Title 31
Motor and Other Vehicles

Chapter 27
Motor Vehicle Offenses

R.I. Gen. Laws 31-27-2.8



 31-27-2.8.  Ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing imposed as a part of sentence — Requirements.


(a) Any person subject to suspension pursuant to   31-27-2.1(b)(1) and 31-27-2.1(b)(2) or convicted under the provisions of 31-27-2(d)(1), 31-27-2(d)(2), 31-27-2(d)(3)(i), or 31-27-2(d)(3)(ii), or whose violation is sustained under the provisions of   31-27-2.1(b)(1) and 31-27-2.1(b)(2), may be prohibited by the sentencing judge or magistrate from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system, and/or blood and urine testing by a licensed physician with knowledge and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of drug-related disorders, a licensed or certified psychologist, social worker, or EAP professional with like knowledge, or a substance abuse counselor certified by the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (all of whom shall be licensed in Rhode Island), pursuant to this section.

(1) Notwithstanding any other sentencing and disposition provisions contained in this chapter, if a Rhode Island traffic tribunal magistrate makes a finding that a motorist was operating a vehicle in the state while under the influence of drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance as evidenced by the presence of controlled substances on or about the person or vehicle, or other reliable indicia or articulable conditions thereof, but not intoxicating liquor based on a preliminary breath test, results from a breathalyzer that indicates no blood alcohol concentration or both, the magistrate may exercise his or her discretion and eliminate the requirement of an ignition interlock system; provided, that blood and/or urine testing is mandated as a condition to operating a motor vehicle as provided in this section.

(2) Notwithstanding any other sentencing and disposition provisions contained in this chapter, if a Rhode Island traffic tribunal magistrate makes a finding that a motorist was operating a vehicle in the state while under the influence of drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance as evidenced by the presence of controlled substances on or about the person or vehicle, or other reliable indicia or articulable conditions thereof and intoxicating liquor based on a preliminary breath test, results from a breathalyzer that indicates blood alcohol concentration or both, the magistrate may require an ignition interlock system in addition to blood and/or urine testing as a condition to operating a motor vehicle as provided in this section.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions contained in this chapter, any mandatory period of license suspension shall, upon request, be reduced by the imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing ordered by the court or traffic tribunal as follows:

(1) For a violation of 31-27-2(d)(1), a person shall be subject to a minimum thirty-day (30) license suspension and an imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for three (3) months to one year.

(2) For a violation of 31-27-2.1(c)(1), a person shall be subject to a minimum thirty-day (30) license suspension and an imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of six (6) months to two (2) years.

(3) For a violation of 31-27-2(d)(2), a person shall be subject to a minimum forty-five-day (45) license suspension and an imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of six (6) months to two (2) years.

(4) For a violation of 31-27-2.1(c)(2), a person shall be subject to a minimum sixty-day (60) license suspension and an imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of one to four (4) years.

(5) For a violation of 31-27-2(d)(3), a person shall be subject to a minimum sixty-day (60) license suspension and imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of one to four (4) years.

(6) For a violation of 31-27-2.1(c)(3), a person shall be subject to a minimum ninety-day (90) license suspension and imposition of an ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of two (2) to ten (10) years.

(7) No license suspension shall be subject to more than a thirty-day (30) license suspension based solely upon the imposition of an ignition interlock system.

(i) If a conviction pursuant to 31-27-2(d)(1) or 31-27-2.1(c)(1) is a first offense, or upon an initial suspension pursuant to 31-27-2.1(b)(1), where there has been a finding or determination that the motorist was under the influence of intoxicating liquor only, the magistrate shall, upon request, immediately grant a conditional hardship license after a finding of need pursuant to this section and upon proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device.

(ii) If a conviction pursuant to 31-27-2(d)(1) or 31-27-2.1(c)(1) is a first offense, or upon an initial suspension pursuant to 31-27-2.1(b)(1), where there has been a finding or determination that the motorist was under the influence of drugs, toluene, or a controlled substance, but not intoxicating liquor, the judge or magistrate shall, upon request immediately grant a conditional hardship license after a finding of need pursuant to this section and upon proof of blood and urine testing pursuant to this section.

(iii) If a conviction pursuant to 31-27-2(d)(1) or 31-27-2.1(c)(1) is a first offense, or upon an initial suspension pursuant to 31-27-2.1(b)(1), where there has been a finding or determination that the motorist was under the influence of intoxicating liquor, toluene, a controlled substance, or any combination thereof, the magistrate shall, upon request immediately grant a conditional hardship license after a finding of need pursuant to this section and upon proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device, subject also to the following testing:

(A) The testing of either blood or urine is being performed by or monitored by a licensed physician with knowledge and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of drug-related disorders, a licensed or certified psychologist, social worker, or EAP professional with like knowledge, or a substance abuse counselor certified by the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (all of whom shall be licensed in Rhode Island).

(B) The motorist is required to pay for the substance abuse professional, any testing, retesting, monitoring, and reporting costs of the blood and urine testing.

(C) Samples are to be collected, tested and confirmed by a federally certified laboratory by means of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or technology recognized as being at least as scientifically accurate.

(D) Samples are to be taken weekly for the first sixty (60) days, thereafter in accordance with the recommendation of the substance abuse professional. The samples taken thereafter may be ordered randomly, but must be provided by the motorist within twenty-four (24) hours of the request. The substance abuse professional shall report to the department of the attorney general within twenty-four (24) hours any failure by the motorist to comply with a request for a sample.

