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Charged With DUI in Massachusetts and Have a Rhode Island License

A common question Attorney DelSignore receives from other lawyers and people charged with OUI in Massachusetts and have a Rhode Island license is will my Rhode Island license get suspended.

Quick things to know:

  1. If you admit to an OUI in Massachusetts, Rhode Island will suspend your license for at least three months.
  2. While the case is pending, you can drive everywhere accept Massachusetts if you do not receive any notice of suspension from the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles.
  3. Rhode Island does not have a hardship license.

Important update: It use to be that the Rhode Island DMV would not always receive notice of Massachusetts license suspensions for OUI and other infractions. That all changed with the tragedy that happened in New Hampshire where seven motorcycle riders were killed by a driver that should have had his license suspended in Massachusetts. Now, Rhode Island frequently gets notice of any Massachusetts suspension and also will issue a suspension.

What Penalties will Rhode Island impose if I admit to an OUI charge?

If you were charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts and have a Rhode Island license, you will face the following license consequences if you were convicted of DUI in Massachusetts. To avoid these consequences you should consider fighting the case; Rhode Island will suspend your license regardless of whether you are found guilty or accept a Continuance without a finding or CWOF.

  • If you were convicted of drunk driving in Massachusetts, the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles would suspend your license for a period of three months, which is the minimum license suspension of DUI imposed in Rhode Island.
  • If you refused a breath test, Rhode Island will likely will suspend your license for six months, six for the refusal.
  • They can suspended for additional three months as a result of the DUI conviction on and after the six months, making it a total potential suspension of nine months.
  • While they can run the suspension on a conviction on an after, in most case they would run the suspensions concurrent.
  • A typical first offense Massachusetts DUI license suspension is 45 days. If you are convicted of DUI in Massachusetts, a Rhode Island suspension will be triggered once the Massachusetts Registry sends notice to the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles. It is once that notice is received, that you may receive notice of a Rhode Island suspension.
  • Unlike Massachusetts, Rhode Island has no work or hardship license.

Attorney Michael DelSignore explains what happens when you are charged with an OUI in Massachusetts and have a Rhode Island license

Should you report your suspension to Rhode Island?

A common questions people ask is should I report my license suspension in Massachusetts to Rhode Island. The answer depends on the following; if you work in Massachusetts and not being able to drive is the equivalent of being suspended everywhere, you should report it to Rhode Island to ensure that the suspension periods run at the same time. Otherwise if you wait to report the suspension, Rhode Island will start the suspension when they find out.

In some cases, Attorney DelSignore would recommend reporting your Massachusetts suspension to Rhode Island. Rhode Island will not start their suspension until the DMV receives notice. Let's assume that you refused a breath test and resolved the OUI case. Let's say the date of the arrest was January 1st and the plea happened on May 1st.

Massachusetts suspension: 6 months starting on January 1st plus 45 days. You would be eligible to get your full license back in approximately seven months.

Seeing your license would not have been suspended in Rhode Island, Rhode Island would start the six month suspension from when they get notice. Let's say you receive the notice on May 15th; now you have a six month suspension starting on May 15th.

If being suspended in Massachusetts, is very detrimental for you, meaning you work in Massachusetts; you should report the suspension so they run together. If you do not need to drive in Massachusetts, you may not want to report it so that you can drive in Rhode Island while the case is pending. Under that circumstance, you will deal with the suspension when you get it. It is now very likely you will get the suspension given the improved communication between the States following the tragic motorcycle accident in New Hampshire.

This is an example of a problem that comes up often for Rhode Island Drivers:

Common Situation to avoid: Rhode Island license holder receive a Massachusetts suspension on December 1, 2019. Rhode Island issues its suspension on January 17th, 2020; The Rhode Island suspension would start on January 17 meaning the driver would not get credit for the other 6 weeks of being suspended because Rhode Island did not issue a suspension and the driver could have driven in Rhode Island at the time.

It could be that a motorist is suspended in Massachusetts, but does not need to drive in Massachusetts; in that case, it may be better not to report to delay the suspension.

Attorney Michael DelSignore explains what happens when you are charged with an OUI in Massachusetts and have a Rhode Island license

Consequences of the breathalyzer refusal suspension : Rhode Island may suspend your license for refusing the breathalyzer test. If Rhode Island finds out about your suspension for refusing the breathalyzer test, you would face an additional six month license suspension. Accordingly, when you have a Rhode Island license, it is important to challenge any refusal suspension.

You can also avoid a breathalyzer refusal suspension in Massachusetts if you obtain a not-guilty verdict on the underlying charge. In that case, there is a presumption that a judge will reinstate your license for breathalyzer refusal when you obtain a not-guilty verdict on the DUI charge.

What to do Next

If you have any questions about how your Rhode Island license will be affected when you are charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts, you can call Attorney Delsignore at 781-686-5924. Attorney Delsignore is an attorney licensed to practice in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts and has handled numerous drunk driving cases in both states and will gladly explain the license consequence in process to you.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire