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What is implied consent in Rhode Island?

Implied consent means that when somebody is suspected of driving under the influence in Rhode Island, they have deemed to have given consent to submit to chemical testing. If they do not, they could be subject to sanctions on their driver's license.

Rhode Island General Laws § 31-27-2.1(c)(10) states: Implied consent notice for persons eighteen (18) years of age or older:

“Rhode Island law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the chemical content of your body fluids or breath. If you refuse this testing, certain penalties can be imposed and include the following: for a first offense, your Rhode Island driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state can be suspended for six (6) months to one year or modified to permit operation in connection with an ignition interlock device for a period specified by law; a fine from two hundred dollars ($200) to five hundred dollars ($500) can be imposed; and you can be ordered to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of community service and attend a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol or drug treatment. If you have had one or more previous offenses within the past five (5) years, your refusal to submit to a chemical test of breath or urine at this time can have criminal penalties, including incarceration up to six (6) months for a second offense and up to one year for a third or subsequent offense, and can carry increased license suspension or ignition interlock period, fines, and community service. All violators shall pay a five hundred dollar ($500) highway safety assessment fee, a two hundred dollar ($200) department of health chemical testing programs assessment fee, and a license reinstatement fee. Refusal to submit to a chemical test of blood shall not subject you to criminal penalties for the refusal itself, but if you have one or more previous offenses other civil penalties may increase. You have the right to be examined at your own expense by a physician selected by you. If you submit to a chemical test at this time, you have the right to have an additional chemical test performed at your own expense. You will be afforded a reasonable opportunity to exercise these rights. Access to a telephone will be made available for you to make those arrangements. You may now use a telephone.”

The use of this implied consent notice is what is needed to serve as evidence in a prosecution that a person's consent to a chemical test was valid if the person is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, and/or drugs.

The reason implied consent exists in the law is to try and encourage a driver to submit to a chemical test. However, it may not always be smart for a person to take a breathalyzer test. Every case is different and each decision has consequences for the motorist. Therefore, if you aren't sure whether you should or shouldn't take a test, it is best to contact a Rhode Island DUI lawyer about whether you should take a test. Do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of David Ellison today. 

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