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Breath and Alcohol Tests

Judges Hammer


When you are stopped in Rhode Island and the officer suspects that you may be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it is likely that they will ask you to submit to a breath alcohol test to determine your BAC. The legal limit for alcohol in your blood is a reading of .08 if you are over the age of 21, .04 if you have a CDL and are operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time, and .02 if you are under the age of 21.

You are legally obligated to submit to a DUI breath alcohol test as a Rhode Island driver’s license holder under the “implied consent” agreement that you entered with the DMV when you accepted your license. This implied consent states that you agree to a breathalyzer test when one is requested of you, and if you are found guilty of refusing a breath test when the police had the legal justification to ask you to consent to that test, you can lose your driver’s license for a certain amount of time. Refusing a breath test is a civil violation, prosecuted by the RI Attorney General at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, and can have separate impacts than the criminal charges you will be facing if you are arrested for DUI. 

Read more below to learn about the different things that you should know about these types of tests, and how we can help you build a defense no matter what the outcome of your breath alcohol test was during the traffic stop that led to your charges. Contact us now to request an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you specifically. 


When you drink alcohol, the chemical is absorbed into your bloodstream through your stomach and your intestines. Once it has entered your bloodstream, you breathe it out every time you exhale. A breath alcohol test uses a device that gives an estimate of how much alcohol is in your bloodstream based on the concentration of alcohol on your breath. Depending on when you had your last drink, how much you have had to eat, and many other factors, the results can vary drastically.

Since the test is only meant to check for alcohol, this type of device will not give an indication to an officer that the suspect is under the influence of any other type of intoxicant, such as marijuana. In cases where the officer suspects that there are other types of drugs involved, or to confirm the results of the breath test, you may be asked to submit to a blood test as well.

Consequences for Refusing a Breath Test

If you refuse to submit to a breath alcohol test, you can still be arrested for DUI. In addition, if you are found guilty of refusing to submit to a breath test, you will automatically have your license suspended for violating your agreement with the DMV. If you act in a timely manner with the right legal steps, you may be able to have your license reinstated in as little as 30 days, provided that you install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle as part of the agreement. This is not always possible, but we will take all steps possible to make this possibility a reality if you have refused a breath alcohol test in Rhode Island. 

Contact Us Today

Regardless of the outcome of your breath test, or whether you submitted to it or not, contact us today to speak with an experienced DUI attorney in Rhode Island about the details of your arrest, and learn more about how we can help you build your defense. Our experience in the Rhode Island court system, and with DUI defense, in particular, will be a major asset for your case.

Contact The Law Office of Brett V. Beaubien today to get started with our Providence appeals attorney.