Proven Rhode Island DUI Attorney Ready To Fight For You

Serving the Drivers of Rhode Island Including Warren, Providence, Cranston, Newport, Bristol, Warwick, East Providence, Pawtucket, and Barrington

Call Our DUI Defense Law Firm Today At (401) 245-5100

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  • Free Case Consultations
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  • Dedicated & Aggressive Representation
  • Timely & Consistent Communication
  • Backed By An Exceptional Track Record Of Success

Man in Rhode Island driving under the influence of alcohol.Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious charge and can have a tremendous impact on your reputation, family, and career. If charged, you could face severe consequences. At Abilheira Law, LLC, we utilize aggressive and creative legal solutions to defend clients. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can begin building a strong case in your defense.

Depending on your blood alcohol content, previous criminal history, and several other factors, a DUI charge is punishable by jail time. The result of such a charge and conviction can lead to license suspensions, the imposition of an ignition interlock device, heavy fines, increased car insurance rates, and a criminal record that you could have for the rest of your life. When the stakes are this high, it is important to contact an experienced Rhode Island DUI attorney. The RI DUI defense attorneys at Abilheira Law, LLC will evaluate your individual case and provide you with clear explanations of all your options.

No matter your situation, we can help.
Tell us about your DUI charges in a free case evaluation.

A DUI charge is often based upon the evidence that is collected at the scene of the arrest. Therefore, one effective defense strategy is to challenge the accuracy, legality, and relevance of that evidence.

The following types of evidence can be successfully challenged in court:

  • Field Sobriety Tests (FST) – The purpose of an FST is to gather more evidence of intoxication. Most people do not realize that they are not required to perform an FST when asked. These tests are very subjective and often do not adequately determine the level of intoxication. We can evaluate the administration of these tests and the conditions under which they took place.
  • Breath test evidence – Often the most crucial evidence used in DUI cases. Breathalyzer machines are often improperly calibrated or maintained. Challenging this type of evidence includes understanding the officer’s training in breath testing, the protocol for administering a breathalyzer, inspecting the unit itself, and calling upon expert witnesses to discuss the science behind the device.

In every DUI case, the prosecution has several elements that they must meet in order to convict someone of the charge. When you retain the representation of our RI DUI defenses attorneys, we conduct a thorough investigation of your arrest to expose any errors or violations of your rights.

Common defenses include:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion to initiate a motor vehicle stop
  • Improper administration of Field Sobriety Tests
  • Improper administration of Chemical Tests/Breathalyzer
  • Failure to fully advise motorists of their rights

Reasonable Suspicion

The prosecution must prove that the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle. Typically, officers have reasonable suspicion to pull you over if they observe a minor traffic violation. For example, running a stop sign, swerving between lanes, and speeding. However, an anonymous tip is not enough for an officer to pull over a vehicle for suspected drunk driving.

Improper Administration of Field Sobriety Tests

Man taking a field test with a police in Rhode Island.There are three Field Sobriety Tests that are sanctioned by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration and they are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test,
  • Walk and Turn Test (WAT), and the
  • One-leg Stand Test (OLS).

Police officers are trained in the proper administration of these tests, but that does not always mean that they perform them properly in the field. And with video recorders being installed on more and more police cars these days, prosecutors and defense lawyers alike often go to the video to help assess the accuracy of test administration in any given case.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

The word “nystagmus” is unfamiliar to many of us. Nystagmus essentially means an involuntary “jerking” of the eye that tends to happen when a subject follows an object (like a pen) from left to right and back again. As either eye approaches the peripheral vision zone, if it begins to jerk or tremble, this is considered a sign of impairment.

The problem with this test is that it can be administered in such a way that it negates its validity. For instance, if the officer moves their pen or flashlight too quickly from side to side, this can invalidate the results. Additionally, some medical conditions and/or other substances that do not cause impairment – like caffeine or aspirin – can also create nystagmus. So this is an area that could be explored by your Rhode Island DUI attorney.

