Driving While Impaired
In Rhode Island, persons at least eighteen (18) years old but less than twenty-one (21) years of age driving with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .02 but less than .10 are considered to be driving while impaired. The sanctions for driving while impaired include a fine of up to $250, up to 30 hours of community restitution, suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of one month up to three months and attendance at a DUI/DWI class or an alcohol treatment program.
In Rhode Island, driving while having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% and above is a crime. Some of the Rhode Island penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs include fines starting at $100, community service, license suspension, and/or imprisonment.
Section 3-8-6(d) of the Rhode Island statute states that it is unlawful for a minor (under the age of 21) to purchase, or attempt to purchase, or to make a false statement or misrepresent their age through the presentation of a false document in connection with the attempted purchase of alcohol. The sanction is a minimum fine of $100-$500 and the possibility of up to 30 hours of community service and suspension of their driver’s license for up to three months for a first offense.
Transportation of Alcohol
Section 3-8-9 of Rhode Island statute states that any person who has not reached their twenty- first (21st) birthday and who operates a motor vehicle upon the public highways, except when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or another adult who is over the age of twenty-one (21) years and related, whether by blood, adoption or marriage, to the operator within the following degree of sanguinity: brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half- sister, uncle, aunt, great uncle or great aunt and, knowingly having liquor or intoxicating beverages in any form in containers, opened or unopened, in any part of the vehicle shall be guilty of a criminal violation. In addition, violators may be progressively sanctioned the following: fines of $250 - $950 and suspension of license to operate a motor vehicle thirty (30) days to one year (12 months).
Section 3-8-10 of Rhode Island statute states that: Any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday and has in his or her possession any beverage as defined in this title shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars ($150) to seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) for the first offense, three hundred dollars ($300) to seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) for the second offense, and four hundred fifty dollars ($450) to nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) for the third or subsequent offense. In addition, any person who violates this section shall be required to perform thirty (30) hours of community service and shall be subject to a minimum sixty (60) day suspension of his or her driver's license, and upon a second offense may be ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment by a licensed substance abuse professional.
Rhode Island statutes cover a wide range of drug offenses, including the use, possession, sale, distribution, transportation and manufacture of various types of drugs (see 21-28-4 Rhode Island General Laws). Among other provisions the State law creates the following mandatory minimum prison sentences for first-time offenders who are not “drug dependent” persons. Actual sentences depend on the severity and the circumstances of the offense, and the character and background of the offender, and include:
- Persons arrested for the sale of illegal drugs may be subject to being held in jail without bail until a hearing and are subject to forfeiting any money or vehicles associated with the sale of those illegal drugs
Imprisonment of not less than ten years plus fine for possession of enumerated quantities of controlled substances: heroin, coca leaves, cocaine, ecgonine, phencyclidine (PCP), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and marijuana
Possession of larger enumerated quantities results in a minimum prison sentence of not less than twenty years plus fine
Distribution of a controlled substance to persons under age 18 is penalized by imprisonment for not less than 15 years
Education and counseling may be required
The Rhode Island General Laws concerning Marijuana can be found:
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28-4.01 (2015)
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28-2.08 (2015)
Rhode Island College complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities (Campuses) Act of 1989 and the Federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.
The penalties for those found with marijuana by the law enforcement include the following:
Possession of marijuana for personal use of up to one ounce by an individual 18 years or older is a civil violation, punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. Individuals under 18 years old face a $150 fine and completion of an educational sanction
Possession of 1 ounce to 1 kilogram is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 1-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500
Possession with the Intent to Distribute of between 1-5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000
Possession with the Intent to Distribute of more than 5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $100,000
Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school may result in a doubling of the penalties
Possession of Marijuana while driving will result in a driver's license suspension for a period of 6 months