When may I refuse to submit to a chemical test in Rhode Island?

If a law enforcement officer suspects you of DUI in Rhode Island, they will most likely ask you to submit to a chemical test. Under Rhode Island law, you are required to submit to a chemical test when requested by police. This is the “implied consent law.”  

You may refuse to submit to a chemical test, and then you will be charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test. If you are convicted of refusal, your license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, two years for a second offense, and three years for a third or subsequent offense.  

What is a Chemical Test? 

A chemical test is any test aimed at determining the presence or quantity of a particular substance in a person’s body. A Breathalyzer machine, for example, is used to conduct a breath test, during which a person breathes into an instrument that calculates their breath/alcohol ratio.  If law enforcement suspects you are driving while under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol, you’ll usually be asked to give a blood sample. 

What is a PBT? 

A PBT (preliminary breath test) is a chemical test that is given at the scene of a motor vehicle stop. Police officers may demand that a motorist submits to a PBT. The results of a PBT are used as further evidence by police agents in determining whether or not to arrest the motorist for drunk driving. A person has the option of refusing to comply with a PBT. Refusal to give a PBT is considered discrimination and punishable by up to $85 in fines. 

What Are the Penalties for Refusal? 

The penalties for refusal to submit to a chemical test in Rhode Island are harsh. A first offense of refusal will result in a six-month license suspension. A second offense will result in a two-year license suspension, and a third or subsequent offense will result in a three-year license suspension.  

If you have been charged with DUI in Rhode Island, it is important that you speak with an experienced Rhode Island DUI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and protect your rights.