Penalties for Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test

Penalties for Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test in Rhode Island

July 12, 2017

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law, 31-27-2.1, when Rhode Islanders obtain their license they automatically consent to submit to a chemical test (breathalyzer) if asked to do so by law enforcement officials. This concept is referred to as “implied consent.” More specifically, the implied consent law states that individuals automatically consent to taking chemical tests of their breath to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC) when lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that the driver has been operating under the influence. When individuals refuse to submit to a chemical test, they are automatically charged with refusing to submit to a chemical test, which results in adverse consequences. If an individual is charged with refusing to submit to a chemical test for the first time, the penalties are often a combination of various fines and fees, license suspension, and community service additionally this violation is a civil offense which is not criminal by its nature. However, the penalties significantly increase for repeat offenders and include imprisonment, hefty fines and fees, and license suspension for longer periods of time.

FIRST OFFENSE REFUSAL TO SUMBIT TO A CHEMICAL TEST

  • Fine between $200 and $500
  • Highway safety assessment fee of $500
  • Assessment fee of $200 to support the Department of Health’s Chemical Testing Programs
  • Complete between 10 to 60 hours of community service
  • License suspension between 6 months to a year
  • Completion of a driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance course
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Possible prohibition of operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock system

SECOND OFFENSE REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO A CHEMICAL TEST WITHIN 5 YEARS

  • Imprisonment for up to 6 months
  • Fine between $600 to $1,000
  • Highway safety assessment fee of $500
  • Assessment fee of $200 to support the Department of Health’s Chemical Testing Programs
  • Complete between 60 to 100 hours of community service
  • License suspension between 1 to 2 years
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Prohibition of operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock system

THIRD OFFENSE REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO A CHEMICAL TEST WITHIN 5 YEARS

  • Imprisonment for up to 1 year
  • Fine between $800 to $1,000
  • Highway safety assessment fee of $500
  • Assessment fee of $200 to support the Department of Health’s Chemical Testing Programs
  • Complete up to 100 hours of community service
  • License suspension between 2 to 5 years
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program

It is important to note that many of the license suspension periods that have been spoken of in the aforementioned paragraphs can be reduced by utilizing Rhode Island’s Ignition Interlock Statute 31-27-2.8.

Contact a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer
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