I was arrested for DUI in Rhode Island. Is my license automatically suspended?
No. Your license will not be suspended merely for being charged with DUI. Only upon a plea or finding of guilt after trial will your license be suspended. However, if you refused to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended pending a hearing at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. If you successfully challenge the chemical test refusal charge at traffic court, your right to drive will be immediately restored. A second or more refusal within the past 5 years is a separate criminal offense. The following is an example of how a typical chemical test refusal charge will proceed:
- Arrested and asked to submit to a breath alcohol test at the police station which you refused.
- You will be given a citation which has a court date scheduled within the next two weeks at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. At this point your license has not been suspended.
- At your court date at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, you can either:
- Enter a plea of “Responsible” (similar to guilty) in which case your license must be turned in within five days and it will be suspended for 6-12 months, you will be subject to approximately $1200 in fines and fees, you will be required to perform community service and attend and DUI training school at CCRI or;
- Enter a plea of “Not Responsible” in which case you will be given a civil trial date within the month. Your license must be turned in within five days and it will be suspended pending the outcome of this trial.
- At your civil trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence the following:
- The police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were DUI;
- That after arrest, you refused to submit to a chemical test upon the request of the officer;
- That you were informed of your rights in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-3 and;
- You were informed of the penalties incurred as a result of a refusal.
- At this trial you have the right to be represented by an attorney. Your lawyer will have the opportunity to cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses and present evidence on your behalf. If you are found “Responsible” by the judge, your license will be suspended for 6-12 months, you will be subject to approximately $1200 in fines and fees, you will be required to perform community service and attend and DUI training school at CCRI. You will receive credit for the time your license had been temporarily suspended. If you are found “Not Responsible” by the judge, you will have your license restored and you will not incur any penalties.