Should I Refuse The Breathalyzer Test in Rhode Island?

Published 08/19/2020

There is no clear answer to this question. Each case is unique and many factors can determine the answer.

Rhode Island is an implied consent state.  This means that if you operate a motor vehicle you have agreed to give your consent to a breath test if police have reasonable grounds to believe you have been driving a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance.

It is important to note that refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not mean you are admitting to being drunk or under the influence.

The State has to prove the case against you. What do they need to prove? Read my blog post on what the State has to prove for a breathalyzer conviction.

You have the right to refuse the test, but you will be faced with potential consequences.

Refusal of a Chemical Test (Breathalyzer/ Blood Test) is a Civil Offense, Just like a SPEEDING TICKET. A DUI is a Criminal Arrest!

A criminal charge could derail your job and life. You could have a criminal record for at least 5 years if convicted.  While a civil offense may temporarily make it harder to get around due to a longer loss of license.

If you Refuse you face the potential consequences:

  • Potential for a Preliminary License Suspension at your Refusal Arraignment
  • Potential for Loss of License
  • Potential Fines
  • Potential Community Service Requirements
  • Potential Court Fees and Assessments
  • Potential Fees associated with Reinstatement of Driving Privileges

Always Call a DUI attorney before you decide whether to take the chemical test.

Consider the Following Factors before making your decision:

  • How much have you had to drink?
  • What type of alcohol?
  • Size of the drinks?
  • How much alcohol in drinks?
  • Timeline for drinks?
  • When did you last drink?
  • Did you eat anything, if so when?
  • Height /Weight / Male / Female?
  • On Any Prescription Medication?
  • Take any other Substances?
  • Did you feel under the influence while pulled over?
  • Do you feel under the influence now?
  • Did alcohol affect your ability to drive?


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