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I am a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Rhode Island.  I handle all types of criminal cases, including, DUI, domestic violence cases, drug case, sex cases just to name a view. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rhode Island DUI, Refusals and Ignition Interlock Devices

   

 Rhode Island DUI Ignition Interlock Devices

    With the hopes of preventing the loss of lives due to drunk driving, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted a law authorizing the courts to prevent individuals found guilty of driving under the influence from driving vehicles that do not have an installed ignition interlock system.  This blog will explain more fully what an ignition interlock device is and the requirements associated with the device.
     An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is directly wired into the ignition inside of a vehicle and requires the driver of the vehicle to breath into the device prior to starting the vehicle.   This system will detect alcohol on a person's breath.  If the concentration of alcohol on a driver's breath is above the programmed limit of the device, the engine of the vehicle will not start.  As an individual drives the car, the device will periodically require breath samples to make sure there is not alcohol in the individual's system.
     If an individual has been adjudicated of driving under the influence and prohibited from operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, the individual must contact a company which has been certified by the State of Rhode Island to install, lease and sell the systems.  Currently, there are 4 companies certified by the State and are listed on the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicle's website.  These companies have been certified by the state because they have met strict government safety requirements.  All costs associated with the installation and monitoring of the system in addition to a court administrative fee will be required to be paid by the adjudicated individual.
     If the Court has ordered the use of an ignition interlock system, a notation is made on the person's driving record which will specify the period of use of the ignition system.   The Court will also require proof of the installation of the system and periodic reporting in order to verify the proper operation of the system.  The Court will also require the system to be monitored for proper use and accuracy by one of the certified companies at least every six months or more frequently as required.

Penalties for violation of Rhode Island DUI interlock law or DUI hardship license

     The Court will impose penalties on a person who violates the court order requiring the use of the system, who has altered or tampered with the system, has operated a vehicle not equipped with the required system or has asked another person to start the equipped vehicle for them.  Violation of the court order may result in a charge of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1000. 
  However, the violation of the use of a hardship license may be in question because under the current interlock law any individual who violates the use of their hardship license shall be subject to the penalties enumerated in Section 31-27.18.1.  The only problem is that under Rhode Island law there is no Section 31-27.18.1.  This creates a problem, in that, if a person is driving on their hardship license at the wrong times or the wrong places there may be no way of punishing them. 
    If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or Refusal, please contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with this newly enacted law and all of the other laws pertaining to your case.  I have been practicing criminal law for over 20 years and have vast experience with drunk driving defense.  Please call me today to discuss your case and to begin working on your defense.
      For more information please review my websites at www.rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com or  www.ridrunkdrivingattorney.com.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Update on new Rhode Island DUI law.

NEW RHODE ISLAND DUI LAW UPDATE 


On January 1, 2015, Rhode Island General Law §31-27-2  Driving Under Influence of Liquor or Drugs came into effect.  Since the date the law came into effect, it has become clear that there is much confusion with respect to what the new Rhode Island DUI and refusal law penalties hold. It is important that all attorneys practicing criminal defense read and understand this new law.   Over the last week, many attorneys have asked me what the new penalties are under the new Rhode Island DUI and Refusal law.  Let's be clear: the new DUI law lowers the minimum penalty for a Rhode Island DUI as long as the defendant is able to have an interlock system installed in their automobile. In addition, the law also allows for a defendant to be granted a work license as part of their disposition during the time of their minimum suspension.  This work license will be valid for 12 hours a day for the sole purpose of work.   I have seen many of the attorneys and even some judges have some confusion in determining what the new law allows.

NEW RHODE ISLAND DUI PENALTIES WITH INTERLOCK


If you are charged with a first offense refusal in Rhode Island, the minimum penalty can be reduced from 6 months to 30 days, as long as the person is ordered to have a interlock device on their automobile for a period of 6 months to 2 years.  If you are ordered to have an interlock device, then you can apply for a hardship license.

Any person with a DUI with no alcohol readings or a .01-.15 reading may have their license suspension reduced from a minimum of 90 days to 30 days, as long as they have an interlock system installed on their automobile for a period of 3 months to 1 year.  This will also allow them to apply  to have a hardship license for the 30 days.

Any person with a first offense with a reading between .08 and .1 will still have a minimum suspension of 30 days, but with the installation of the interlock system from 3 months to 1 year will be eligible for a hardship license.

