Chapter 088

2003 S 249 Substitute A As Amended

Enacted 07/02/03

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENSES

     

     Introduced By: Senators Polisena, Algiere, Sosnowski, Damiani, and Breene

     Date Introduced: February 05, 2003

 

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Section 31-27-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 31-27 entitled "Motor

Vehicle Offenses" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     31-27-2. Driving under influence of liquor or drugs. -- (a) Whoever drives or

otherwise operates any vehicle in the state while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor,

drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any

combination of these, shall be guilty of a violation or a misdemeanor as set forth in subdivision

(b)(3) of this section except as provided in subdivision (d)(3) and shall be punished as provided in

subsection (d) of this section.

      (b) (1) Any person charged under subsection (a) of this section whose blood alcohol

concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more by weight as shown by a

chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine sample shall be guilty of violating subsection (a) of

this section. This provision shall not preclude a conviction based on other admissible evidence.

Proof of guilt under this section may also be based on evidence that the person charged was under

the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance defined in chapter

28 of title 21, or any combination of these, to a degree which rendered the person incapable of

safely operating a vehicle. The fact that any person charged with violating this section is or has

been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of

violating this section.

      (2) Whoever drives or otherwise operates any vehicle in the state with a blood presence

of any scheduled controlled substance as defined within chapter 28 of title 21, as shown by

analysis of a blood or urine sample, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as

provided in subsection (d) of this section.

      (3) (i) Whoever operates or otherwise drives any vehicle in the state while under the

influence of any intoxicating liquor shall be found to have committed a civil violation for a first

offense if his or her blood alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or

more by weight but less than one-tenth of one percent (.1%), and shall be guilty of a

misdemeanor for a second offense within a five (5) year period if his or her blood alcohol

concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more by weight but less than one-

tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or of his or her blood alcohol concentration is one-tenth of

one percent (.1%) or greater, and shall be punished as provided in subsection (d) of this section.

      (ii) Whoever operates a motor vehicle if his or her blood alcohol concentration is eight

one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more by weight but less than one-tenth of one percent

(.1%) when serious bodily injury or death of any person other than the operator is caused by the

operation of any motor vehicle, the operator shall be guilty of a felony pursuant to sections 31-27-

2.2 and 31-27-2.6.

      (c) In any civil or criminal prosecution for a violation of subsection (a) of this section,

evidence as to the amount of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined

in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, in the defendant's blood at the time alleged

as shown by a chemical analysis of the defendant's breath, blood, or urine or other bodily

substance shall be admissible and competent, provided that evidence is presented that the

following conditions have been complied with:

      (1) The defendant has consented to the taking of the test upon which the analysis is

made. Evidence that the defendant had refused to submit to the test shall not be admissible unless

the defendant elects to testify.

      (2) A true copy of the report of the test result was mailed within seventy-two (72) hours

of the taking of the test to the person submitting to a breath test.

      (3) Any person submitting to a chemical test of blood, urine, or other body fluids shall

have a true copy of the report of the test result mailed to him or her within thirty (30) days

following the taking of the test.

      (4) The test was performed according to methods and with equipment approved by the

director of the department of health of the state of Rhode Island and by an authorized individual.

      (5) Equipment used for the conduct of the tests by means of breath analysis had been

tested for accuracy within thirty (30) days preceding the test by personnel qualified as

hereinbefore provided, and breathalyzer operators shall be qualified and certified by the

department of health within three hundred sixty-five (365) days of the test.

      (6) The person arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the

influence of intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of

title 21, or, any combination of these in violation of subsection (a) of this section was afforded the

opportunity to have an additional chemical test. The officer arresting or so charging the person

shall have informed the person of this right and afforded him or her a reasonable opportunity to

exercise this right, and a notation to this effect is made in the official records of the case in the

police department. Refusal to permit an additional chemical test shall render incompetent and

inadmissible in evidence the original report.

      (d) (1) (i) Every person found to have violated subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be

sentenced as follows: for a first violation whose blood alcohol concentration level is eight one-

hundredths of one percent (.08%) but less than one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or who

has a blood presence of any scheduled controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(2) may shall

be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than two hundred fifty

dollars ($250) three hundred dollars ($300), may shall be required to perform ten (10) to sixty

(60) hours of public community restitution, and/or shall be imprisoned for up to one (1) year. The

sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the

sentencing judge and/or may shall be required to attend a special course on driving while

intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, and his or her driver's license shall be

suspended for thirty (30) days up to forty-five (45) one hundred eighty (180) days.