Walk and Turn; and One-Leg Stand

These exercises are used to test two things: your ability to follow instructions, and your level of physical impairment. But there are many flaws in how they can be administered, and many reasons other than impairment that can account for any lack of accuracy in performance.

For instance, it is fairly common for officers to be so acquainted with the instructions for WAT or OLS that they breeze by these complex instructions rapidly – while expecting perfect comprehension on the part of the anxiety-filled detainee. The officer will usually then say, “do you understand these instructions,” to which most people will answer “yes” because they are still in shock.

Obviously, many who attempt these exercises fail. They can forget certain details in the instructions or do something that the officer considers a sign of impairment – when in reality the detainee is simply overwhelmed by the process and unclear as to what they are actually supposed to do.

Also, many people have physical limitations or impairments that will cause them to perform poorly on these tests, whether they are intoxicated or not. The need for a lawyer to thoroughly comb through the police report and any video footage of the tests cannot be overstated.

Administration of Chemical Tests/Breathalyzers

For chemical test results and breathalyzer results to be admissible, the prosecution must prove five basic elements. First, they must prove that the motorist consented to the test. Second, the prosecution must prove that a true copy of the results was mailed to the motorist, within a certain period of time. Third, the State must prove that the test was performed according to the methods and equipment approved by the Department of Health, which includes taking two samples within fifteen (15) minutes of each other. The fourth element requires the prosecution to prove that the machine was tested within the last 30 days and the officer who administered the test was certified within the last year. Finally, the motorist must be given the opportunity to have their own independent test done.

Rights During and After a DUI Stop

An individual charged with a DUI must be informed of several rights including the Miranda rights, the right to be examined by a doctor, the right to refuse to submit to a chemical test, and the right to a confidential phone call. Additionally, a suspect must be notified of the consequences of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test. Recently, several DUI cases in Rhode Island have been amended or dismissed based on officers using an incorrect or inaccurate rights form.

Don’t Wait-Contact Our RI DUI Defense Lawyer Today

At Abilheira Law, LLC our experienced RI DUI defense attorneys will guide you through the DUI process while explaining your legal options and preparing an aggressive defense. We proudly serve clients throughout Rhode Island. At our firm, our RI DUI lawyers never take our clients’ charges lightly, always going above and beyond to secure the best outcome possible. We are relentless in our defense, strategic in our negotiations, and fearless when it comes to taking our clients’ cases all the way to trial.

Time of the essence when fighting DUI charges.
Give our firm a call today at (401) 245-5100!

When your future is at stake, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer. Our Rhode Island DUI lawyer can evaluate your individual case and provide you with clear explanations of all your legal options. Allison Abilheira is dedicated to providing personalized, aggressive, and effective legal solutions for our clients. We are prepared to fight for you!

Depending on the amount of alcohol found in your blood, your prior criminal history, and other factors, a DUI in Rhode Island is punishable by jail time. A DUI charge and conviction can result in:

  • License suspensions
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Heavy fines
  • Increased car insurance rates
  • Criminal record

First Offense DUI Penalties

BAC .08-.10
  • Up to one year in jail
  • License suspension, 1-6 months
  • 10-60 hours of community service
  • $100-300 fine
  • Mandatory costs & assessments
  • Possible treatment program
  • Possible ignition interlock
BAC .10-.15 and BAC Unknown
  • Up to one year in jail
  • License suspension, 3-12 months
  • 10-60 hours of community service
  • $100-400 fine
  • Mandatory costs & assessments
  • Mandatory treatment program
  • Possible ignition interlock
BAC .15 or greater
  • Up to one year in jail
  • License Suspension 3-18 months
  • 20-60 hours of community service
  • $500 fine
  • Mandatory costs & assessments
  • Mandatory treatment program
  • Mandatory ignition interlock

