Under Rhode Island law, it's illegal for drivers who are younger than the legal drinking age (21 years old) to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more. Here are the consequences a driver faces if convicted of an underage DWI offense.
The penalties for an underage DWI offense depend on the circumstances and the driver's age. For drivers who are at least 18 but younger than 21 years old, having a BAC of .02% or more will result in the following penalties:
For drivers who are younger than 18 years old and are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more, the following penalties apply:
Underage drivers who refuse to take an alcohol test in violation of the state's implied consent laws might face different, and in many cases, more severe penalties.
Underage drivers who are at least 18 years old and are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol face the standard DWI penalties. Depending on the circumstances, someone convicted of a standard DWI could be looking at fines, jail time, and license suspension.
For drivers who are under the age of 18 and charged with a standard DWI offense, the penalties are somewhat different. These underage offenders face the following consequences:
Again, cases involving refusal to submit to chemical testing might carry different and more severe consequences.
Regardless of the charge, it's always best to talk to an experienced DWI attorney if you've been cited for driving under the influence. A qualified lawyer can tell you how the law applies to your situation and help you decide on the best course of action.