes to jail time, you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail for a first-time offense. There is no minimum jail sentence for the first DUI conviction.

Second-Time DUI Offense

For those who receive a second DUI offense, they will find the administrative and criminal penalties have increased. In order to for a DUI offense to be considered the second, the first offense will have had to occurred during the previous five years. This is considered Rhode Island's “look back” period.

The penalties you face will again be partly reflective of you BAC level at the time of your arrest. For second-time offenders with a BAC of less than .15, you will be subject to at least 10 days in jail, but no more than one year. You will also be required to pay fines around $400 if convicted. For a second-time offender with a BAC of more than .15, you will be subject to anywhere between six months to one year in jail, plus a fine of $1,000.

Your license could also be suspended for up to two years, which could have serious consequences for your day-to-day life. Those who receive a second or subsequent DUI conviction will also be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device on their vehicle. This device is designed to prevent the offender from driving while under the influence of alcohol. These devices are typically installed on the vehicle for two years. In many cases, a DUI conviction often requires participation in an alcohol treatment program.

Seek Legal Advice

While it's clear that both first-time and second-time DUI offenders can receive some pretty life-altering penalties, it's important to know that you can reduce them or even get them dropped altogether with the help of an experienced attorney. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss options for your case.

About the Author

Ken Barrett

Attorney Kensley Barrett is a skilled criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record in handling a wide range of cases in Rhode Island. Known for his strong background in trial advocacy and negotiation, Barrett is dedicated to providing personalized and effective representation for his clients. Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers and with a 10.0 "Superb" rating on Avvo, he consistently achieves successful outcomes, including acquittals, dismissals, and reduced charges.


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Kensley Barrett

Our law firm was founded on the belief that working with us is more than just hiring a lawyer. Working with us will bring you peace of mind and also allow you to continue with your regular life while we attend to your legal matters. Our vast experience means that it allows us to excel in both aggressively representing your interests and generating the best possible result for you.