     (ii) Every person convicted of a first violation whose blood alcohol concentration level is

one-tenth of one percent (.1%) by weight or above greater but less than fifteen hundredths of one

percent (.15%) or whose blood alcohol concentration is unknown shall be subject to a fine of not

less than one hundred ($100) dollars nor more than three four hundred dollars ($300)($400) and

shall be required to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of public community restitution and/or

shall be imprisoned for up to one year. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult

correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge. The person's driving license

shall be suspended for a period of three (3) months to six (6) twelve (12) months. The sentencing

judge shall require attendance at a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the

influence of a controlled substance and/or alcoholic or drug treatment for the individual.

      (ii)(iii) Every person convicted of a first offense whose blood alcohol concentration is

fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or more above, or who is under the influence of a drug,

toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(1) shall be subject to a fine of five

hundred dollars ($500) and shall be required to perform twenty (20) to sixty (60) hours of public

community restitution and/or shall be imprisoned for up to one year. The sentence may be served

in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge. The

person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of three (3) months to six (6) eighteen

(18) months. The sentencing judge shall require attendance at a special course on driving while

intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol or drug treatment for

the individual.

      (2) (i) Every person convicted of a second violation within a five (5) year period with a

blood alcohol concentration level of eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or above but

less than one-tenth of one percent (.1%) fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or whose blood

alcohol concentration is unknown or who has a blood presence of any controlled substance as

defined in subdivision (b)(2), and every person convicted of a second violation within a five (5) year

period regardless of whether the prior violation and subsequent conviction was a violation and

subsequent conviction under this statute or under the driving under the influence of liquor or

drugs statute of any other state, shall be subject to a mandatory fine of four hundred dollars

($400). The person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of one year to two (2) years,

and the individual shall be sentenced to not less than ten (10) days nor more than one year in jail.

The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of

the sentencing judge; however, not less than forty-eight (48) hours of imprisonment shall be

served consecutively. The sentencing judge shall require alcohol or drug treatment for the

individual, and may prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with

an ignition interlock system for a period of one year to two (2) years following the completion of

the sentence as provided in section 31-27-2.8.

      (ii) Every person convicted of a second violation within a five (5) year period and his or

her whose blood alcohol concentration is fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or more above

by weight as shown by a chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine sample or who is under the

influence of a drug, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in subdivision (b)(1) shall be

subject to mandatory imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one year, a

mandatory fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and a mandatory license suspension

for a period of two (2) years from the date of completion of the sentence imposed under this

subsection.

      (3) (i) Every person convicted of a third or subsequent violation within a five (5) year

period with a blood alcohol concentration of eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or above

but less than fifteen hundredths of one percent (.15%) or whose blood alcohol concentration is

unknown or who has a blood presence of any scheduled controlled substance as defined in subdivision

(b)(2) regardless of whether any prior violation and subsequent conviction was a violation and

subsequent conviction under this statute or under the driving under the influence of liquor or

drugs statute of any other state, shall be guilty of a felony and be subject to a mandatory fine of

four hundred ($400) dollars. The person's driving license shall be suspended for a period of two

(2) years to three (3) years, and the individual shall be sentenced to not less than one year and not

more than three (3) years in jail. The sentence may be served in any unit of the adult correctional

institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge; however, not less than forty-eight (48) hours

of imprisonment shall be served consecutively. The sentencing judge shall require alcohol or drug

treatment for the individual, and may prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle that is

not equipped with an ignition interlock system for a period of two (2) years following the

completion of the sentence as provided in section 31-27-2.8.

      (ii) Every person convicted of a third or subsequent violation within a five (5) year

period whereby his or her whose blood alcohol concentration is fifteen hundredths of one percent

(.15%) or more above by weight as shown by a chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine

sample or who is under the influence of a drug, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in

subdivision (b)(1) shall be subject to mandatory imprisonment of not less than three (3) years nor

more than five (5) years, a mandatory fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor

more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and a mandatory license suspension for a period of three

(3) years from the date of completion of the sentence imposed under this subsection.

      (iii) In addition to the foregoing penalties, every person convicted of a third or

subsequent violation within a five (5) year period regardless of whether any prior violation and

subsequent conviction was a violation and subsequent conviction under this statute or under the

driving under the influence of liquor or drugs statute of any other state shall be subject, in the

discretion of the sentencing judge, to having the vehicle owned and operated by the violator

seized and sold by the state of Rhode Island, with all funds obtained by the sale to be transferred

to the general fund.

      (4) (i) For purposes of determining the period of license suspension, a prior violation

shall constitute any charge brought and sustained under the provisions of this section or section

31-27-2.1.

      (ii) Any person over the age of eighteen (18) who is convicted under this section for

operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of

these, while a child under the age of thirteen (13) years was present as a passenger in the motor

vehicle when the offense was committed may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more

than one year and further shall not be entitled to the benefit of suspension or deferment of this

sentence. The sentence imposed under this section may be served in any unit of the adult

correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge.

