DUI’s and Refusals – FAQ’s

DUI’s and Refusals – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens right after I am arrested and brought to the police station?
    In most cases, the police department who arrested you will release you to a sober adult, either with a bail commissioner setting bail or with a summons to appear in court.  Either way, you will leave the police station/ or hospital with a court date.   Typically, you will be given one court date for the DUI and one court date for the refusal and/or traffic offense(s).
  2. When is my first court date? Your first court date for the DUI will be in one of the four district courts in Rhode Island – Providence 6th Division District Court, Kent 3rd Division District Court, Washington 4th Division District Court, or Newport 2nd Division District Court.  https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/districtcourt/PDF/District-HomeDivisonsandContacts.pdf  Your first court date is called your arraignment and that is the date you would enter a not guilty plea in order to fight the DUI charge.   This is typically a quick court date, and, on that date,  you will be given another date to appear for your pretrial conference.
  3. Will my license be suspended at the court date for the DUI? If this is a first offense DUI or a first offense within five years, your license will not be suspended for a misdemeanor DUI at the time of your arraignment for DUI in District Court.  If or when you enter a plea or found guilty of the DUI then your license would be suspended.  If you fight the DUI and win and the DUI gets dismissed then your license will not be suspended due to DUI. Your first court date for the refusal and/or traffic offense(s) will be held at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal or a municipal court.  https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/rhodeislandtraffictribunal/Pages/default.aspx
  4. Should I pay for the traffic ticket?  If you took the chemical test, then you may just have a traffic ticket for a motor vehicle offense such as speeding, right half of the road, laned roadway, turn signal required, times when lights are necessary, etc.   If that is the case, DO NOT just pay the ticket.
  5. What do I need to say in court at an arraignment for DUI or refusal? If you have an attorney, then you do not need to say much other than your name, address, and date of birth.  Your attorney will do all the talking for you.  If you do not have an attorney then you will need to answer the judge’s questions.
  6. How do you plead not guilty? For DUI cases the judge will ask you about waiving the thirty-day rule and keeping the matter in District Court or waiving to Superior Court.
  7. What happens at the court date for a refusal charge? If you have been charged with a refusal charge then your first court date for the refusal charge will be at one of the two traffic courts- Cranston or Wakefield.  On that court date, you would enter a plea of not guilty to the traffic and refusal charges.   The court will then decide if a preliminary suspension of your license will occur.   The court will also give you your next court date.   This will be for a pretrial conference which is always at the traffic tribunal in Cranston.
  8. What is a preliminary suspension?  A preliminary suspension can occur if you have been charged with a refusal charge.   What is means is that your license can/will be suspended while you are fighting the refusal charge in court.   This is done by the Magistrate, on the first traffic court date,  reviewing the affidavit which was prepared by the police officer who arrested you.
  9.  What is the implied consent law?  Rhode Island has an implied consent law which means that if you are driving in the State of Rhode Island, you need to agree to take a chemical test if asked by a law enforcement officer.  If you do not, then you can be charged with a refusal, and a preliminary suspension can enter.
  10. I need to drive; how can I get a hardship license?  If the magistrate decides to enter a preliminary suspension you have the option of asking for a hardship license at that point or a later point.  In order to be granted this hardship license, you MUST have a hardship and have the interlock installed in your vehicle.  http://www.dmv.ri.gov/adjudication/hardship/
  11. What happens at pretrial conferences?  During a pretrial conference for the DUI or refusal, your attorney will speak with the prosecutor and maybe the Judge also in order to try to advocate legal and other issues in your case to get a dismissal or reduction.
  12. What are the benefits of hiring an attorney?  What are the benefits of hiring a lawyer?  If you have been charged with a DUI or a DUI and refusal there is a lot at stake.  You are looking at anywhere from a three to 12-month license suspension, a criminal conviction, fines, and penalties when added up start at $800 plus, community service, counseling, DUI school, and others.   By hiring a lawyer, you can fight the charges and get all those penalties dismissed or reduced.  A lawyer can also help you receive a hardship license and an interlock license which would allow you to drive during the entire time your case is pending and if there is a resolution that requires a loss of license.
  13. When should I hire a lawyer?  You should hire a lawyer right away.   By hiring a lawyer right away, the lawyer could get started on defending you and give you the guidance to allow you to drive.  For example, if you were to call and hire the Law Offices of Stefanie Murphy right when you were arrested we would start immediately in requesting the reports, dispatch logs, witness statements, and videos that could exist from the station or nearby camera at the scene of the arrest.   We would also be able to advise you about getting a hardship license and the steps to complete that.