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Underage Drunk Driving DUI in Rhode Island

Underage DUI is divided into two groups. First, there are general provisions for those who are convicted of DUI and are under 18 years of age. Second, there are specific provisions for those convicted of DUI and are between 18 and 21 years of age.

First, there are two categories of punishments based on the number of DUI violations a person under the age of 18 commits. First, if the person under 18 is convicted of DUI for the first time, he or she must perform 10 to 60 hours of public community restitution, must attend a special course on DWI or DUI education and/or receive treatment, and have the license suspended for 6 to 18 months. The juvenile may be required to pay a highway assessment fine of no more than $500, which will be transferred to the general fund. Second, if the person under 18 is convicted of DUI for the second or more time regardless of whether the previous offense(s) occurred out-of-state and/or does not violate DUI laws of Rhode Island or any other state, the subsequent offense(s) will be considered a repeated violation. Thus, the juvenile will have his or her driving license suspended until the individual turned 21 year old, and may be sentenced to the Rhode Island training school for a maximum of 1 year and/or a fine of a maximum of $500, depending on the judge’s discretion.

Driving while impaired applies to those who are 1) between 18 and 21 years of age, 2) took a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, and 3) the test determines that BAC is between 0.02 and 0.1 percent. DWI is not considered a criminal offense. After a hearing in district court, if the court determines that the test results were admissible as evidence, and the individual was afforded his or her rights, then, for the first violation, the individual must carry 30 hours of community restitution, with a maximum fine of $250, have his or her license suspended for 1 to 3 months, attend a special course on DWI, and receive alcohol and/or drug treatment. Failure to receive treatment or attend courses will result in license suspension until the completion of such activities. On a second violation, the person must perform 60 hours of community restitution, be fined a maximum of $250 with a highway safety assessment of $300,  have license suspended for 3 to 6 months, and must attend a special course in DWI and an alcohol and/or drug treatment program.

Under 18 Years of Age (refusal)

An individual who is under 18 years of age and refuses to submit to chemical tests will have the same punishments as provided for in the regular refusal provisions, except the juvenile’s license will be suspended for 6 months on a first violation. If an individual under 18 years of age refuses to submit to a test when an officer had probable cause to stop the arrested person, had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been driving while impaired, and informed the person his or her rights and the penalties to follow when refusing to submit to tests, then no test shall be administered and a hearing will be ordered to determine whether the license or the privilege to operate the vehicle should be suspended. Upon suspension, the judge will order the person to surrender his or her license within 3 days. Instead, if the juvenile complies with taking the test, and the person’s BAC is between 0.02% and 0.1%, the person will be charged of driving while impaired (DWI). On the first violation, the driver’s license will be suspended for 6 to 12 months. Also, the individual will have to attend a special course on DUI, and will receive alcohol and/or drug treatment. If the individual refuses to attend the course or receive treatment, then the person’s driving license will be suspended until the person has completed the course or treatment program. On the second violation, the person’s driving license will be suspended until he or she is 21 years old. Furthermore, the juvenile will be required to receive alcohol and/or drug treatment. On the third or more violation, the person’s driving license will be suspended for an additional 2 years, and the juvenile will be required to receive alcohol and/or drug treatment.

A highway safety assessment of $150, or community restitution in exchange of the highway safety assessment, will be paid by the violator.


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