What Are the Penalties for Commercial DUI in RI?

In order to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) in the state of Rhode Island, a person must first pass skills and knowledge test based on the type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) they will be driving.

Rhode Island adheres to federal guidelines that provide for 3 classifications of CMVs:

  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles that have a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed exceeds 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle that is towing a vehicle that doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the criteria of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver or is transporting hazardous materials.

While having a Rhode Island commercial driver’s license will permit you to operate commercial vehicles like semi-trucks, trailers, and buses, being arrested for DUI while operating one of these vehicles can result in severe consequences. Below, we explain the penalties for commercial DUI in Rhode Island.

Commercial License Violations

Rhode Island drivers can lose their CDL on a temporary or permanent basis for following infractions:

  • Operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
  • Operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle.
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test for suspected DUI.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.

Penalties for DUI Violations

Commercial DUIs carry harsh penalties, especially when injuries are involved. Below are some of the penalties you can face for DUI in Rhode Island:

  • Jail: Up to 1 year for the first offense, 10 days to 1 year for the second offense, and 1 to 5 years for a third offense.
  • Fines & Penalties: $100 to $500 for the first offense, $400 to $1,000 for the second offense, and $400 to $5,000 for a third offense.
  • License Suspension: 2 to 18 months for the first offense, 1 to 2 years for the second offense, and a minimum of 2 years for a third offense.

Penalties for refusing a chemical test in Rhode Island include:

  • First Offense: 6-month license suspension, 10-60 hours community service, and a $200-$500 fine.
  • Second Offense: Suspension of license for 1 year, 60-100 hours community service, $600-$1,000 fine, and a possible jail sentence.
  • Third Offense: 2-5 year license suspension, 100 hours community service, $800-$1,000 fine, and a mandatory jail sentence.

Commercial drivers transporting hazardous materials can lose their license for 3 years if they are found to be guilty of DUI. Additionally, if you take a breath test and your BAC is under .04%, you will be ineligible to operate a commercial vehicle for up to 24 hours.

Talk to a Rhode Island DUI lawyer Today

If you are facing commercial DUI charges, our skilled team of attorneys can help you defend your rights. We have experience fighting against numerous DUI charges, and we know how to challenge the validity of field sobriety tests and police testimonies. Let us put our skills and resources to work for you today.

Call (401) 312-4385 to set up a free consultation today. Our legal team is available to assist you 24/7.