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Rhode Island Breathalyzer Refusal Lawyer

Good people make mistakes too. If you are reading this because you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a chemical test refusal, also known as breathalyzer test refusal, you need to have the best Rhode Island Breath Test Refusal attorney to defend you against this civil infraction. My 4 years of experience with breath test refusal cases first as a State prosecutor with the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General, coupled with my 24 years of experience as a chemical test refusal lawyer has provided me with experience and knowledge not available to the majority of chemical test refusal lawyers. I use this unique experience to aggressively defend Clients charged with a RI chemical test refusal case. My law office offers a comprehensive and free consultation in which I explain your rights and options in great detail. I then provide preeminent (Martindale Hubbell Review of my firm) representation on behalf of deserving breath test refusal clients.

Call Rhode Island Breath Test Refusal Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today at 401.861.1155 for your best defense

Fortunately, I have defended thousands of these breath test refusal cases in Rhode Island and I am certain I have defended many Rhode Island breathalyzer refusal charges and drunk driving charges just like yours in the past. Of course, no two chemical test refusal cases are exactly alike, but I can promise all clients I know exactly how to aggressively defend their RI breathalyzer refusal cases, and get the best results possible. There is NOTHING that I have not seen and defended in traffic court. And my goal in every case is dismissal of all charges. A breath test refusal lawyer with experience and knowledge of RI law gives you the best chance at avoiding penalties, including loss of driving privilege.

As a RI criminal attorney for 27+ years, one of the most common questions I am asked is “Should I refuse the breathalyzer test if I have been arrested for a DUI charge?”. Urban legend and multiple websites seem to suggest the answer to that question is always “Yes”, a person should refuse the chemical test when asked by law enforcement to take a breathalyzer test. I have met with countless breath test refusal and DUI clients who have told me they were always told to refuse the breathalyzer test. And in some cases this can be a good choice, but in other cases it can be the wrong choice and result in harsh penalties.

Because of this urban legend to always refuse the breathalyzer test, every year I defend hundreds of good people who have been charged with chemical test refusal, more well-known as breath test refusal…the terms are used interchangeably, as well as drunk driving. The vast majority of these folks have never been arrested in their lives, never thought they would ever be arrested for a criminal charge ever, and are scared and concerned about how the penalties can affect their lives.

If you are charged with chemical test refusal in Rhode Island, you are not alone. As written above, I defend hundreds of breathalyzer refusal cases every year. I am in Courts throughout Rhode Island defending clients every day and I have extensive experience in reviewing, investigating, negotiating and fighting breathalyzer refusal cases. There are many RI criminal defense lawyers who claim to be experts in chemical test refusal cases, but there are none. with my background, level of experience, and relationships with prosecutors and judges in every county in Rhode Island If you put your faith in me to aggressively defend your Rhode Island breathalyzer refusal case, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Check out my most recent case victory for a deserving breath test refusal Client.

Should You Take The Breathalyzer Test?

What is the Breathalyzer Refusal Law in Rhode Island?

Here is the Rhode Island’s breathalyzer refusal law

In order to prove a chemical test refusal case in Rhode Island, the police prosecutor must prove 3 things under RI law. Every breathalyzer refusal arrest comes down to the same 3 points, your case included. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to attack these 3 points:

  1. Did law enforcement have a legitimate or legal reason, called “Reasonable Suspicion”, to pull your motor vehicle or to get involved in your life? In this country and in this state we have a right to be police-free. Law enforcement must have a legitimate, factual reason to justify pulling a motor vehicle over to begin a DUI investigation . Common justifications for stopping motor vehicles include police observing a traffic offense such as speeding, or any other of the many Rhode Island traffic violations. Check out reasonable suspicion for more information about reasonable suspicion for a motor vehicle stop.
  2. Once the police have pulled over your motor vehicle or responded to your automobile accident scene, the second point the prosecutor must prove in Court is the police had sufficient evidence of the criminal offense of drunk driving to arrest you. In this country, in this state the police cannot simply arrest you first, and then go get the evidence. They need to have a certain amount of evidence first, called “probable cause”. As examples of probable cause, this is where the odor of alcohol, bloodshot and/or watery eyes, slurred speech and failing field sobriety tests come in. Check out Rhode Island standardized field sobriety tests for information.
  3. The final item which a prosecutor must prove against you in a Rhode Island chemical test refusal case is that you actually refused to take the chemical test at the station, after the police went through certain protocols. After a DUI offender is arrested for the criminal offense of DUI at the scene, the police must read what is called the Rights for Use at the Scene to the motorist. It’s a basic set of rights, similar to Miranda warnings, but DUI specific. Then, at the station the police must read another set of rights to the motorist called the Rights for Use at the Station. These rights are much longer and detail the penalties for breath test refusal in Rhode Island, including the loss of drivers license. Upon completion of the Rights for Use at the Station, the motorist must be afforded the use of a confidential phone call.