Second Offense DUI Penalties

BAC .08-.15 or BAC Unknown
  • Mandatory imprisonment: 10 days to 1 year
  • License Suspension 1-2 years
  • $400 fine
  • Mandatory costs and assessments
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device
BAC .15 or greater
  • Mandatory imprisonment: 6 months to 1 year
  • License suspension of 2 years
  • $1000 fine
  • Mandatory costs and assessments
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device

Third Offense DUI Penalties

BAC .08-.15 and BAC Unknown
  • Felony if within 5 years of the second offense
  • Mandatory imprisonment for 1 to 3 years
  • License Suspension 2 -3 years
  • $400 fine
  • Mandatory costs and assessments
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment required
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device
BAC .15 or greater
  • Felony if within 5 years of the second offense
  • Mandatory 3-5 year imprisonment
  • License Suspension of 3 years
  • $1000-5000 fine
  • Mandatory costs and assessments
  • Mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment required
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device

Allison is a fantastic lawyer and will go above & beyond for her clients. She was able to turn a very messy and complicated dui charge into something that was manageable, and I was able to maintain my ability to drive and go to work. I can’t give enough praise, Allison really knows what she is doing.
-S

What does BAC mean and what is the legal limit in RI?
BAC stands for blood alcohol content or concentration.  In Rhode Island, the legal limit is 0.08%.  However, the legal limit for drivers under the age of twenty-one (21) is 0.02% and the legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%.

What is a field sobriety test and what are the most common types?
A field sobriety test (FST) is a standardized test that police officers across the country are trained to administer to drivers that they suspect are under the influence of alcohol. The three most common FST’s are the one-leg stand (balancing on one leg for a period of time, without the use of arms for balance), the walk-and-turn test (walking on a straight line using heel-to-toe- steps), and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN).

Can you refuse to take FST’s in Rhode Island?
Yes! There is no penalty for refusing to take the FST’s.

Can you refuse a breathalyzer test in Rhode Island?
Yes, you can refuse a breathalyzer and/or other chemical tests, but you will face a chemical test refusal charge.

Will my license be suspended because of a chemical test refusal or breathalyzer refusal in Rhode Island?
Yes, your license will normally be suspended at the time of your arraignment or initial appearance at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. This is because of the theory of “implied consent.”  At your refusal arraignment, the judge or magistrate will review the police officer’s sworn statement (affidavit) to ensure that the police officer had a reason to believe that you, as the operator of a motor vehicle, were under the influence of alcohol at the time you were pulled over and that the officer advised you of your rights. So long as the judge is satisfied that these conditions occurred, a preliminary suspension will issue. Please note, if your license is ultimately suspended after a plea or guilty finding on the refusal charge or DUI charge, you will receive credit for the preliminary suspension period. We highly recommend you hire a skilled RI DUI defense lawyer.

How long will my license be suspended for because of a breathalyzer refusal in Rhode Island?

  • A first offense breathalyzer refusal conviction in Rhode Island carries a license suspension of six (6) months to one (1) year.
  • A conviction for a second offense breathalyzer refusal in Rhode Island carries a license suspension of one (1) to two (2) years.
  • A third or subsequent breathalyzer refusal conviction in Rhode Island carries a license suspension of two (2) to five (5) years.

However, the loss of license mentioned above may be able to be reduced to as little as thirty days in a first offense refusal if you install an ignition interlock device. Additionally, if you are eligible for a conditional hardship license, you may never lose your license on a first offense breathalyzer refusal. For more on breathalyzer refusal penalties, including possible license suspensions please visit our Refusal page.

On what conditions may a breathalyzer result get thrown out/suppressed?
Chemical test results can be suppressed if the police did not properly advise the motorist of their rights. Chemical test results can also be suppressed if the test was not administered properly.  For example, if the machine was not calibrated or if the police did not adhere to the observation period.

