Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.Schedule a Free Consultation
As one of the most experienced and top rated Rhode Island DUI Lawyers I’ve successfully defended thousands of Rhode Island DUI cases in my 27 plus years career and understand that good people make mistakes too.
Being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Rhode Island can be a terrifying experience. Most clients never thought they would ever be arrested in their lives, and certainly didn’t plan to commit a DUI. This is exactly why you need an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive Rhode Island DUI Lawyer to defend you.
Having the right criminal defense attorney defend you can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the outcome of your DUI case, and avoiding a license suspension and criminal record. Results of criminal cases can be extremely different depending on your DUI lawyer.
And let me be clear that it will be ME:
Unlike so many other RI DUI lawyers, I do not send associates to Court to do my job.
I have worked with Rhode Island DUI law for 27+ years, on both sides of the table. Before becoming a DUI attorney, I began my career with 4 years at the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General as a State Prosecutor.
During that time, I had the opportunity to prosecute hundreds and hundreds of Rhode Island drunk driving cases, and was in charge of the DUI unit in the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General. I was also chosen to assist in the training of incoming police officers at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy regarding all aspects of Rhode Island DUI law.
Since 1997, I have used all of that experience and knowledge gained as an attorney on the other side to greatly benefit my private clients as a RI DUI defense attorney.
I am well-versed in Rhode Island DUI laws and aggressively defend DUI charges at the highest level and achieve tremendous results for deserving clients.
Rhode Island DUI law is very technical and complicated which is why experience matters. There is NOTHING that I have not seen or defended.
This is experience and a background extremely few other RI DUI lawyers have, and it matters in your criminal case. This is why I consistently get better results for my clients.
Other RI DUI lawyers throughout Rhode Island have “Peer Rated” my law office with the Martindale-Hubbell organization as Preeminent in drunk driving defense and breathalyzer refusal defense, and I am quite thankful to have received its highest honor for 5 straight years.
Frankly, nothing speaks louder than former DUI clients who have actually seen me in Court defending their DUI charges.
Check out one of the hundreds of 5 star reviews and testimonials from former clients.
Unfortunately, a DUI conviction in Rhode Island for a DUI offense (or related charge of breathalyzer refusal), carries significant consequences, penalties, and loss of driving privilege. Go to Rhode Island Breath Test Refusal Charges to learn more about Breath Test Refusal Charges in Rhode Island.
Under Rhode Island DUI law, a first-offense DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor criminal charge, and carries up to 1 year in jail. A conviction for a Rhode Island DUI charge results in a criminal conviction on your record, hefty fines, community service, mandatory attendance and completion of a DUI class or alcohol counseling; and a mandatory loss of driving privileges. The Judge can also order an ignition interlock device be installed in the motor vehicle, and/or a hardship license. A DUI arrest involving an accident with personal injury is a felony criminal case with jail as a potential penalty. A skilled and experienced RI DUI lawyer gives you the best chance at avoiding these Rhode Island DUI penalties, including the ignition interlock device and hardship license .
Check the DUI laws in Rhode Island.
I also want every client or potential client arrested for drunk driving to be armed with as much quality information as possible while I am defending them against a Rhode Island DUI charge or breathalyzer refusal charge. There are so many websites and inexperienced criminal defense attorneys offering online advice about drunk driving defense and breathalyzer refusal defense, it can certainly be overwhelming. I have specifically written this page to answer all of the questions I have been asked as a RI DUI attorney in a clear and easy to understand manner.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in Rhode Island, it is critical that you hire a RI DUI Lawyer with knowledge of and experience with Rhode Island DUI Defenses to represent you in your drunk driving case and/or breathalyzer refusal case. DUI law is very technical and all RI criminal defense Attorneys are not the same, not even close. Working in every single courthouse in Rhode Island over the last 27+ years with a concentration in defending DUI cases, there is NOTHING I have not seen as a RI DUI Lawyer. Being arrested and charged for a DUI in Rhode Island can be a terrifying experience. But having a conviction on your record for DUI in can have life-long consequences. This is why having the BEST RI DUI attorney on your side is so crucial.
