Rhode Island DUI, Refusals and Ignition Interlock Devices

Posted by Michael Zarrella | Jan 24, 2015 | 0 Comments


 Rhode Island DUI Ignition Interlock Devices

    With the hopes of preventing the loss of lives due to drunk driving, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted a law authorizing the courts to prevent individuals found guilty of driving under the influence from driving vehicles that do not have an installed ignition interlock system.  This blog will explain more fully what an ignition interlock device is and the requirements associated with the device.
     An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is directly wired into the ignition inside of a vehicle and requires the driver of the vehicle to breath into the device prior to starting the vehicle.   This system will detect alcohol on a person's breath.  If the concentration of alcohol on a driver's breath is above the programmed limit of the device, the engine of the vehicle will not start.  As an individual drives the car, the device will periodically require breath samples to make sure there is not alcohol in the individual's system.
     If an individual has been adjudicated of driving under the influence and prohibited from operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, the individual must contact a company which has been certified by the State of Rhode Island to install, lease and sell the systems.  Currently, there are 4 companies certified by the State and are listed on the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicle's website.  These companies have been certified by the state because they have met strict government safety requirements.  All costs associated with the installation and monitoring of the system in addition to a court administrative fee will be required to be paid by the adjudicated individual.
     If the Court has ordered the use of an ignition interlock system, a notation is made on the person's driving record which will specify the period of use of the ignition system.   The Court will also require proof of the installation of the system and periodic reporting in order to verify the proper operation of the system.  The Court will also require the system to be monitored for proper use and accuracy by one of the certified companies at least every six months or more frequently as required.

Penalties for violation of Rhode Island DUI interlock law or DUI hardship license

     The Court will impose penalties on a person who violates the court order requiring the use of the system, who has altered or tampered with the system, has operated a vehicle not equipped with the required system or has asked another person to start the equipped vehicle for them.  Violation of the court order may result in a charge of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1000. 
  However, the violation of the use of a hardship license may be in question because under the current interlock law any individual who violates the use of their hardship license shall be subject to the penalties enumerated in Section 31-27.18.1.  The only problem is that under Rhode Island law there is no Section 31-27.18.1.  This creates a problem, in that, if a person is driving on their hardship license at the wrong times or the wrong places there may be no way of punishing them. 
    If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or Refusal, please contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with this newly enacted law and all of the other laws pertaining to your case.  I have been practicing criminal law for over 20 years and have vast experience with drunk driving defense.  Please call me today to discuss your case and to begin working on your defense.
      For more information please review my websites at or

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