I have been charged with a DUI, am I going to lose my license?
A DUI charge or accusation alone will not trigger a license suspension, but a DUI conviction will ultimately result in license suspension as part of your sentence.

When will I lose my license if I have been charged with a DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI, your license will be suspended at the time you are sentenced. Sentencing will occur at the time of a plea or after a guilty finding at trial.

How long will my license be suspended for because of a DUI?
The length of your license suspension will depend on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest and whether or not you have prior alcohol-related offenses. For example:

  • First Offense (.08-.10): License suspension of 1-6 months
  • First Offense (.10-.15 or BAC Unknown): License suspension of 3-12 months
  • First Offense (.15 or greater) License Suspension of 3-18 months
  • Second Offense (.08-.15 or BAC Unknown): License Suspension of 1-2 years
  • Second Offense (.15 or greater): License suspension of 2 years
  • Third Offense (.08-.15 and BAC Unknown): License Suspension of 2 -3 years
  • Third Offense (.15 or greater): License Suspension of 3 years

However, the loss of license mentioned above may be able to be reduced to as little as thirty days in a first offense DUI if you install an ignition interlock device. Additionally, if you are eligible for a conditional hardship license, you may never lose your license on a first offense DUI. For more on DUI penalties, including possible license suspensions please visit our DUI Penalty page.

Will I be able to drive after a DUI or refusal?

Driver being tested with a breathalyzer in RI.

You may be able to drive during your license suspension period if you have a conditional hardship license.  This license can allow you to drive for employment, educational, medical, and other reasons with the court’s permission. Alternatively, you may be able to cut down your license suspension period if you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

If you are not eligible for a conditional hardship license and do not install an ignition interlock device, you will be able to drive once your license suspension period is over and you have reinstated your license at the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For more information on your specific case, contact an experienced RI DUI defense lawyer.

What are the pros and cons of installing an ignition interlock system in your vehicle?
There are many advantages and disadvantages of installing an ignition interlock system.

Advantages:

  • You will be able to seek a conditional hardship license to drive to and from work, school, and other approved activities
  • You will be able to reduce your license suspension to as little as thirty (30) days.
  • It will be easier to maintain sobriety, as you will constantly be responsible for submitting chemical test results to the DMV.

Disadvantages:

  • Interlocks can be costly: you will need to pay to install and uninstall the device, you will have to pay a monthly monitoring fee, and you will have to pay a fee to the DMV.
  • It can be embarrassing if you drive with family and friends, as they will likely see you blow into the device
  • Family and friends will not be able to drive your vehicle while the ignition interlock is installed
  • You are limited to driving only the vehicle with the interlock installed- you cannot rent another car or borrow a friend or family member’s car- or you could be charged with a criminal offense.
  • You can be charged with additional criminal offenses if you are found to be altering or tampering with the device.

My license was issued from another state, not Rhode Island, how will a DUI or refusal impact my ability to drive?
If you are not licensed in the State of Rhode Island, Rhode Island will only have the ability to prohibit or restrict your privilege to operate a motor vehicle within the State of Rhode Island.  This means that Rhode Island cannot suspend your out-of-state driver’s license. Therefore, you are free to drive in any state, other than Rhode Island, unless and until the state who issued your driver’s license decides to suspend your license.

What is the “look-back period” in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, the DUI/refusal look-back period is five (5) years.  This means that you can be charged with a second or subsequent offense DUI or refusal if your first offense conviction occurred within five (5) years of your second or third conviction.

Do criminal penalties increase if you have multiple DUI charges?
Yes, in addition to the longer license suspension periods described above, the other DUI penalties also increase with each additional DUI.  A second offense, within a five (5) year period, in the State of RI or in any other state, will include mandatory jail time, as well as enhanced fines, and mandatory counseling. Even if the convictions do not occur within five (5) years of each other, prosecutors may still use prior DUI and refusal convictions to enhance your sentence. Call our Rhode Island DUI lawyer for advice on how to proceed if you have multiple DUI charges.