There are many DUI defenses in the state of Rhode Island. An experienced and aggressive RI DUI lawyer knows how to attack the facts and police work of your case, apply the law and technicalities to your case (especially with the breath test), and most importantly knows the prosecutor and judge handling your case. It is common sense that a DUI Lawyer with 27+ YEARS of experience is better able to defend you than a criminal defense lawyer with less time and experience in dealing with DUI law in the Rhode Island Courts, and the best way to avoid a DUI conviction.
When I am reviewing a Client’s police reports relating to his/her DUI arrest, I am doing so with a fine-tooth comb. I am looking to see if the police have covered all the necessary bases (called “elements”) in the DUI law to prove the criminal offense that has been charged. The basic elements to a Rhode Island drunk driving criminal offense which must be proven by law enforcement beyond a reasonable doubt are:
Check the full RI DUI law and see just how complicated it can be. As an experienced criminal defense lawyer, I know this DUI law like the back of my hand.
Understanding these three (3) elements to a drunk driving case INSIDE AND OUT provides the opportunity for an aggressive RI DUI Lawyer to defend your case using one or many of the following DUI defenses to avoid a DUI conviction and license suspension:
In this country and in this state we have a right to be “police-free”. We live in a country where law enforcement is not allowed to stop a suspected DUI offender without having an articulated reason for stopping the motor vehicle. The reason must be based on actual and proveable facts and this is called “Reasonable Suspicion”. Common justifications for stopping a motor vehicle and conducting a DUI investigation include traffic offenses, car accidents or even 911 callers. Check out Reasonable Suspicion for more information.
Police departments around Rhode Island rely heavily on a Client’s performance of the field-sobriety tests. In Rhode Island there are three (3) standardized field-sobriety tests which can lead to a DUI arrest.
These are the only three (3) standardized field sobriety tests that police in Rhode Island should perform in a DUI investigation. Every police officer in the State of Rhode Island is trained in the municipal/state training academies on these three (3) tests. These tests are extremely technical, which is why experience in defeating these tests is so crucial to being a successful RI criminal defense Attorney.
As a former prosecutor for the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office I lectured and taught incoming police at the academies about these field sobriety tests. I know these field sobriety tests INSIDE AND OUT and know exactly how to defend them and avoid DUI penalties.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the government agency in charge of creating these tests), when performed and tested on healthy individuals, the following results were NOT found to be absolute:
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. This is why it is so important to hire the most experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. All DUI attorneys are NOT the same and the results of criminal cases vary widely depending on a criminal defense lawyer’s effectiveness, or ineffectiveness.
NHTSA does not endorse non-standardized field sobriety tests such as reciting the alphabet, touching the tip of your nose, 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 a drunk driving charge. Check out field sobriety tests for more information.
Also check out this video about whether an operator of a motor vehicle should even take the field sobriety tests in the first place…that is right, you can refuse to take the field sobriety tests when asked by law enforcement
In my 27+ years working with Rhode Island DUI cases, I can tell you that approximately 20-25% of motorists choose to take the breath test when asked to do so by law enforcement. That means approximately 75% of motorists refuse to take the breath test (also known as the chemical test…the terms are used interchangeably). Check out breathalyzer refusal cases for more information.
But when a Client has taken and failed the breath test at the station/barracks, the need for an experienced and aggressive RI DUI lawyer is even greater. There are 42 breathalyzer devices in the State of Rhode Island (39 cities and towns each have one, and 3 State Police barracks each have one). These breath machines are tested in-person once a month by a member from the Department of Health to make sure they machines are working properly when testing blood alcohol content.
So, if the machine is working and you blew into the working machine, how can we possibly form a drunk driving defense to your case? Well, it is not that simple for the police and prosecutor. Before those breath test results are considered admissible against you in a court of law, the prosecutor must prove the police accomplished nine (9) important conditions first. If the police missed even 1 of these conditions, an experienced RI DUI attorney knows how to get the breathalyzer results thrown out of court.
