What recent changes have been made to our state’s DUI/DWI laws in Rhode Island?1. Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) – In 2018, Rhode Island adopted an ignition interlock device (IID) program for all individuals convicted of first-time DUI/DWI offenses. This program requires those convicted individuals to have the device installed in their vehicles for a period of six months prior to being eligible for reinstatement of their license.
2. Increased Fines and Penalties – In 2019, the fines and penalties for DUI/DWI offenses were increased. The fines can now be up to $1,000 and the maximum jail sentence is one year.
3. Lower Limit for BAC – In 2020, Rhode Island lowered the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) from .08 to .05, bringing it in line with other states in the region.
4. Drug Testing – In 2020, Rhode Island added drug testing to the list of things that law enforcement officers can request of suspected DUI/DWI offenders. Drug testing can be done either through a urine sample or from a mouth swab.
Have there been updates to the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit in Rhode Island?Yes, there have been updates to the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit in Rhode Island. As of July 1, 2020, the BAC limit for drivers 21 and over has been lowered from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. Additionally, drivers under 21 years old are subject to an even lower limit of 0.02 percent.
How have penalties for first-time DUI offenders changed in recent years in Rhode Island?In recent years, Rhode Island has increased the penalties for first-time DUI offenders. The penalties now include a minimum of 10 hours of community service, a minimum fine of $500, a one-year license suspension, and a one-year installation of an ignition interlock device. Additionally, offenders must attend DWI education or treatment classes and the court may require that they participate in a 24-hour alcohol assessment program.
Are there new ignition interlock device (IID) requirements or policies in Rhode Island?Yes. Rhode Island recently implemented new ignition interlock device (IID) requirements and policies. The new law requires that any driver convicted of a first offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) must have an IID installed in their vehicle for a period of at least 12 months. Additionally, IIDs must be installed by an approved vendor and the driver must comply with all rules and regulations pertaining to the installation and use of the device.
Have there been changes to the process of DUI checkpoints and stops in Rhode Island?Yes. As of June 2019, the Rhode Island State Police DUI Checkpoint Program has been revised with a new focus on reducing the number of fatalities due to impaired driving. The new program emphasizes increased random sobriety checkpoints and a greater enforcement presence along roads and highways. Additionally, officers are given increased discretion in conducting vehicle stops based on indicators of impairment. As part of the new program, the State Police have also increased their use of mobile breathalyzers and other portable detection devices.
What impact have recent legal changes had on DUI/DWI sentencing in Rhode Island?Recent legal changes have had a significant impact on DUI/DWI sentencing in Rhode Island. In 2019, the state implemented tougher penalties for DUI/DWI offenses. These include increased fines, jail time, and license suspension lengths for first-time offenders. Additionally, ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are now required for all DUI/DWI offenders. IIDs are devices that require a driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting a car, and the car will not start if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level. The purpose of these changes is to reduce the number of people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Rhode Island.
Are there new diversion or treatment programs for DUI offenders in Rhode Island?Yes, there are several new diversion and treatment programs for DUI offenders in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island State Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) runs several programs for DUI offenders including a DWI Court Program, an Intensive Supervision Program, and an Alcohol Education Program. Additionally, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections has an Interlock Program for DUI offenders who have multiple offenses and the Rhode Island DUI Monitoring Program for those who have been convicted of a first-time offense.
Has the process for DUI/DWI testing or blood draws been modified in Rhode Island?Yes, the process for DUI/DWI testing and blood draws has been modified in Rhode Island. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state law requires that a face covering must be worn during any blood draw or DUI/DWI test. In addition, officers are required to use gloves, maintain social distancing where possible, and sanitize any surfaces touched by the driver.
Have recent changes affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Rhode Island?No, recent changes have not affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Rhode Island. Plea bargains are still commonly used for DUI cases in Rhode Island. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 90% of DUI convictions are negotiated by a plea bargain.
Are there specific changes in DUI laws for underage drivers in Rhode Island?Yes, there are specific changes in DUI laws for underage drivers in Rhode Island. Rhode Island has zero-tolerance laws that prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. If an underage driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 or higher, they will be charged with a DUI. They may also face additional administrative penalties, including license suspension and fines. Additionally, they may face criminal penalties if convicted, such as fines, jail time, and mandatory alcohol education programs.
Have there been updates to DUI laws regarding marijuana or other drugs in Rhode Island?Yes, Rhode Island recently passed legislation that changed the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. Under the new law, any driver who is found to have five nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, in their system will be considered to be under the influence. This is a change from the previous law, which only considered a person to be under the influence if they had ten nanograms of THC in their system. Additionally, the new law also increases the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs so that it is now equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol.