Thus, if the police fail to accomplish any of the above requirements, the breath test refusal charge is dismissed and thrown out of court. This is my goal in every breathalyzer refusal case I defend. This is why a RI criminal defense lawyer with 27+ years of handling chemical test refusal cases is your BEST chance at avoiding significant penalties and loss of driving privilege.

What Are The Penalties For Chemical Test Refusal (Breathalyzer Refusal) in Rhode Island?

The penalties and consequences for being convicted of a Rhode Island breathalyzer refusal charge are significant. They include substantial fines and costs which can total about a thousand dollars; a conviction on your driving record; 10-60 hours of community service; participation and successful completion of a DUI class or alcohol counseling; and a mandatory loss of drivers license from 6 to 12 months; and the installation of an ignition interlock device. Fortunately, a conviction for a first offense breath test refusal is not a criminal charge and does NOT go on your criminal record. However, a second breathalyzer refusal charge in 5 years is a criminal offense and subjects a person to potential jail.

What Is The Loss Of License For A Rhode Island Breathlyzer Refusal Charge?

The loss of a drivers license is usually a client’s biggest concern when facing a chemical test refusal charge, and rightfully so. Folks are worried about being able to get to work, school or other important daily life events. Under Rhode Island law, a motorist who is charged with a chemical test refusal case will lose their driving privilege on the very first court date. Unfortunately, the traffic court judge will issue a preliminary suspension of your driver’s license at your first court appearance in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. In Rhode Island, we do not have a right to drive. It is considered a “privilege” to operate a motor vehicle and that privilege comes with strings attached to it. One of those strings is called “implied consent”, which basically means we already agreed to take the chemical test when we operated a motor vehicle in Rhode Island.

Additionally, if a person pleads guilty to the charge of chemical test refusal, or is found guilty by the Judge, there is a mandatory loss of drivers license of between 6 and 12 months. The Court will consider all the factors in your case when deciding on the loss of driving privilege such as driving history, facts and circumstances of your individual drunk driving case, and whether there was an automobile accident with personal injury involved. A knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer is your best chance at avoiding these penalties, and a driver’s license suspension.

Is There Any Way To Avoid The Mandatory Loss Of License For 6-12 Months?

Yes. Fortunately, in 2015 the law changed and the Rhode Island Legislature introduced and passed the Ignition Interlock Law. If a person is arrested and charged, or convicted of a breath test refusal case, the Ignition Interlock Law gives judges the ability to REDUCE license suspensions if a motorist has an ignition interlock device installed in their motor vehicle. The driver’s license suspension can be lowered from 6 months to 30 days with the installation of this breathalyzer device (known as an ignition interlock device). However, after the completion of the 30 day license suspension, the ignition interlock device remains in the motor vehicle for 6 months or more depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. Check out Ignition Interlock Law for more information.

There are a few companies in Rhode Island who are authorized to install these ignition interlock devices. Check out this link to learn more about the ignition interlock device.

Can I Drive To Work or School When My License is Suspended For Chemical Test Refusal?

The answer is YES…but it is not automatic and it depends on a few things. This is why hiring the best RI criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in defending your breath test refusal case. Under that new law in 2015, the Courts are now allowed to grant what is called a hardship license which allows a person to drive to and from work/school, during a 12 hour window as permitted by the Court when they have been charged with a breathalyzer refusal case.

This works fine if you work a consistent job with consistent hours in between a 12 hour window. However, many DUI clients do not fit this mold entirely, yet I have been able to successfully get them a hardship license allowing them to drive to and from work while we defend their drunk driving case. The judge sets forth the specific parameters of what is allowed, but any hardship license must come with the installation of the ignition interlock device discussed above. Check out Hardship License for more information on the Hardship License./

Why Hire Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. To Defend Your DUI Charges:

  • Former Rhode Island State Prosecutor
  • Judges, Lawyers and Police Officers refer family and friends
  • 27+ years of experience in Rhode Island criminal law with a concentration in DUI arrests
  • 300+ Five Star online reviews across all platforms
  • Aggressive, experienced and personal representation of all clients charged with drunk driving
  • My law office has strong and long-standing relationships with all Rhode Island Judges and prosecutors
  • My goal in every criminal case is DISMISSAL and then EXPUNGEMENT of all charges from your criminal record and driving record.
  • I will be the DUI lawyer reviewing and overseeing your case and I will be the DUI attorney standing next to you in court. Unlike so many other Rhode Island Criminal Defense firms, I do NOT send associates to do my job. I am in criminal court every day of the week, and I strongly believe each DUI client deserves this personal service.
  • I copy every client on every single document coming into the law office, or leaving the office, regarding their DUI charges. I think it is critical for every client to be well-informed and fully engaged in the process. Defending your criminal DUI case is truly a team effort.
  • All calls and emails will be returned by me, not an associate, within a few hours of receiving the email or call.
  • I provide a free and comprehensive initial consultation in all new DUI cases.
  • I am available 24/7/365
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