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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. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

DUI charge? Refusal charge? Don't go a day without being able to drive to work.

When a person refuses a breath test and is charged with a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, the consequences are swift and severe.  Unlike a driving under the influence charge, in the case of a refusal charge the traffic judge or magistrate can and often will  suspend your license at the arraignment.  The consequences can be devastating and often the damage from the preliminary suspension is irreversible. A person with a preliminary suspension can lose their job or have to drop out of school.

Recently, the state of Rhode Island passed a new law that allows a driver to seek a hardship license at the time of the arraignment for a refusal.  A motorist can receive a conditional hardship license in certain cases.  The conditional hardship license will allow a motorist to drive for the purposes of work or school for a period of twelve (12) hours a day.  This is crucial for those individuals who have to drive themselves to work or school.  

The rules on a receiving a hardship license are pretty basic.   If you are going to apply for the Hardship License under Rhode Island law at arraignment, it is often best to have the interlock installed ahead of time.  If the device is installed before arraignment, you don’t have to go without a licence while you get the device installed.  The reason this is important is that although some judges and magistrates will continue the case without a suspension so that you can get a interlock device installed others will not and will suspend your license at the first appearance.

No hardship license can be issued without the installation of the interlock.  An ignition interlock is a device which prevents an automobile from being operated  if the driver has been drinking. Specifically, the interlock is a  breathalyzer machine, that will not allow the automobile to start if the driver has been drinking alcohol.  

This ignition interlock in conjunction with proof of employment, work hours and a proof of a hardship need will allow a person to receive a hardship license at the first court appearance.
This will allow a motorist to continue to work while the refusal case is pending.  Furthermore, the time that the motorist is under the preliminary hardship order will almost always count toward any suspension he or she will face.  

It is important to hire an experienced attorney, when dealing with a Rhode Island DUI or refusal case.  Make sure the Rhode Island DUI lawyer has a thorough understanding of the rules, defenses  and the consequences of a drunk driving and refusal case. The fact is that the consequences of a conviction are mammoth and include having your license suspended, having a criminal record, paying large fines and assessments, higher insurance rates and in some cases possible jail time.  It is essential that you hire a reliable and experienced Rhode Island DUI attorney.  

I have been defending motorists charged with DUI and refusals for over 20 years.   If you have been arrested call my law office, the Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella at (401) 523-5271. Additionally, for more information please review my websites at www.rhodeislanddefenselawyer.com or  www.ridrunkdrivingattorney.com.