DUI Defense Attorney
Being charged with a DUI is a very serious offense in Rhode Island. A DUI as a first offense is considered a First Degree Misdemeanor in the State of Rhode Island, and is punishable by up to one year in Jail. The result of such a charge (and conviction) is far worse than you might imagine, and can continue to follow you for the rest of your life. Having an experienced Rhode Island DUI Attorney by your side during this trying process may save you from the worst possible outcome.
I have over 20+ yrs experience with these kinds of cases. I spent many years as a Rhode Island State Prosecutor and know the law inside and out. If you retain my services, you have my personal commitment to the most aggressive defense possible and a high level of attention to detail. I believe that every client deserves the best I can give. Please take some time and read about some of the aspects of the Rhode Island DUI Laws below. Feel free to give me a call 24×7 to discuss the details of your case.
Common Penalties Associated with a DUI Charge in Rhode Island:
- Criminal Record
- Having your Driver’s License Suspended or Revoked up to 180 days
- Heavy Fines and Court Costs
- Mandatory Community Service up to 60 hours
- Vehicle Impoundment
- Increased Car Insurance Rates
- If you have had more than one DUI, the penalties become steeper
Defending your Rhode Island DUI Accusation
Every DUI Case in the State of Rhode Island has two components, the Criminal Case, and the Administrative Case. The Penalties described above are associated with the Criminal Case. As a former Special Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Macktaz intimately understands the elements of a Rhode Island DUI. They are the following:
The State Must Prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
- The Defendant operated a motor vehicle
- The event happened in the State of Rhode Island
- Under the influence of an intoxicating liquor
- Understanding these provides the opportunity to defend this using one or many of these types of defenses
Challenging the Constitutionality of the Stop
The Police cannot stop a driver unless he has reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has been, or is about to be, committed. The police may stop an individual for any traffic violation. DUI Roadblocks have been held unconstitutional in Rhode Island. A car cannot be stopped based on an anonymous tip or 911 call.
Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests
You need a Rhode Island DUI attorney who is fully committed to your case. You need someone that knows both he law and the national trends affecting DUI law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the Government agency that regulates standardized field sobriety testing. According to NHTSA, when the tests were performed on healthy individuals the following results were found:
- The one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate for BAC above .10%
- The walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate for BAC above .10%
- Nystagmus test was only 77% accurate for BAC above .10%
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s own training manual, improperly administered field sobriety tests do not produce reliable evidence of intoxication. NHTSA does not endorse non-standardized field sobriety tests such as; reciting the alphabet, counting backwards or picking up an object. This means there is no scientific foundation for the officer to justify giving you this test or that your performance can translate into intoxication.
Challenging the Admissibility of the Breath Test Results
See our page on Breathalyzer Refusal in RI
Using Booking Room and/or Patrol Car Videos
Many police stations have video surveillance to record all suspects during processing. Additionally, more and more patrol cars are equipped with mounted video equipment which records everything from the stop of the car to the field sobriety testing at roadside. Gaining access to these videos may provide exculpatory evidence showing the favorable performance and balance of the suspect. The video will also capture the officer’s administration of the test which, if given improperly, would provide a basis to challenge the officer’s credibility.
It is not just the prosecution who is allowed to call witnesses at trial. If you were in direct contact with one or more people shortly prior to your arrest, you may call them to testify to your lack of intoxication. It may be your passenger, the waitress at the restraint you ate, the bartender where you just left or even the family who picked you up from jail. Any lay witness, meaning they do not have to be an expert, can testify to their opinion regarding your sobriety. You need a Rhode Island DUI Attorney that is going to go that extra mile to ensure that you present the best case possible.
Miranda Warnings not Given
Any interrogation that takes place while in police custody must have been preceded by a Miranda warning. If not given, any statements made as a result of questioning would be excluded from trial. This is particularly important when incriminating statements were made by you after your arrest.
Failure to Conduct Observational Period
Rhode Island law requires the police to observe a suspect for at least 15 minutes prior to administering a breath test. This is because any mouth alcohol, which could be the result of recent alcohol consumption, hiccuping, burping or vomiting, would cause a false elevated reading.
The defendant has an absolute right to present expert witnesses in his own defense. DUI law is extremely complex and it may be necessary to call an expert to testify to such issues as; toxicology, chemistry, biology, breath testing instrumentation and/or functioning. As a 20+ yr Rhode Island DUI Attorney, I have worked with many such experts.
Medical and Health Problems
Pre-existing medical conditions related to your brain, legs, neck, back and vision can eliminate the validity of field sobriety testing results. Acid reflux, diabetes, certain prescription medicines can have a dramatic effect on your breath alcohol testing results.
Weather reports establishing high winds, low visibility, and other conditions are available to explain poor driving or poor balance.
When you consume alcohol, it takes time for it to absorb into your system. Essentially, you could have a number of beers or alcohol and not feel the effects to sometime later after you stop drinking. When a breath test is given you at the police station, it could very well be up to an hour after you were last driving. The breath test will give a result for what your BAC at the time of the test, but what about your BAC an hour prior, when you were actually driving? Retrograde extrapolation is the formula for determining BAC at a prior time. This may very well lead to your BAC being below the legal limit at the time you were actually driving, even though it was above the limit at the time of the test.
The breath testing machine works by measuring the amount of alcohol in your breath. If you have been exposed to certain fumes, substances and/or particles, a false reading could very well take place. A common example of this is a painter who is exposed to, and has been inhaling, certain paint fumes throughout the day. Other substances such as cough drops, Listerine, or ethanol based products could have an impact as well.
Operating on Private Property
Operation is an essentially element to Driving under the Influence. Where you actually operating the car or just sitting in or near it? Was your car on a public or private road? Was your car being operated on a Rhode Island road or a road that is owned by the Federal Government? A throughout investigation of where you were actually observed operating your car is required for a successful defense.
For more information on DUI Penalties, click here to see RI DUI Statutes.
About Rhode Island DUI Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.
I have been practicing law for over 20 years and even served as the a Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1997. Working with hundreds of DUI, BUI, and Breathalyzer Refusal cases has given me a vast amount of experience to draw upon in your defense. I take my practice very seriously and put my full efforts into each and every case. You do not have to face these kinds of charges alone. As an aggressive Rhode Island DUI Attorney, I can help.