If the police miss even one (1) of these steps (and they miss them all the time), the breath test results will be suppressed (thrown out) by the judge and the prosecutor will have lost his/her best piece of evidence against you in your DUI case. Rhode Island DUI law is very technical and complicated. Having an experienced and knowledgeable RI DUI attorney defending you gives you the best chance of success.
Check out this link for a video about whether a motorist should take the breathalyzer test at the station or barracks.
Many police stations have video surveillance to record all DUI suspects during processing, especially during the “15 minute rule” explained above. Unfortunately, dash-cam video or body-cam video is used by only a few of Rhode Island’s law enforcement bodies. Gaining access to these videos is imperative, and another reason why you should choose an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer.
It is not just the prosecution who is allowed to call witnesses in your drunk driving case. 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 restaurant where you ate, the bartender where you just left, or even the family member who picked you up from the police department. Tracking down and speaking with these potential witnesses is an important part to defending your Rhode Island DUI charge.
As stated above, Rhode Island law requires the police to observe a suspect for at least 15 minutes prior to administering a breathalyzer 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 in the breath test. However, when I obtain booking room video in a drunk driving defense case, inevitably the police officer looks away or becomes distracted or simply doesn’t understand DUI law. This is the kind of investigation of your DUI arrest that you can expect from me as your criminal defense lawyer.
A DUI client has an absolute right to present expert witnesses in his/her own defense to their DUI charges. DUI law is extremely complex and sometimes the use of an expert to testify to such issues as driving record, toxicology, chemistry, biology, breath testing instrumentation and/or functioning can be extremely helpful in defending your Rhode Island DUI charge.
Pre-existing medical conditions or injuries related to your brain, legs, neck, back and vision can eliminate the validity of the field sobriety test results in your DUI criminal case. Acid reflux, diabetes, certain prescription medicines can have a dramatic effect on breath test results.
Weather reports establishing high winds, low visibility, recent snowfall 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 until later after you’ve stopped drinking. When a breathalyzer test is given you at the police station, it could be an hour or more after you were last operating the motor vehicle. The breathalyzer test will give the results of the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of the test. But law enforcement has to prove what your blood alcohol content was at the time of your DUI arrest, not 2 hours later. Retrograde extrapolation is the formula for determining blood alcohol content at a prior time. This may very well lead to your blood alcohol content being below the legal limit at the time you were actually driving and is an important tool used by an experienced and skilled DUI attorney.
A Rhode Island breathalyzer machine takes a sample of your breath and tells us how much alcohol is circulating in your blood. 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, and can lead to excellent defenses for your experienced DUI lawyer, and help you avoid a DUI conviction and driver’s license suspension.
Early intervention by a qualified and experienced DUI lawyer is critical to the success of your DUI case. You need criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about the DUI laws and procedures, and someone who has cultivated excellent relationships with both prosecutors and judges. My law office represents Clients in all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island, in every single courthouse in the state. I also offer a free, in-depth initial consultation to discuss and explain everything having to do with your case and all possible results. So, if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Rhode Island, call me today and we can get started immediately. I am available 24/7/365.
Check out this great video with some do’s and don’ts if you are ever pulled over for a DUI investigation.
Here is one of the many case results in which clients placed their lives and reputations in my hands after law enforcement made a DUI arrest, and the results speak for themselves
To see all my clients’ victories go to case results.
The Rhode Island DUI Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. is available 24 Hours a day seven days a week to help you with your DUI case. I can’t stress enough how important it is to contact an attorney immediately after an arrest so they can start working on your case. If you are looking to get the best results, you want someone who has extensive experience in the area. I have offices in Providence, Warwick, Narragansett, North Smithfield and Newport. For a free consultation at one of my offices feel contact us at (401) 861-1155. Good people make mistakes too, don’t leave your freedom to chance. Contact Rhode Island DUI Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today.(401)861-1155