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Chemical Testing for DUI in Rhode Island

Chemical Testing for DUI: audio and video recording will take place during the administration of all chemical tests when there is a valid search warrant authorizing the chemical tests.

Refusal to submit to a chemical test is when a person refuses to comply with the requests of an officer to submit to tests after the officer had reasonable belief that the individual had been driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and thus lawfully stopping the vehicle or the operator, informed the individual of his or her rights and the penalties that were to follow after refusing to submit to test. A chemical test refers to any test of a sample of blood, breath, or urine for the presence of alcohol.

A person may refuse blood tests if he or she files an affidavit with the division of motor vehicles stating the reason for noncompliance to take blood tests, and has a notation of this on his or her license. Although the person may not be subject to blood tests, he or she may be asked to submit to other chemical tests and will be required to comply (such as breath or urine tests). Only a physician or registered nurse or a certified medical technician may administer blood tests, but a person will have the opportunity to request his or her own physician at his or her own expense to administer chemicals tests of his or her breath, blood, and/or urine in addition to the tests administered by the officer. Furthermore, no more than 2 tests, one for the presence of alcohol and the other for the presence of drugs in the individual’s body, may be administered upon a person who has been believed to have been in violation of DUI at that moment.

However, if the person adamantly refuses to submit to tests after an officer had reasonable belief that the individual was operating the vehicle in violation of the DUI laws, and informed the person of his or her rights and the penalties to follow when refusing the tests, then the person’s license or privilege to operate the vehicle will be suspended and surrendered within 5 days of notice of suspension.

Upon the first violation of refusal to submit to chemical tests, a fine of $200 to $500 will be imposed with 10 to 60 hours of public community restitution. Also, the person’s driving license will be suspended for 6 months to 1 year, and he or she will need to attend a special course on DUI and/or receive alcohol or drug treatment. If it is the person’s second violation within a 5 year period, then the person is guilty of a misdemeanor. The individual must pay a fine of $600 to $1,000, be imprisoned for a maximum of 6 months, perform 60 to 100 hours of public community restitution, and receive alcohol and/or drug treatment. The driver’s license will be suspended for 1 to 2 years. If it is the person’s third violation within a 5 year period, he is also guilty of a misdemeanor. The individual must be imprisoned for a maximum of 1 year, be fined $800 to $1,000, perform at least 100 hours of public community restitution, and receive alcohol or drug treatment. The driver’s license will be suspended for 2 to 5 years. When reissuing the license to the person, if he or she has been charged of the violation 3 times in a time span of 3 years, then a hearing will be held before a judge, who will review the person’s driving record, employment history, family background, and other relevant factors to determine whether the person has demonstrated behavior to allow the reinstatement of the driver’s license.

In addition to any fines, a highway safety assessment of $500 must be paid, which will be transferred to the general fund, and a $200 assessment fee must be paid to support the department of health’s chemical testing programs.


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