What changes have been made to DUI penalties for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders in Rhode Island?As of July 2020, Rhode Island has implemented new DUI penalties for CDL holders. These new penalties include potential revocations of CDL privileges for up to one year for a first offense, and up to three years for subsequent offenses. CDL holders who are arrested for DUI will also face civil charges from the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles, and may be subject to additional criminal charges. Additionally, CDL holders who are convicted of a DUI will be placed on a five-year probation period and will be required to participate in a safety program approved by the DMV.
Are there new reporting requirements for DUI/DWI convictions to other states in Rhode Island?No, there are no new reporting requirements for DUI/DWI convictions to other states in Rhode Island. However, Rhode Island does require that DUI/DWI convictions be reported to the National Driver Register (NDR) and the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles.
How have recent changes impacted the use of body cameras or dashcams during DUI stops in Rhode Island?Recent changes in Rhode Island have not impacted the use of body cameras or dashcams during DUI stops. The Rhode Island State Police currently requires all officers to be equipped with body cameras and dashboard cameras when they are conducting traffic stops. All recorded footage is reviewed by supervisors to ensure that officers are adhering to procedures and protocols. The use of body cameras and dashcams during DUI stops is expected to help reduce the likelihood of false arrests and help protect both officers and citizens from potential abuse of power.
Have there been changes to DUI laws related to accidents causing injury or death in Rhode Island?Yes, Rhode Island has made changes to DUI laws that relate to accidents causing injury or death. In 2019, the state passed a law that established a new felony offense of Driving Under the Influence Causing Death or Injury (DUI-DWI). Offenders convicted of this offense can face up to 15 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. Additionally, the law requires offenders to attend an alcohol and drug education program and complete 100 hours of community service.
Are there new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Rhode Island?No, there are no new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Rhode Island. The state’s expungement laws have remained the same since they were last updated in 2018. As of 2019, individuals convicted of a DUI in Rhode Island may petition the court to have their conviction expunged if the offense was a misdemeanor, and they have not been convicted of any other crime within the preceding five years.
Have recent legal changes affected DUI insurance rates in Rhode Island?Yes, recent legal changes have affected DUI insurance rates in Rhode Island. The state enacted a new law in July 2019 that increased the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This change resulted in an increase in DUI insurance rates for some drivers in Rhode Island.
What changes have been made to DUI/DWI court processes and procedures in Rhode Island?In recent years, Rhode Island has enacted a number of changes to its DUI/DWI court processes and procedures. These include:
• Increasing the maximum jail time for DUI/DWI offenders to one year;
• Strengthening the penalties for refusing a Breathalyzer test;
• Requiring all DUI/DWI offenders to participate in alcohol treatment programs;
• Allowing prosecutors to charge DUI/DWI offenders with felonies in certain cases;
• Requiring an ignition interlock device to be installed on the vehicles of all DUI/DWI offenders;
• Requiring a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours for a first-time offense;
• Improving the tracking of DUI/DWI cases through the state’s computer system; and
• Increasing the fines for DUI/DWI offenses.
Are there additional resources or diversion programs for individuals with substance abuse issues in Rhode Island?Yes, there are a variety of additional resources and diversion programs for individuals with substance abuse issues in Rhode Island. These include treatment programs such as outpatient and residential treatment, support groups, substance abuse education, peer mentoring, and recovery-oriented systems of care. Also, there are a number of court-mandated diversion programs available, such as therapeutic courts and drug courts. Some of these programs are designed specifically for individuals with substance abuse problems. Additionally, there are a number of non-profit organizations in Rhode Island that offer resources to individuals with substance abuse issues, such as counseling, legal aid, housing assistance, job training, and financial assistance.
What is the process for staying informed about ongoing and future changes in DUI/DWI laws in Rhode Island?1. Check with the Rhode Island DMV website for updates on DUI/DWI laws.
2. Follow the Rhode Island Judiciary website for changes to case law related to DUI/DWI laws.
3. Sign up for notifications from the Rhode Island General Assembly website to stay abreast of proposed and pending legislation related to DUI/DWI laws.
4. Follow and participate in online discussion groups related to DUI/DWI law in Rhode Island.
5. Subscribe to local news outlets for updates on DUI/DWI law changes in the state.
6. Reach out to a local DUI/DWI attorney or law firm for advice and information on any changes in the law.