Can I plead to a lesser offense?
If the prosecution’s case contains serious flaws, you may be able to plead to a lesser offense.  In Rhode Island, a reckless driving charge is considered a lesser offense to a DUI and does not include the harsh penalties associated with a DUI.  For example, a reckless driving charge will usually result in a filing, which is not a criminal conviction in Rhode Island and can be expunged after one year.  A reckless driving charge generally does not include a license suspension, DUI school, or the increased fines associated with a DUI.

What is SR-22 insurance and how does it vary from “regular” insurance?
SR-22 insurance is a “financial responsibility” policy.  Essentially, it is an additional insurance policy, above and beyond your normal motor vehicle insurance.

Will I need an SR-22 if I have been charged with a DUI or refusal in Rhode Island?
If you are convicted of a DUI or a Chemical Test Refusal in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles will require an SR-22 or proof of financial responsibility policy.  This policy must be on file with the DMV prior to reinstating your driving privileges.  Additionally, you must maintain this policy for a period of three (3) years.

What are the consequences of continuing to drive after your license is suspended for a DUI or refusal?
If you are arrested for driving during a license suspension period imposed as a result of a DUI or refusal, you will face a criminal charge under Rhode Island General Laws §31-11-18.1.  A first offense is a misdemeanor and penalties include a mandatory ten (10) days in jail, a $500 fine, and an additional three (3) month license suspension period. A second offense is also a misdemeanor with penalties that include six (6) months to one (1) year at the ACI, a $500 fine, and an additional six (6) month license suspension period. Third and subsequent offenses are felonies and can include a minimum prison sentence of one (1) year.

Why is obtaining a lawyer in a drunk driving case highly recommended?
DUI and refusal cases are extremely technical.  There are a series of requirements that the police must follow and if they do not, it could be grounds to have a case reduced to a lesser included offense or dismissed completely.  Without training and expertise, it is impossible to spot these issues and defend against these charges. Hiring a skilled RI DUI attorney will give your best chance to beat these charges!

Why should you hire counsel even if you intend to plead guilty?
Even if you intend to plead guilty to a DUI or refusal, you should consider hiring an experienced RI DUI lawyer, who can negotiate the best possible offer.  If you have been charged with both a DUI and refusal in RI, your DUI attorney can also ensure that you are not subject to penalties on both, as they can negotiate a dismissal of one of the charges.

Offices Located in Providence and Warren

Attorney Allison C. Abilheira catering clients with DUI cases in Rhode Island.If you have been arrested for a DUI, our Rhode Island DUI defense attorney is ready to help. We understand how much is at stake when you are faced with a DUI conviction and we have the skill and expertise necessary to aggressively defend your future.

With our DUI defenses law firm on your side, you can feel confident knowing that your reputation, career, and freedom are in good hands. Through the employment of personalized and inventive legal strategies, we can develop a defense that gives you the best chance at securing a positive outcome.

Building an effective defense starts with an initial consultation, where our skilled RI DUI lawyers will analyze the facts of your case and explain your legal rights.

Don’t hesitate! Contact the Rhode Island DUI attorney at Abilheira Law, LLC today and get our skilled and aggressive RI DUI attorneys working for you! 401-245-5100

It is strictly illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Rhode Island if you have any amount of a scheduled controlled substance in your bloodstream. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs – sometimes called a DUI with drugs – you stand to face the same penalties as a DUI related to alcohol intoxication.

In Rhode Island, driving with any quantity of drugs in one’s system is illegal. This harsh method of determining illegality is largely due to the fact that it is not widely understood how a drug can affect someone’s driving ability in small amounts. To be “safe” about it, legislation has been drafted to make it outright illegal.

If police detect any narcotic presence, they can make an arrest and file charges. The actual date of ingestion is irrelevant and because many drugs are known to linger in a person’s system for days, despite having no active psychological impact any longer, it is important to have an experienced RI DUI drug lawyer handle your case.

