If you get arrested for a DUI, you need a lawyer, period.
Laws surrounding DUIs change frequently and an aggressive DUI lawyer may help you win in court or negotiate a plea that involves less harsh consequences. If you get charged with a DUI or refusal to take a chemical test, call Nee Law at 401-453-5633. Before you even get pulled over, it’s important to know your rights. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Be Polite, But Quiet
A police officer may ask you to perform one or more field sobriety tests such as the one-leg stand test, the walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (rapid, involuntary, oscillatory motion of the eyeball) test. You have the right to refuse to participate in these tests and it may be in your best interest to refuse. These tests are often administered on the side of busy, dark roads, under anxiety filled circumstances that often contribute to the very high likelihood you will fail. You can politely decline to perform these tests. If you do refuse to participate, you may still be arrested based on other observations.
Preliminary Breath Tests are Voluntary
PBTs are handheld devices used at the scene. Because they are considered less reliable than the Breathalyzer machine at the police station, they are inadmissible in court for purposes of proving a DUI. Unlike the severe consequences associated with refusal to take a Breathalyzer, refusal to submit to a PBT is a traffic violation punishable by an $85.00 fine.
You Are Entitled to a Confidential Phone Call
When the police arrest you for suspicion of DUI, you are entitled to call an attorney “as soon after being detained as practicable.”
Important Updates to RI DUI Laws
Starting January 1, 2015, a new Rhode Island law allows judges to prohibit someone convicted of a DUI from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system for up to (2) years following the completion of any sentence imposed. In addition, a new law also allows a judge to grant a conditional hardship license during the period of license suspension. Hardship licenses are only granted for the purposes of getting to and from work and will only be granted in conjunction with the installation of an ignition interlock device.
Refusing a Breathalyzer
Once you are pulled over for a DUI, the most important decision you will need to make is whether or not to submit to a chemical test (usually a Breathalyzer). Refusing to submit to a chemical test means the state will have a weaker case against you to prove a DUI. However, the refusal itself is a civil charge that carries significant fines and a mandatory license suspension that starts immediately, even before a hearing on the merits. Whether you should refuse the chemical test greatly depends on the circumstances of your DUI. Some factors to consider are whether it is your first offense, whether you previously refused a chemical test, whether your livelihood depends on having a driver’s license, or if a criminal conviction would cause you to lose your job. For many people, it makes sense to refuse the chemical test because the civil charge of refusal is preferable to the criminal charge of a DUI, but that is not always the case. The police can (and often do) still charge you with a DUI even if you refuse – the benefit of refusing is that a DUI case without a known blood alcohol level is harder to prove.
Avoid DUIs in the First Place
The best way to ensure you do not get convicted of a DUI is to avoid getting behind the wheel when you are over the legal limit. Sign up for Uber today and always know that a safe ride is a smartphone click away.