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Playing it smart with a DUI & DWI defense In Rhode Island

It's a common misconception that Rhode Island drivers are guilty as soon as they see the flashing red lights in their rear view mirrors. Drivers may know they have been drinking alcohol and are probably over the limit of .08 and thus act the part by nearly convicting themselves. But one of the greatest parts of our legal system is that we are innocent until proven guilty.

The smartest thing to do is simply not get behind the wheel if you've been drinking. But if you do find yourself pulled over, here are some smart tips to remember because there's no point in making things worse than they already are.

The officer must follow specific protocols in order to ensure that the individual's rights are not violated. This is important both with the act of pulling over the driver and with administration of a field sobriety test. You may have a case if the attorney can determine that there was no probable cause for being pulled over, or if there was an improper administration of the field test.

Every driver has the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, but Rhode Island is an implied consent state. This means that by getting behind the wheel you enter an agreement with the state to consent to sobriety testing. According to the Rhode Island DMV web site, the driver who refuses will likely be cited for refusing a sobriety test and lose their license for 6 months, face 10-60 hours of community service or a $200-$500 penalty. The driver can also still be convicted in court with the prosecutor using the driver's refusal as proof that they knew they were over the limit.

The right to remain silent. Be polite and answer direct questions that don't incriminate you, but do not volunteer any information beyond the scope of the question. The pulled over driver is actually under no obligation to answer the officer until they have been placed under arrest. Before that, the officer is looking for you to incriminate yourself. Being argumentative is a big no-no and saying you had "one or two drinks" is another.

If you, a friend or family member is arrested on suspicion of DUI or DWI, it's not the end of the world. It will likely cost some time, money and may leave the driver with a black mark on their record, but an attorney with a thorough knowledge of the legal system in regards to driving under the influence may be able to get the charges and penalties reduced if not dismissed. Taking the above advice will only strengthen the attorney's defense

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