Rhode Island Subsequent Offense(s)
Rhode Island Penalties for Drunk Driving second and third (2nd & 3rd) offenses are very severe and include a substantial license loss and mandatory jail sentence. Under current Rhode Island DUI/DWI laws, the statutory language used for the look back period is somewhat vague and can be confusing. A skilled RI DUI DWI defense attorney will explore all weaknesses in your second or third offense charge including:
- Whether or not your prior offense(s) arrest and/or conviction falls within the subsequent offense portion of the statute?
- Whether or not your prior offense(s) resulted in a “conviction” as required under the statute.
- Whether or not your plea to the prior offense(s) occurred after a knowing, voluntary and intelligent waiver of your rights.
RI Second DUI criminal offense with .08%-.15% or an unknown Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are the following penalties:
- Misdemeanor Conviction
- $400 fine
- Rhode Island Driver’s license suspended for one (1) to two (2) years or if an out of state driver’s license then your right to drive in Rhode Island suspended for 1-2 years
- 10 days to one year jail sentence
- Alcohol or drug treatment program
- Ignition Interlock device for a 1-2 year period AFTER the completion of your license loss sentence
RI Second DUI criminal offense with .15% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are the following penalties:
- Misdemeanor Conviction
- $1,000 fine
- Rhode Island Driver’s license suspended for two (2) years following the completion of your sentence or if an out of state driver’s license then your right to drive in Rhode Island suspended for 2 years following the competition of your sentence.
Penalties for a RI Third (3rd) DUI criminal offense with .08%-.15% or an unknown Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are the following penalties:
- Felony Conviction
- $400 fine
- RI Driver’s license suspended for two (2) to three (3) years or if an out of state driver’s license then your right to drive in Rhode Island suspended for 2 to 3 years
- Mandatory jail sentence of 1 to 3 years in jail
- Alcohol or drug treatment
- Ignition Interlock system for 2 years following the completion of the sentence
Penalties for a RI Third (3rd) DUI criminal offense with .15% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are the following penalties:
- Felony Conviction;
- Jail Sentence of 3-5 years
- $1,000-$5,000 fine
- 3 year license loss, or right to drive in Rhode Island if licensed in another state, to start from the competition date of the sentence.
The climate for RI drunk driving prosecution has changed dramatically over the recent years with some saying that Rhode Island is substantially behind other states in getting “tough” on repeat drunk driving offenders. As of April 2011, the statutory look back period for a prior DUI offense is a five (5) year period. Most other states have a longer look back period or no look back period at all. Some neighboring states have no look back period so prior DUI convictions, no matter how long ago; count as priors for charging purposes. This means someone who gets a DUI at 50 years old who had two prior DUI’s when he was 19 and 21 would be charged with a DUI third offense. Under current Rhode Island law, he would be charged with a DUI 1st Offense as the two priors took place past the 5-year look back period. There is currently a strong push to change the look back period in Rhode Island to a ten (10) year period. There a currently a number of bills before the Rhode Island General Assembly which seek to enhance DUI prosecution and penalties. If this change of law takes place, there will be a significant uptick in DUI second offenses being charged.
Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2. “…A person convicted of a 2nd violation within a five year period with a BAC of .08% or greater but less than .15% or whose BAC is unknown…and every person convicted of a 2nd violation within a 5 year period regardless of whether the prior was in RI or under the DUI statute of any other state…”
Top 5 Myths about being charges with a 2nd or 3rd DUI:
Myth 5: If the Rhode Island State or local police charged me with a second or third offense, it must be the correct charge.
Truth: I have successfully defended a significant amount of clients who were wrongly charged by the police department. This has included clients who were charged with a third offense when a prior charge had actually been dismissed, clients who were being charged with a second DUI because they had a previous chemical test refusal which does not count as a first DUI offense under the current RI statute. Bottom line is the police get it wrong and you should not rely on them in determining whether or not your charge is correct. A skilled a knowledgeable DUI lawyer will know exactly what the RI statute requires and what predicate offenses are required in what time period in order to make up a 2nd or subsequent DUI offense. Additionally, if your prior DUI offense(s) happened in another state, whether or not the finding was a “conviction” might be an issue.
Myth #4: If I am charged with a second or third offense I am definitely going to jail.
Truth: While the current statute for RI DUI 2nd and 3rd offenses calls for a mandatory jail sentence, Attorney Marin has successfully beaten these charges and kept his clients from sitting in a jail cell. Attorney Marin has achieved acquittals on 2nd and third offenses saving his clients from lengthy jail sentences. In order for the prosecutor to convict you of a subsequent DUI offense, they must first prove you were Driving Under the Influence on this occasion. Generally at a trial, unless the defendant testifies, the prior DUI convictions are inadmissible to prove a person was DUI on the current case.
Myth #3: If I am charged with a second or third DUI in RI, I am going to automatically lose my license so what is the point of fighting.
Truth: The license loss range for second and third DUI CONVICTIONS is significant from the minimum loss allowed to the maximum loss allowed. The difference between a conviction for a failed breathalyzer above .15% BAC and under could mean a substantial longer license loss period. Sometimes a guilty finding on a lesser-included offense could mean years less of a license loss. Because of this, you have ever reason to aggressively defend your 2nd or 3rd DUI offense. Winning may mean no ignition interlock device, no or reduced license loss penalties and no or reduced jail sentence.
Myth #2: If I am charged with a second or third offense drunk driving charge, I should wait to see what the judge will do before hiring a lawyer.
Truth: You should IMMEDIATELY consult with a skilled RI drunk driving defense lawyer as your liberty is at stake. A good DUI lawyer will begin your defense preparations right away and not wait for the court process to take place. Video surveillance from stores, buildings or other location may HELP your case by showing the stop was illegal or the police officer’s observations were inaccurate. Civilian witnesses such as bartenders, clerks and friends may be able to provide exculpatory information that goes a long way to presenting a strong defense. Evidence is fleeting and the longer you wait the more of a risk you run of it not being there down the line. Motions to dismiss and for discovery must be filed within a certain time period and by waiting to hire a lawyer, you may miss valuable deadlines in your case.
Myth #1: It costs too much to hire a skilled Rhode Island DUI lawyer to represent me.
Truth: If you think it is expensive hiring a good DUI lawyer to defend your second or third DUI charge, wait to you see how much it costs to hire a bad one. When a lengthy jail sentence and loss of license penalties are on the line, do you really want to go bargain shopping? Attorney Marin has achieved acquittals for clients with second and third DUI offenses and will use his experience and training to vigorously fight to do the same for you.