A police initiating a breathalyzer test to a driver.

In Rhode Island, when a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a motorist has been driving under the influence, they may ask the motorist to submit to a breath test, a urine test, or a blood test. Of these three tests, breathalyzers are the most common.  However, with the increase in “drugged” driving, blood and urine tests are becoming more common.

When a police officer requests that a motorist to submit to a chemical test, the only options available to the motorist are to (1) take the test being offered; or (2) refuse the test being offered. The motorist does not have the right to choose which chemical test s/he wishes to take.

Where the motorist requests a different type of test than the one being offered by police, the police will give the motorist one more opportunity to take the requested test before deeming the motorist has in fact “refused” the chemical test.

It is also important to note that the United States Supreme Court has further reduced a motorist’s “choice” in regard to chemical testing. Recently, in Mitchell v. Wisconsin, the Court ruled that police may instruct hospital staff to take a blood sample from an unconscious DUI suspect—even without a warrant or consent! To read more on this recent decision, please see Abilheira Law’s recent blog posted on July 2, 2019!

What Rights Do I Have If I am Asked to Take a Chemical Test in Rhode Island?

Under Rhode Island General Law § 31-27-2.1:

  • Only a physician, registered nurse, or a medical technician may draw blood. This is not something that the police may do, like a breath or urine test.
  • All motorists have the right to have a physician of his or her own choosing to administer additional chemical tests (aside from those administered by police).
  • Motorists have the right to make a confidential phone call.
  • Motorists have the right to be informed of all of their rights prior to making the decision to take or refuse a chemical test.
  • Motorists must be informed of all of the penalties they would face by refusing a chemical test.

Should I Refuse a Chemical Test in Rhode Island?

Our attorneys consistently answer this question for clients.  For this reason, we wrote a blog on this topic alone!

What are the Penalties if I Refuse a Chemical Test?

Individuals can face either a civil or criminal chemical test refusal charge depending on their prior record and the test requested.  For more information on these penalties, please see our detailed Chemical Test Refusal page.

Have More Questions Regarding Chemical Testing in DUI Cases in Rhode Island?

Contact Abilheira Law, LLC for your FREE consultation! Our defense attorneys are skilled in handling DUI cases and are dedicated to achieving a satisfactory result for our clients. Our experienced DUI lawyers have the knowledge necessary to inform you of your rights and options while defending your freedom and reputation. We are available 24/7 to address any concerns.

For more information, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys today! Call us now (401) 245-5100, or fill out our online form!