An Experienced Rhode Island DUI and Refusal Attorney

A Rhode Island DUI or Refusal arrest has serious consequences. You may lose your Rhode Island driver's license, experience a substantial increase in car insurance rates, pay large fines and court costs and possibly face jail time.

If you're facing DUI charges, you need to know that someone is watching out for your best interests and making sure you take advantage of all the legal protections available to you. You need someone to help you decide whether you should challenge the results of a breath test, question the arresting officer's testimony, challenge the basis for the motor vehicle stop, or minimize the sanctions you face to the greatest extent possible.

Unlike some DUI lawyers Attorney Friel does not merely escort you to the courtroom in order to plead guilty as charged, however instead he is dedicated to successful results and protecting your future.

Criminal and Administrative Penalties

When you take a drink and then go out and drive in Rhode Island you face getting yourself arrested and charged under this state’s Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) and/or Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test (“Refusal”) laws—that can have a devastating impact on your life.

The drunk driving laws of Rhode Island and the United States Supreme Court make it easy for you to be pulled over. Police officers are allowed to pull you over based on a “reasonable suspicion” that you are committing a crime, i.e. driving under the influence. They can pull you over and ask you questions without first having advised you of your constitutional rights. This is called an investigative detention. You have the constitutional right to refuse to answer any questions.

During and after the stop the officer is observing, listening and using his sense of smell to determine if you have consumed any alcohol or drugs which, in the officer’s opinion, made you unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. The officer is also evaluating your dexterity, sense of balance and the sound of your speech—slurring of words. If your are asked if you consumed a drink containing alcohol, the officer will more than likely ask you to get out of the vehicle to perform some tests.

The police officer’s observation of your driving, his stopping you, talking with you and testing you is all being done to establish probable cause to arrest you. Once he asks you out of the car he will have you perform the following field sobriety tests—an eye test called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk And Turn Test and the One Leg Stand Test. He will give you these tests after instructing you what to do in order to determine whether or not you can do several things at the same time—a type of diverted attention test. He is trying to determine if alcohol has affected your ability to listen to instructions and then perform the tests according to those instructions.

When you are arrested he will take you to the police station and offer you a breath test. Rhode Island law says that if you drive in this state you give your implied consent to submit to a chemical by the police. Before asking you to take a test he advises you with regard to the testing procedure and what happens if you take the test or refuse to take the test. He should then gives you the opportunity to call an attorney for a confidential telephone call.

Driving Under the Influence in Rhode Island means you potentially have to appear in two separate forums:

  1. The criminal court system with jail, fines, probation and license suspension a possibility; and
  2. The Rode Island Traffic Tribunal, an administrative procedure where license suspension may occur prior to trial under certain circumstances.

Contact An Experienced Attorney To Discuss Your DUI/Refusal Case

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23.