Traffic Violation Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island doesn’t use a point-tracking system to monitor drivers, but instead uses fines and suspensions alone to keep drivers in line. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to stop at the scene of accident in which injury or death occurred, and voluntary or involuntary manslaughter all require immediate license suspensions from 1 to 3 years.

Habitual Offenders

Though there is no point system, Rhode Island classifies drivers with labels based on their records. A driver who commits three or more major offenses within a 3-year period is given the label of a ‘habitual offender.’ Earning this classification will cause a license to be suspended for a period of at least one year, and up to five years.

Alcohol-Related Offenses in Rhode Island

Rhode Island takes a hard line against alcohol-related traffic violations. Any driver younger than 21 with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle can face a 30-day suspension of driving privileges.

Rhode Island considers a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) to be anyone over 21 with a blood alcohol level of. 08%. A driver under 21 can be convicted of DWI for blood alcohol only reading .02%.

A first-time DWI offender with a blood alcohol level between .08% and .10% will be fined from $100 - $300 and will lose his or her license for one-month to six-months. The driver could spend up to a year in a jail, as well as be forced to serve 10 – 60 hours of community service. An alcohol treatment program or driving school may also be required.

If the blood alcohol level is between .10% and .15% the fine can go up to $400 and the jail term can be up to 1 year, along with the community service. The license is also suspended for 3 – 12 months.

Further Alcohol Offenses

A second offender, whether the blood alcohol level is .08% or .15% will be fined $400, and lose his or her driver’s license for up to 2 years. The driver will spend from 10 days to 1 year in jail, and undergo alcohol and/or drug treatment. An ignition interlock system may be required for up to two years after license reinstatement. Any DWI that results in a death is automatically considered a felony.

Three Strikes

A third DWI offense within 5 years requires 2-3 year suspension, jail, a fine, treatment, and is a felony conviction.