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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. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Winning a DUI case even with a failed breathtest

    Most people think that if you failed a breath test you can never beat a DUI charge.  This is simply not true.  Numerous defenses in DUI cases have always been there, but now more than ever,  a failed breath test may not lead to a DUI conviction.  The new law on DUI and refusals allowed the judges and magistrates in the traffic court to lower a person’s suspension on a refusal to 30 days, as long as the drivers have an ignition interlock system installed in their car.  This law was added so that drivers would not have to lose their license for the mandatory 6 months to 1 year, which in turn would often cause the drivers to lose their jobs in addition to their livelihood.  In return, the State would benefit by not allowing people that have been drinking to start their cars, through the requirement of the installation of an ignition interlock device in their car for a period of up to 2 years.  
    The requirement of the installation of the device, was supposed to be helpful to everyone because drivers that refused a test could keep their jobs and the citizens of Rhode Island would be safer because drunk drivers would not be able to start their cars and drive even if they just had one or two drinks.  
    However, a defective form called “Rights for Use at Station” was submitted to all the Rhode Island police departments from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.  As a result, a real legal question has arisen as to whether all DUI breath test cases are valid and whether their results are now in jeopardy of being excluded from the evidence.  The problem arises in that the “Rights for Use at Station” form is misleading in that it tells drivers that if they do not take the breath test their license will be suspended for a period of  6 months to 1 year.  This is no longer true.  The new law CLEARLY allows a defendant the possibility of getting his or her  license back as soon as 30 days provided that they get an ignition interlock system installed.  In addition, the defendant could also get what is called a “works license” even during the license suspension.  Because this form does not provide the defendant accurate information with respect to their legal rights, the defendant may have been misguided in taking a breath test because they feared the inaccurate penalties of refusing a breathalyzer test which were contained on the form.  Due to this inaccuracy, an argument can be made that the breath test against the defendant was misinformed therefore cannot be used against them.  If the breath test results are suppressed in a DUI case, the State will have a very difficult time in proving a DUI.  This problem with the form  has lead to numerous city and town solicitors reducing DUI’s to lesser charges.   If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need to call a Rhode Island DUI lawyer immediately.