Rhode Island DUI / Breathalyzer Lawyer ...

Rhode Island takes DUI/Refusal cases very seriously and you need a skilled attorney to represent you if you have been charged with these offenses. If you are arrested for drunk driving and you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will face a DUI charge in District or Superior Court and a civil Breathalyzer Refusal charge at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Additionally, if you are facing a Refusal charge, it is likely that your license will be preliminarily suspended. Depending on the facts of your case, there are arguments that can be made at the initial appearance that could allow you to keep your license as the case progresses. As a former prosecutor, I prosecuted hundreds of Breathalyzer Refusal cases and DUI cases in District and Superior Court. As a private criminal defense attorney, I defend my clients against these charges and consistently obtain outstanding results. Facing these charges can be scary and confusing because you may be facing charges in different courts simultaneously. Put knowledge and experience on your side if you are facing these charges. My goal in every DUI case is to have your criminal charges dismissed and expunged from your record.

DUI / Breathalyzer Refusal Frequent Questions ...

What does the prosecution need to prove to sustain a Breathalyzer Refusal case against me?

  1. That the law enforcement officer making the sworn report had reasonable grounds to believe that the arrested person had been operating a motor vehicle in Rhode Island and was under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs;
  2. The person, while under arrest, refused to submit to a chemical test upon the request of a law enforcement officer;
  3. The person had been informed of his/her rights for Use at the Scene; and
  4. The person had been informed of the penalties enumerated in the Implied Consent Notice.


What does the prosecution need to prove to sustain a DUI case against me?

  1. The person arrested was operating a motor vehicle;
  2. In Rhode Island;
  3. While under the influence of liquor and/or drugs to such a degree which rendered him/her incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.


I did not take a breathalyzer test when I was arrested. How can the police prove that I was under the influence?

When a person submits to a chemical test of breath or blood, the results of the test constitute the most important piece of evidence against you to show that you were under the influence when you were arrested. These types of cases are often referred to as “per se” intoxication cases—essentially, if the breath results show that your blood alcohol content is over the legal limit of .08, it is presumed that you were intoxicated. However, it should be noted that the prosecution must overcome numerous hurdles to admit the results of your breath test at trial. A skilled criminal defense attorney knows what these hurdles are and how to overcome them.

In addition to per se intoxication cases, the State can also prove its case against you with observational testimony. In these types of cases, law enforcement officials will testify as to erratic driving patterns and your appearance when they contacted you at the scene. Law enforcement officials frequently testify to bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol emanating from your breath or within the interior of your vehicle. These types of cases are often referred to as “observation” cases and they are easier to defend because the prosecution lacks the critical breath test results.


What is a Conditional Hardship License and am I eligible for one?

A conditional hardship license allows a person to operate a motor vehicle during the initial suspension period and at the disposition of the case. To qualify for a conditional hardship license, the motorist must provide proof of an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle he/she will be using. Additionally, a motorist must persuade the issuing judge as to why the hardship license is needed. Moreover, proof of employment and other similar documents are often required as a prerequisite to a hardship license being issued. If you have a prior alcohol-related offense or if your case involved a motor vehicle accident, you may be ineligible for a hardship license. Additional conditions may be imposed by the issuing judge if you are not a first-time offender.


Law Office of Michael P. Marinelli, LLC • 2181 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886


Law Office of Michael P. Marinelli, LLC • 2181 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886

Contact our Warwick office at: 401-351-3200



Our Mission ...

We take a genuine interest in our clients to fully understand their legal predicament and to identify what their expectations are. When you contact The Law Office of Michael P. Marinelli, you can count on us to communicate effectively with you and provide sound legal advice tailored to your specific case. Our goal is to provide superior legal services that consistently meet or exceed your expectations.

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Law Office of
Michael P. Marinelli, LLC

2181 Post Road

Warwick, RI 02886


Phone: (401) 351-3200