Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.

Common Traffic Violations that Can Lead to a DUI

Feb, 15 2021 - By: S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.
Common Traffic Violations that Can Lead to a DUI

If you’re a Rhode Island resident with a driver’s license, chances are you’ve faced some form of a traffic citation at one point or another. Even the best drivers can find themselves being pulled over for violating traffic laws. In fact, many drivers are often surprised when they’re pulled over by an officer because they didn’t even realize they were breaking a rule of the road. 

Beyond that, being pulled over for a common traffic violation can lead to a DUI. DUI’s are frequently paired with traffic violations. This is because a law enforcement officer will often use a traffic violation as a means to test if a driver has been drinking. If you’re facing a DUI charge, as well as one or more traffic violations, it’s important to work with a DUI attorney that also specializes in various traffic offenses. Below is a list of the most common traffic violations that are often paired with DUIs. 

Reckless Driving 

If you’ve dealt with traffic tickets before, you’ve probably come to realize that reckless driving is more severe than other moving violations. A law enforcement officer can charge you with reckless driving if you’re operating a vehicle and endangering the lives of other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.

Examples of reckless driving may include:

  • Excessive speeding 
  • Passing illegally, such as driving down the shoulder of a highway
  • Erratically changing lanes
  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Following a car too closely 

With an experienced lawyer, a DUI charge can be reduced to reckless driving, but a DUI can also be paired with a reckless driving charge in severe circumstances. The first offense of reckless driving can lead to a misdemeanor criminal charge, $500.00 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, and between 3-18 months of a suspension of your driver’s license. These penalties are delivered at the discretion of the courts and they will vary depending on the weight of your situation. Keep in mind that a second offense of reckless driving can lead to a felony charge and up to 5 years of jail time. To avoid the harsh punishments that are associated with DUI/reckless driving cases, contact a Rhode Island DUI lawyer for support. 

Laned Roadway Violations

Driving in the wrong lane or swerving between lanes will most certainly gain the attention of a law enforcement officer. This is why laned roadway violations are one of the most common traffic violations that can lead to a DUI. Rhode Island defines a laned roadway as any roadway that has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic. This could be a main boulevard, a highway, or any other road with clearly marked lanes. Examples of laned roadway violations are: swerving in between lanes, driving down the middle of two clearly marked lanes, merging into another driver’s lane without care, weaving back and forth between the side of the road and a roadway lane, or simply changing lanes without due care. 

Seat Belt Violations

Not wearing your seat belt is another common traffic violation that can lead to a DUI. Law enforcement officers will continually look for secured seat belts when monitoring the roads on an active Friday night when DUI charges are more likely. Rhode Island made seat belt violations a primary traffic offense in 2011, which means that an officer can pull you over and give you a ticket for not wearing your seat belt, even if you’ve done nothing else wrong. At this time, an officer might also ask you to take a breathalyzer. This brings us to our last violation most commonly associated with a DUI charge, which is breathalyzer refusal charges. 

Breathalyzer Refusal Charge

You do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, but due to Rhode Island’s implied consent law, refusing a breathalyzer is illegal. The Rhode Island implied consent law basically means that anytime you get behind the wheel of a car, you’re automatically giving consent to a blood, urine, or breath test. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you’ll be breaking the implied consent law, and you’ll face an immediate suspension of your license. Since many drivers are confused by this law, they will often refuse to take this test, and also be charged with breathalyzer refusal as well as a DUI. 

What To Do if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI and a Traffic Violation

Being charged with a DUI as well as a traffic violation happens more often than you think. While a DUI charge alone has severe consequences, dealing with multiple traffic violations on top of it can wreak havoc on your driving record, lead to expensive fines, result in a license suspension or even jail time. It’s important to work with a skilled Rhode Island DUI lawyer that has extensive experience in handling DUIs as well as traffic violations.

If facing a DUI charges in Rhode Island immediately call Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. to schedule a free consultation.

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