It is worth noting that it is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, not just an illegal narcotic. A driver can be charged for a DUI with drugs if he or she only took over-the-counter or prescription medicine, but can no longer safely operate a vehicle.

A family driving in Rhode Island.If you get arrested for a DUI with a child in the car in Rhode Island, in addition to the normal statutory DUI penalties, the prosecution will likely seek to impose a sentence enhancement. A sentence enhancement allows, and sometimes require, courts to increase a criminal defendant’s sentence beyond the normal range given the unique circumstances at hand. In DUI cases involving a minor child in the car at the time, Rhode Island uses sentence enhancements to make the accused’s consequences more severe.

Under Rhode Island General Laws § 31-27-2(d)(5)(ii) “any person over the age of eighteen (18) who is convicted under this section for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of these, while a child under the age of thirteen (13) years was present as a passenger in the motor vehicle when the offense was committed shall” face the following:

First Offense

  • Misdemeanor
  • Jail for up to one (1) year
  • Probation
  • Fine up to $1,000.00
  • Up to a $500 Highway Assessment
  • Immediate license suspension while the case is pending
  • License can be suspended for up to two (2) years
  • Attendance at a DUI course and alcohol or drug education and/or treatment

Second Offense

  • Felony
  • Jail up to five (5) years
  • Probation
  • Fine up to $5,000.00
  • Up to a $500 Highway Assessment
  • Immediate license suspension while the case is pending
  • License can be suspended for up to two (2) years
  • Attendance at a DUI course and alcohol or drug education and/or treatment.

Don’t face these harsh penalties today, get the attorneys from Abilheira Law, LLC on your side today. Call us now- 401-245-5100.

Perhaps even more concerning than the penalties listed above, a DUI involving a minor in the car will be reported to DCYF (Department of Children, Youth, and Families). DCYF caseworkers will perform their own investigation and have the power to take away your child. Rhode Island judges do not take child endangerment charges lightly. Because the family court always considers the best interests of the child, courts tend to be relentless when a child’s welfare is believed to be at risk.
Fight for your freedom and fight to keep your children with Abilheira Law, LLC in your corner- contact our experienced attorneys today!

Why Should I Hire a DUI Attorney Under These Circumstances?

Aside from the heightened penalties when a child is involved, you may think your case seems pretty straight-forward and that it will likely be a waste of money to hire an attorney for your defense. However, each DUI case is different, and the outcome of a case may fall on the presentation of the defense, which is much more likely to be in your favor if you retain experienced counsel!

We have a proven track record of success- we invite you to read our recent DUI case results and client reviews!

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of criminal charges cases, including:

Let us build your defense today- contact the skilled DUI attorneys at Abilheira Law, LLC: call us now (401) 401-245-5100, or fill out our online form!

In Rhode Island, teenagers are allowed to drive at age 16. As a result, parents can often expect the occasional speeding ticket or minor accident. Unfortunately, some teens make the decision to drive after having illegally consumed alcohol.

Since the legal drinking age in Rhode Island is 21, any individual under 21 but over the age of 18, will be charged with driving while impaired, if found to be driving under the influence. For teens in this category, the legal limit is not .08%, but rather just .02%.

Under RI General Laws § 31-27-2.7(d), driving while impaired is not a criminal offense, but rather a civil violation adjudicated in the District Court. Despite the civil nature, the penalties for a minor found to be driving while impaired are severe and include:

First Offense

  • A fine up to ($250)
  • Thirty (30) hours of community service
  • License suspension for 1-3 months
  • DUI driving course and/or alcohol/drug treatment

Second or Subsequent Offense

  • A fine up to ($250)
  • $300 highway assessment
  • Sixty (60) hours of community service
  • License suspension for 3-6 months
  • DUI driving course and alcohol/drug treatment

When your child is facing Rhode Island underage DUI charges, it is crucial that you retain qualified counsel to defend their future and their reputation. Don’t wait another minute to pursue counsel! Contact our firm at (401) 245-5100.