      (5) (i) Any person convicted of a violation under this section shall pay a highway

assessment fine of five hundred dollars ($500) which shall be deposited into the general fund. The

assessment provided for by this subsection shall be collected from a violator before any other

fines authorized by this section.

      (ii) Any person convicted of a violation under this section shall be assessed a fee. The

fee shall be as follows:

      FISCAL YEAR FISCAL YEAR FISCAL YEAR

      1993-1995 1996-1999 2000-2006

     

$147 $173 $86

      (6) (i) If the person convicted of violating this section is under the age of eighteen (18)

years, for the first violation he or she shall be required to perform ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of

public community restitution, and the juvenile's driving license shall be suspended for a period of

six (6) months, and may be suspended for a period up to eighteen (18) months. The sentencing

judge shall also require attendance at a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the

influence of a controlled substance and alcohol or drug education and/or treatment for the

juvenile. The juvenile may also be required to pay a highway assessment fine of no more than

five hundred dollars ($500), and the assessment imposed shall be deposited into the general fund.

      (ii) If the person convicted of violating this section is under the age of eighteen (18)

years, for a second or subsequent violation regardless of whether any prior violation and

subsequent conviction was a violation and subsequent under this statute or under the driving

under the influence of liquor or drugs statute of any other state, he or she shall be subject to a

mandatory suspension of his or her driving license until such time as he or she is twenty-one (21)

years of age and may, in the discretion of the sentencing judge, also be sentenced to the Rhode

Island training school for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine of not more than five

hundred dollars ($500).

      (7) Any person convicted of a violation under this section may undergo a clinical

assessment at a facility approved by the department of health. Should this clinical assessment

determine problems of alcohol, drug abuse, or psychological problems associated with alcoholic

or drug abuse, this person shall be referred to the T.A.S.C. (treatment alternatives to street crime)

program for treatment placement, case management, and monitoring.

      (e) Percent by weight of alcohol in the blood shall be based upon milligrams of alcohol

per one hundred (100) cubic centimeters of blood.

      (f) (1) There is established an alcohol and drug safety unit within the division of motor

vehicles to administer an alcohol safety action program. The program shall provide for placement

and follow-up for persons who are required to pay the highway safety assessment. The alcohol

and drug safety action program will be administered in conjunction with alcohol and drug

programs within the department of health.

      (2) Persons convicted under the provisions of this chapter shall be required to attend a

special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance,

and/or participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program. The course shall take into

consideration any language barrier which may exist as to any person ordered to attend, and shall

provide for instruction reasonably calculated to communicate the purposes of the course in

accordance with the requirements of the subsection. Any costs reasonably incurred in connection

with the provision of this accommodation shall be borne by the person being retrained. A copy of

any violation under this section shall be forwarded by the court to the alcohol and drug safety

unit. In the event that persons convicted under the provisions of this chapter fail to attend and

complete the above course or treatment program, as ordered by the judge, then the person may be

brought before the court, and after a hearing as to why the order of the court was not followed,

may be sentenced to jail for a period not exceeding one year.

      (3) The alcohol and drug safety action program within the division of motor vehicles

shall be funded by general revenue appropriations.

      (g) The director of the health department of the state of Rhode Island is empowered to

make and file with the secretary of state regulations which prescribe the techniques and methods

of chemical analysis of the person's body fluids or breath, and the qualifications and certification

of individuals authorized to administer this testing and analysis.

      (h) Jurisdiction for civil violations of this section shall be with the traffic tribunal.

Jurisdiction for misdemeanor violations of this section shall be with the district court for persons

eighteen (18) years of age or older and to the family court for persons under the age of eighteen

(18) years. The courts shall have full authority to impose any sentence authorized and to order the

suspension of any license for violations of this section. All trials in the district court and family

court of violations of the section shall be scheduled within thirty (30) days of the arraignment

date. No continuance or postponement shall be granted except for good cause shown. Any

continuances that are necessary shall be granted for the shortest practicable time. Trials in

superior court are not required to be scheduled within thirty (30) days of the arraignment date.

      (i) No fines, suspensions, assessments, alcohol or drug treatment programs, course on

driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, public community

restitution, or jail provided for under this section can be suspended.

      (j) An order to attend a special course on driving while intoxicated that shall be

administered in cooperation with a college or university accredited by the state, shall include a

provision to pay a reasonable tuition for the course in an amount not less than twenty-five dollars

($25.00), and a fee of one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175), which fee shall be deposited into

the general fund.

      (k) For the purposes of this section, any test of a sample of blood, breath, or urine for the

presence of alcohol, which relies in whole or in part upon the principle of infrared light

absorption is considered a chemical test.

      (l) If any provision of this section or the application of any provision shall for any reason

be judged invalid, such a judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of the

section, but shall be confined in this effect to the provision or application directly involved in the

controversy giving rise to the judgment.

     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

     

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LC01544/SUB A/2

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