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Changes in Rhode Island DUI laws


McIntyre Tate LLP partner Robert Sgroi has an extensive background in criminal law as both a prosecutor for Warwick and representing criminal defendents. He routinely represents defendants in DUI cases and offers the following information about recent changes to Rhode Island Law.

Effective January 1, 2015 the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted several revisions to the laws relative to driving under the influence of liquor or drugs ("DUI"). These revisions will allow certain motorists to retain limited driving privileges during the period of suspension ordered by the District Court Judge or Traffic Tribunal Magistrate.

Specifically, in certain cases the court or tribunal may grant a conditional license during the period of license suspension, valid only for twelve (12) hours a day to enable a motorist to get to and from employment. This "hardship license" may be granted only in conjunction with the installation of an ignition interlock device and this conditional driving privilege must be set by the Judge or Magistrate after a hearing in which the motorist must provide proof of employment status and the hours of employment.

Further revisions provide that any person convicted of driving under the influence or refusal to submit to a chemical test may be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system. In certain instances, the minimum loss of license will range from 30 days to 90 days, with a further imposition of the installation of an ignition interlock system for 3 months to 10 years depending on the violation.

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