Sometimes teens under the age of 18 can find themselves facing serious DUI charges as a result of drinking and driving. Since they are minors, their charges will be adjudicated in the Family Court. However, the penalties can still have a significant impact on a young driver. Under Rhode Island General Law § 31-27-2(d)(7)(i), the penalties include:

First Offense:

  • $500 fine
  • License suspension for 3 to 18 months
  • 10 to 60 hours of community service
  • Mandatory driving school and/or alcohol treatment program

Second Offense & Subsequent Violations:

  • Up to 1 year at the Rhode Island Training School
  • $500 fine
  • Mandatory license suspension until age 21

Protect Your Child’s Future—Call Us

Minors charged with DUI or driving while impaired can face a unique set of consequences. With their reputation, educational career, and future employment on the line, you should contact an experienced Rhode Island DUI lawyer at our firm right away. Abilheira Law, LLC has offices in both Providence and Warren, and serves clients throughout Rhode Island. We can help guide your loved one through the complex DUI process while keeping you informed of their rights and defense options every step of the way.

Reach out to us today at (401) 245-5100 for a free case evaluation.

When summer comes to the Ocean State, Rhode Island residents and visitors flock to State’s many waterways for summer fun. During this time, the Rhode Island State Police and Department of Environmental Management (DEM) turn their attention to patrolling the waterways for people boating under the influence (BUI).

If you or a loved one has been charged with boating under the influence, call the experienced Rhode Island BUI Defense Attorneys at Abilheira Law, LLC today.

What is boating under the influence?

In this state, the law prohibits individuals from operating or driving a watercraft while intoxicated. A watercraft is widely defined to include any device that allows for transportation by water and has even been interpreted to include canoes and other boats without motors.

BUI penalties

The penalties for BUI, much like those for DUI, hinge on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the operator. Individuals may face a civil violation, misdemeanor, or felony depending on their BAC level.

First Offense BUI- BAC of .08% to .1%

Individuals in this category will face a civil violation with penalties that include:

  • Suspension of the individual’s privilege to operate a watercraft for 45 days
  • A fine of $100 to $250
  • Ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of community service
  • Attendance at a Boating Safety Course approved by DEM

First Offense BUI- BAC of .1% to .15% or BAC unknown

Individuals in this category will face a criminal misdemeanor charge, which may result in jail time for up to one year and other mandatory penalties including:

  • Suspension of the individual’s privilege to operate a watercraft for 3 to 6 months
  • A fine of $100 to $300
  • Ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of community service
  • Attendance at a Boating Safety Course approved by DEM and/or alcohol or drug treatment

First Offense BUI- .15% or above

Individuals in this category will also face a criminal misdemeanor charge, which may result in up to one year in jail and other mandatory penalties including:

  • Suspension of the individual’s privilege to operate a watercraft for 3 to 6 months
  • A fine of $500
  • Twenty (20) to sixty (60) hours of community service
  • Attendance at a Boating Safety Course approved by DEM and/or alcohol or drug treatment

Enhanced BUI penalties

Anyone convicted of a second or third BUI within a five (5) year period will face enhanced penalties, including mandatory jail time.

Individuals may also face enhanced penalties for BUI if they are found to be boating under the influence with children under the age of thirteen (13) in the watercraft.

Additionally, anyone who operates a watercraft under the influence and causes the death or serious bodily injury of another shall be charged with a felony and may face mandatory jail time of one (1) to three (3) years.

Experienced Rhode Island BUI Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been charged with BUI, contact our boating under influence defense lawyers. Our dedicated BUI defense attorneys will fight to keep you out of jail and out on the water!

Don’t wait- call our Rhode Island BUI defense lawyers today for BUI Defense – (401) 245-5100.