When it comes to Rhode Island DUI Laws, we rank a little on the lenient side. A study by WalletHub ranked the 50 United States – DC included – in order of strictest to most lenient based on DUI laws. Top honors for strictest DUI laws went to Arizona, Alaska, Connecticut, West Virginia and Kansas. Bringing up the tail end on the lenient side is South Dakota, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Maryland.
Rhode Island ties with Indiana at number 34, putting us on the lenient side of average. WalletHub used 15 key metrics during their study to determine their hierarchy of DUI offending states. Metrics included jail time for offense, repeat offender penalties, fines, additional penalties and at what level a DUI is considered a felony.
Rhode Island DUI Laws
In Rhode Island, a first time DUI offender is subject to vehicle impoundment, a minimum $100 fine and subject to additional penalties, such as community service. On a second DUI offense, the driver’s penalties multiply. Penalties for a second offender include vehicle impoundment, a minimum fine of $400, and a 10-day minimum jail sentence. Dependant upon the driver’s BAC level, additional penalties may be tacked on.
When a Rhode Island driver is convicted of a DUI for the 3rd time, penalties go up substantially. At this level, the offense may potentially be considered a felony. Penalties include anywhere from 1-5 years in jail, fees of $5,000, a suspended license for two years and an Ignition Interlock Device (IDD) installed in their car for a set period of time.
Rhode Island is a “washout” state. This means in order for DUI offenses to be considered repeat behavior they must occur within a 5 year period. Otherwise, the offense will be considered as two separate first-time offenses. Also, Rhode Island does not impose an Administrative License Suspension, or an ALS. States with an ALS require the driver’s license to be immediately confiscated if they refuse to take a field or breathalyzer test, or if their test reads above a .08.