The Cost of a DUI in the Plantation State
When it comes to drinking and driving, all of the cities and towns in Rhode Island have the same laws including Providence, Warwick, Narragansett, Newport and Cranston. Those who are found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), which, if convicted, will hold many fines and penalties. Some of the penalties used to punish those found guilty of Rhode Island DUI include jail time, license suspension, and of course monetary fines. While the fines may not seem like a lot to contend with, the price of drinking and driving does add up and can have a significant impact on one’s financial future.
What Penalties Will I Face for DUI in Rhode Island?
As mentioned, the state of Rhode Island uses a number of different types of penalties to punish those who are convicted of DUI. It is important to remember that the penalties for drinking and driving vary between states. The penalties used for first time DUI offenders in this state include:
- Jail Sentence of Up to One Year
- Fines Between $100 and $500
- License Suspension Between 60 Days and 18 Months
Rhode Island is currently enforcing a five year “lookback” period, which means that those with previous drinking and driving offenses within the last five years are considered repeat offenders. Repeat offenders are subject to harsher penalties as a means to keep them from committing the crime again. Second time DUI offenders in the state of Rhode Island will face the following penalties:
- Jail Sentence Between 10 Days and One Year
- Fines Between $400 and $1,000
- License Suspension Between One and Two Years
- Possibility of Having to Use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
For the financial penalties of conviction alone, offenders are looking at paying between $100 and $5,000 (maximum financial penalty for third time offenders). While this may not seem like too much to worry about, many people do not realize the other expenses that come along with drinking and driving.
What Financial Repercussions Will I Face Before I Am Convicted?
The first financial hit individuals take when dealing with a DUI charge is the towing and storage fees for their vehicle. When individuals are pulled over and charged with DUI, they are often taken to the local jail to be booked. Unless the officer allows someone else to come get the vehicle, such as a family member or friend, it will be towed to the local impound for storage until the owner can retrieve it. When owners do wish to retrieve their vehicle, they need to pay the towing fee as well as any fees that may have accumulated when the car was stored – this usually runs between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars depending on the fees for that facility and the towing company.
Most often, DUI offenders are taken to jail, processed and then released. But in cases where aggravated circumstances are involved, it may be necessary to hold the individuals in jail. When this happens, it is likely the court will set bail for their release, and the individuals or someone else will need to pay bail in order for them to go free. This is usually paid by friends, family members or a bail bondsman and the amount varies depending on the situation surrounding the arrest and the case. Some aggravated circumstances that may require offenders to be held in jail include having an excessively high BAC, having a minor in the vehicle, causing an accident or injury with someone else or resisting arrest.
In addition to paying towing and storage fees and bail, it may be necessary – and probably a good idea – for offenders to hire a lawyer. Every lawyer and law firm has its own price for legal services, and this will often range between $1,000 and $15,000. Having a lawyer to try the case can often help offenders have a better outcome, such as being able to plea to a lesser charge, having their penalties reduced or possibly having the case dismissed altogether. How the lawyer gets paid also varies – some allow payment after a favorable ruling, others an hourly rate and some a flat fee.
What Financial Repercussions Will I Face After I Am Convicted?
Should the trial not go in favor of offenders and they are convicted of DUI, they then need to deal with the many penalties that are a part of their punishment. As mentioned, a first time DUI offender in Rhode Island could spend up to one year in jail, have to pay fines between $100 and $500 and also have to surrender their driving privileges for a period of two to 18 months. It is important to note that these penalties are not the same in every state.
Will My Car Insurance Rates Increase After a DUI Conviction?
The short answer to this question is yes – what is hard to determine is how much car insurance will increase. Every car insurance provider has its own formula for how much it raises insurance holders’ premium based on their DUI conviction. It is possible, however, to look at what the average rate of increase is for the state of Rhode Island. Those who have car insurance in this state and are convicted of DUI will face car insurance premium increases of about 30 percent, which adds an additional $70 to their monthly bill. This is very lenient when compared to other states.
How Can I Avoid the High Price of DUI?
When all of the financial repercussions of drinking and driving are added up, offenders could be paying $40,000 or more for an easily avoidable mistake. Not only is drinking and driving expensive, it is also very dangerous and doing so not only puts the driver’s life at risk, but also the lives of any passengers as well as other drivers and people on the road. The best way to avoid the high cost of DUI is to simply not drink and drive – always appoint a sober driver or use public transportation or taxi to get home safely.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.