Rhode Island DUI hardship law

Don't lose your ability to drive because of a Rhode Island DUI

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

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Attoney 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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Hardship licenses in DUI and Refusal cases

Rhode Island allows hardship license in DUI cases

Never lose your ability to drive to work

Under Rhode Island law it used to be that if you were convicted for a breathalyzer refusal or a DUI you would lose your license for a long time.   A long suspension of one license can be devastating and often the damage from the suspension is irreversible. A person with a license suspension often would lose their job putting their livelihood in jeopardy.  

Recently, the state of Rhode Island passed a new law that allows a driver to seek a hardship license for certain DUI and refusal cases.   A conditional hardship license will allow a motorist to drive for the purposes of work or school for a period of twelve (12) hours a day.  This is crucial for those individuals who have to drive themselves to work or school.  

The rules on a receiving a hardship license are simple for the most part. If you are going to apply for the hardship license under Rhode Island law, you will have to have an ignition interlock installed.  An ignition interlock is a breathalyzer for a motorized vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the defendant has been drinking, the automobile will not be able to start.  In addition, the device also randomly will ask a driver for a breath sample as he is driving to ensure that he is not drinking and driving at the same time.

No hardship license can be issued without the installation of the interlock.  Once an interlock is installed, you are able to receive a hardship license.

Hardship licenses may be granted to those who can prove they need a hardship license to drive to work.  In addition, a hardship license can also be granted for the purpose of getting to medical appointments, therapy appointments, training, college or other schooling, or any other valid reason approved in advance by the judge.

Hardship licenses are available for preliminary suspensions

Hardships are also available for those individuals that have a preliminary suspension on a refusal case.  A good lawyer can often get a hardship license at the first court date thereby preventing even a day of not being able to drive to work, school or any other crucial appointment.

There are major advantages to having a defendant receive a hardship during the time of his preliminary suspension. First, it allows the attorney to fight the charges without having to rush the case because his client license is suspended. Second, a defendant may get credit for the time while his license has been preliminary suspended if he ends up pleading or losing at trial.