(E) A positive test of urine or blood that evidences any controlled substances shall be reported by the substance abuse professional to the motorist and to the department of the attorney general within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt of the results. The motorist may, at his or her own expense, have an opportunity to have the sample retested or reevaluated by an independent testing facility which shall provide the result directly to the substance abuse professional. The attorney general may request, at any time, a copy of any or all test results from the substance abuse professional, which shall forward the requested results within forty-eight (48) hours.

(F) Upon completion of the license suspension, conditional hardship, ignition interlock and substance abuse testing periods, a finalized report shall be presented to the department of motor vehicles prior to any license reinstatement.

(G) If a judge or magistrate determines that a motorist either failed, without good cause, to comply with a sample request or tested positive for any controlled substance, he or she may exercise his or her discretion and revoke the conditional hardship license, extend the time period for the ignition interlock system and/or substance abuse testing for an additional period of up to twelve (12) months and/or impose an additional loss of license for up to twenty-four (24) months.

(H) A motorist who has failed, without good cause, to comply with a sample request or tested positive for any controlled substance for a second time within twelve (12) months of the first failure and/or positive test determination shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment, or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.

(c) However, in any case where a motorist is convicted of an alcohol-related offense pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the judge or magistrate may exercise his or her discretion in the granting of the hardship license by imposing up to a ninety (90) day loss of license prior to any imposition of the hardship license. The hardship license shall be valid for twelve (12) continuous hours per day for any valid reason approved in advance by the sentencing judge or magistrate, which shall include employment, medical appointments, job training, schooling, or religious purposes. The hardship license shall not be for less than twelve (12) continuous hours per day. A hardship license shall only be granted in conjunction with the installation of an ignition interlock device and/or blood and urine testing. Any conditional driving privileges must be set by the sentencing judge or magistrate after a hearing in which the motorist must provide proof of employment status and hours of employment, or any other legitimate reasons justifying a hardship license. These shall include, but not be limited to, any unemployment training, schooling, medical appointments, therapy treatments, or any other valid requests set forth by sworn affidavit. Once said hardship period has concluded, the motorist must still be subject to the conditions of the ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing as set forth under this section for the period of time as directed by the court. Any individual who violates the requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the penalties enumerated in 31-11-18.1.

(d) Any person convicted of an offense of driving under the influence of liquor or drugs resulting in death, 31-27-2.2; driving under the influence of liquor or drugs resulting in serious bodily injury, 31-27-2.6; driving to endanger resulting in death, 31-27-1; or driving to endanger resulting in serious bodily injury, 31-27-1.1; may, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an approved ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for one to five (5) years.

(e) Any person who operates a motor vehicle with a suspended license during the period of suspension, and the reason for the suspension was due to a conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a sustained violation or conviction of refusal to submit to a chemical test, shall be subject to the further use of the ignition interlock system and/or blood and urine testing for a period of six (6) months subsequent to the penalties enumerated in 31-11-18.1.

(f) When the court orders the use of an ignition interlock system, the judge or magistrate shall cause an appropriate notation to be made on the person's record that clearly sets forth the requirement for, and the period of the use of, the ignition interlock system.

(g) In addition to the requirements of subsection (f) of this section, the court or traffic tribunal shall:

(1) Require proof of the installation of the ignition interlock system and periodic reporting by the person for the purpose of verification of the proper operation of the ignition interlock system;

(2) Require the person to have the ignition interlock system monitored for the proper use and accuracy by a person, firm, corporation, or other association to be approved by the division of motor vehicles at least once every six (6) months, or more frequently as the circumstances may require; and

(3) Require the person to pay the reasonable cost of leasing or buying, monitoring, and maintenance of the ignition interlock system.

(4) The requirements under subsection (g) of this section shall be the responsibility of the probation department or justice assistance, if the individual is under their control, or the division of motor vehicles if the individual is not monitored as a condition of the individual's plea or finding of guilt.

(h) Any person granted a conditional hardship license upon proof of installation of an ignition interlock device, may operate that motor vehicle during the entire twelve-hour (12) period of operation granted by the sentencing judge or magistrate including during the scope of the person's employment and/or any other valid reason approved by the sentencing judge or magistrate.

(i) If a person is required, in the course of the person's employment, to operate a motor vehicle owned or provided by the person's employer, the person may operate that motor vehicle in the course of the person's employment without installation of an ignition interlock system if the court makes specific findings expressly permitting the person to operate, in the course of the person's employment, a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system.

(j) (1) Any person subject to an ignition interlock order and/or blood and urine testing who violates such order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment, or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.

(2) For a second violation within six (6) months from entry of the order, the person violating the order shall be imprisoned for a term of not less than ten (10) days and not more than one year.

(k) For the purposes of this subsection, a violation of the interlock order, includes, but is not limited to:

(1) Altering, tampering, or in any way attempting to circumvent the operation of an ignition interlock system that has been installed in the motor vehicle of a person under this section;

(2) Operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system; or

(3) Soliciting or attempting to have another person start a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock system for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system.

(l) Any person who attempts to start, or starts, a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock system, tampers with, or in any way attempts to circumvent, the operation of an ignition interlock system that has been installed in the motor vehicle for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.

History of Section.
P.L. 1990, ch. 405, 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 230, 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 326, 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 127, 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 141, 1; P.L. 2021, ch. 170, 1; P.L. 2021, ch. 171, 1.