DUI’s Explained – Learn everything you need to know about DUI’s

Substance-impaired driving is illegal and dangerous, and Rhode Island takes drunk driving very seriously. No matter the substance that has caused your impairment, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be extreme. But before we get started, you need to know the difference between DWI, DUI, OWI and OUI. 

DWI or an OWI charges refer specifically to alcohol impairment with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher while a DUI or OUI typically means impairment by prescription or illegal drugs.  

When receiving a DUI in Rhode Island an officer starts with a traffic stop. This is when the officer has been given indications by your driving that you may be under the influence and has therefore pulled you over. Common indications include driving in the wrong lane or drifting across the center line, a near miss with another vehicle or stationary object beside the road, sudden braking or stopping for no reason in an inappropriate place and making an unusually wide or other unsafe turn.  

Next, is a Field Sobriety Test (FST). First an officer will ask you if you’ve been drinking and then proceed to perform a series of tests such as the “walk and turn” and “one leg stand” test. These are standardized activities most officers use when conducting FSTs. There are other Field Sobriety Tests that officers can perform that are not standardized, such as the “involuntary movement” test. This is when an officer shines a flashlight into your eyes to check for dilation or astigmatism. Another form of unstandardized test is when they ask you to recite the alphabet from a random letter to another (for example, E-Q).  

Proceeding these tests, the officer will administer a breath and chemical BAC test. You will be asked to blow into a device that will measure your blood alcohol content and/or submit to blood or urine chemical tests. If the point comes when the officer feels like he or she has probable cause to arrest you, you will be placed in handcuffs, read your rights and taken to the police station for further observation. When you arrive you will be given a phone call. While you are there anything you do or say can be used against you. Officers will often times record your actions to use in your case. You stand a better chance of keeping your driving privileges and beating the DWI charge if you submit to the breathalyzer, even if you fail. 

If you have been convicted of a DUI charge in Rhode Island, it is subject to two separate proceedings. One is administrative, by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the other is criminal, which is handled by the court system. The penalties for an adult’s first DUI in Rhode Island that did not result in injury or death are as follows: 

DUI Causing Serious Injury have more severe charges and fines:  

Penalties for DUI Fatality are as follows:  

If this is not your first DUI the penalties are different. In a third offense DUI within five years, the following are the penalties for a third offense: 

If you are found guilty or plea to felony DUI you will face jail time (up to fifteen years) and hefty fines, probation and a long loss of license. Under Rhode Island law, after you are eligible to have a license, you will probably be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. 

Now that you know the basics of DUIs it is important to always be cautious and safe while operating a motor vehicle.  

If you need help, contact your defense lawyers at The Criminal Law Offices of Stefanie A. MurphyThe Law Offices of Stefanie A. Murphy will fight and never give up. The office understands the ramifications that a criminal charge can have on your everyday life, your employment, your license, your family and also immigration status.