Rhode Island DUI and refusal laws now allow a motorist to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle to greatly reduce the amount of their license suspension. Under the old law, if a motorist was convicted of a refusal he or she would receive a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of the license and a minimum of 90 days for a DUI. This often lead to motorists with good jobs losing their employment because they did not have the ability to get back and forth to work. Students who committed to school would have to take a semester off. As a Rhode Island DUI lawyer, I know first hand the importance of the ignition interlock and hardship licenses. Many of my clients obtain conditional driving privileges after being charged with DUI or a Refusal. The ignition interlock and hardship license provides three main advantages to a motorist. First, drivers will be allowed to drive back and forth to work during their suspension period. Two, the suspension can be reduced to as low as 30 days for first time DUI or refusal offenders. Third, on a refusal case, normally a judge or magistrate will suspend your license at the arraignment. However, under the new hardship law, a judge can order a hardship license so that the defendant can drive back and forth to work while his case is being litigated.
What is the Ignition Interlock?
The Ignition Interlock is mechanism attached to your car that can determine if there is alcohol in your breath. The Ignition Interlock will prevent you from starting your vehicle if a certain amount of alcohol is found. The device also calls for recurring retests while the vehicle is being driven. If a driver fails the first test the car will not start. If a driver fails a retest while driving, the car will not shut off, however, a signal to the driver to stop the car will happen by the blowing the car's horn and flashing the car's lights.
What are Conditional Hardship Licenses?
A conditional hardship license is a license given to a motorist during the time of his suspension. All DUI and Refusal cases carry some sort of license suspension As addressed earlier, an interlock ignition can have your license suspension reduced greatly. However a suspension will still be imposed where there is a conviction. The conditional hardship license allows the motorist to drive during the time of his suspension. The court in certain cases must give a hardship license where a hardship exists.
In order to obtain a hardship license in a DUI or Refusal case, you will need to provide the court the following:
A Certificate proving the Ignition Interlock system was installed in your automobile;
A letter documenting your employment status, employment address and hours of employment that the motorist will be working;
And a letter documenting why a suspension of your license will cause you a hardship.
Conditional Hardship License Conditions
The are several hardship license conditions in DUI and refusal cases that you should be aware of. First a hardship license in a suspension that has certain condition with it:
A motorist can only drive back and forth to work or school;
The motorist can only drive with the 12 hour window that court provided through the hardship order;
The motorist must drive a car that has the ignition interlock. (there is an exemption for work vehicles during work hours, however the judge or magistrate must give permission in his or her hardship order).
What is the difference between a hardship license and an interlock condition.
During a hardship license, your license is actually suspended, and you are granted permission to drive under a group of narrow conditions. If you have an ignition interlock ordered on your license and not hardship license, then your license is not suspended, you are free to drive anywhere at anytime, so long as you are driving a car that has the ignition interlock installed in it.
You need the best Rhode Island DUI and Refusal Representation
There are so many questions and challenges in DUI cases. Whether it is a DUI or refusal trial or plea, only the help of a top Rhode Island DUI lawyer can get you through this trying time while getting you the best results. A top lawyer in DUI/Refusal cases can often save you numerous harms you might otherwise occur. A top DUI/Refusal lawyer can save you jail time, a criminal conviction, license suspension, fines, increasing your insurance premiums, your job and even your family welfare. Contact Attorney Zarrella today at 401-523-5271 to defend yourself and begin fighting back.