Any person with reading of over .15, can have a reduction in their sentence to 30 days but must  have and interlock system in their automobile for 6 months  to 2 years.  They also may be eligible for a hardship license.

OVERVIEW OF INTERLOCK VS.  NO INTERLOCK

 

FIRST OFFENSE DUI OR REFUSAL


First offense DUI with reading of  over .08
With interlock                                                     Without interlock
Minimum 30 day loss of license,                          Minimum 30 day loss of license
May get hardship license                                       No hardship license
Interlock 3 months to 1 year


First offense DUI with reading of  over .10 to .15 or no reading.

With interlock                                                      Without interlock
Minimum 30 day loss of license,                           Minimum 90 day loss of license
May get hardship license                                        No hardship license
Interlock 3 months to 1 year 

First offense DUI with reading of  over .15
With interlock                                                      Must get interlock if over .15
Minimum 30 day loss of license,                
May get hardship license
Interlock 3 months to 1 year

First offense refusal
With interlock                                                     Without interlock
Minimum 30 day loss of license,                           Minimum 6 month loss of license
May get hardship license                                       No hardship license
Interlock 6 months to 2 years




SECOND OFFENSE DUI OR REFUSAL WITHIN 5 YEARS

All second DUI or refusal offenses must have a interlock

Second offense DUI with reading of  over .08 to .15 or no reading.

With interlock                                                    
Minimum 45 day loss of license,                          
May get hardship license
Interlock 6 months to 2 year                                      

Second offense DUI with reading of  over .15
With interlock                                                    
Minimum 45 day loss of license,                        
May get hardship license
Interlock 6 months to 2 years 
 

Second offense refusal
With interlock                                              
Minimum 60 day loss of license,                       
No hardship license                                     
Interlock 1 year to 4 years 

As you can see, there are many benefits to the newly enacted law.  In order to take advantage of these benefits, you must be sure to hire an experienced DUI Criminal Lawyer if you have been charged with DUI or Refusal in the State of Rhode Island.  I have been asked by many attorneys to clarify and interpret this law because of my extensive experience as a Criminal Lawyer who has defended many DUI and Refusal cases.  Please contact me to discuss your case and to determine the best strategy to defend your DUI or Refusal case and to determine how to take advantage of the benefits in the newly enacted penalties.
 
The law Office of Michael J. Zarrella has been helping people with their DUI and refusal cases for 20 years.  If you been arrested for DUI or refusal in Rhode Island  call him now at 523-5271 or email him at Mjzarrella@gmail.com.

For more information please review his websites at www.rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com or  www.ridrunkdrivingattorney.com.

               

              





Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New DUI laws

Starting January 1, 2015, a new DUI and refusal law will be going into effect in the State of Rhode Island.  As I previously blogged on November 6, 2014, this new DUI law will have a large impact on those people charged with DUI or chemical test refusals.  Rhode Island General Law §31-27-2  Driving Under Influence of Liquor or Drugs becomes effective January 1, 2015 and will allow a defendant the ability to have a work license in exchange for having an interlock system installed in their vehicle.  A work license, otherwise known as Cinderella license, hardship license, or restricted license all refer to the new Rhode Island law that allows a drunk driving or refusal offenders to drive for a legitimate purpose such as going to work. The hardship license will be valid only for twelve (12) hours per day to get to and from work and shall be given in conjunction with the installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle.

An ignition interlock device is connected to a vehicle’s ignition and requires the driver to blow into  the interlock device prior to starting the vehicle in addition to blowing into the device while the vehicle is operating. This is done in order to prevent a driver from being able to start his or her automobile or continue to drive the automobile if there is a detection of alcohol on his or her breath.

This law is very helpful in many ways.  First and foremost, this law will prevent drunk drivers from being able to start their cars. A second effect is that it will allow drivers who receive a DUI not to have their lives completely destroyed as a result of losing their ability to drive to and from their work.  This law will allow many people to keep their employment after a DUI.

Not everyone will be able to get a hardship license, since the law is new and complicated.  Now more then ever is it important that you hire the right lawyer to represent you in you drunk driving or breathalyzer refusal case.  The experienced DUI lawyer not only can help you win your case, but now can help you in your effort to receive a hardship license. 

Do not take chances with your future! You need to hire a top DUI/drunk driving lawyer now.  Call Attorney Michael J. Zarrella to review your case and help you plan a winning defense.  Attorney Michael Zarrella has been winning DUI/drunk driving cases for 20 years.  For more information please review his websites at www.rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com or  www.ridrunkdrivingattorney.com.