Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Felony DUI: Death, Injury, or Third Offense in 5 Years

Michael J. Zarrella, Esq

Law Office Address:

127 Dorrance Street

Providence Rhode island 02903

Cell: 401-523-5271

Office 401-490-6820

Fax: 401-490-3207


DUI Defense Blog

Rhode Island's best DUI blog

Attorney Michael Zarrella's blog is very informative with respect to DUI law, criminal defense and many of the trends in the Rhode Island judical system. Lawyers often read attorney Zarrella's blog to keep abreast of recent updates in the law.

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Rhode Island DUI Lawyer, Felony DUI's

A Rhode Island DUI offense is normaly charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony. There are exceptions to this rule.

Under Rhode Island law, many DUI's are charged as felonies based on the facts of the case or the driver's criminal record. The following are examples of cases in which a DUI can be charged as a felony and not a misdemeanor.

Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, third offense within 5 years

If you have been arrested in Rhode Island for DUI and you have two prior DUI's in the last 5 years, the the State can charge your DUI as a felony. Third Offense DUI's call for a 1 year or 3 years minimum jail sentence depending on the BAC reading.

Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in death.

Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in death. This is a major felony under Rhode Island law. If you been charged with a DUI death resulting you are facing a jail sentence of up to fifteen (15) years at the adult correctional institution. In additon, you will be facing a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and a revocation of your license for a period of five (5) years. The State in a DUI death resulting must not only prove a DUI but also must prove that the death was the proximate cause of the DUI.

With the potential of serious jail time as well as large fines and a long loss of license in a drunk driving death case, it is important to get legal help from a top DUI lawyer. A good lawyer can help you to defend yourself in the best manner available. DUI death cases often lead to long prision sentences. However, dismissal or no jail time may be achievable in certain cases where the facts call for it.


Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in serious bodily injury. RIGL 31-27-2.6  

Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in serious bodily injury, is a serious charge under Rhode Island law. If you or a loved one is charged with DUI serious injury you need a Rhode Island DUI lawyer that can help you right from the start. Driving under the influence serious bodily injury carries the penalty of imprisonment at the ACI for up to ten (10) years. In addition if convicted, the driver is looking at a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) no more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) as well as a license revocation of up to two (2) years.

Serious bodily injury under Rhode Island law is defined as injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious physical disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

This defination is important to note. Often a good DUI defense lawyer can successfully argue that the injuries the victims sustained did not qualify as serious bodliy injury under the staute. This is important in that even if the state can prove the DUI part of the case, if it can't prove the seriousness of the injury then the defendant is neither facing a felony nor all the mandatory penalties that go along with it.



Driving under the influence at a time your license is suspended for a DUI

If you have been arrested in Rhode Island for DUI and your license was suspened or revoked for a DUI at the time of your arrest then the State can charge you with a felony DUI. Often people who have their license suspened for a DUI get charged with another while their license is suspended for the first. A defendant charged with DUI while driving on a suspended license for DUI is facing the following felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than three (3) years. Furthermore the defendant is facing a fine up to three thousand dollars ($3,000). It is important to note that a suspension for a refusal does not apply and a defendant who has served his license suspension but has not had his or her license reinstated also may not constitute a DUI while suspended for a DUI. A good lawyer can make all the difference in the world in a drunk driving case such as this by understanding the subtle nuances of the law. Be sure that you hire an experienced DUI lawyer such as Attorney Michael Zarrella, if you find yourself charged with a DUI while your license is suspended.