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Last updated: September 27, 2023

Guide to Rhode Island DUI Laws

Driving a vehicle while under the influence is a misdemeanor offense worth hiring a Rhode Island DUI attorney

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In 2021, 35 percent of the Rhode Island drivers involved in fatal car crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, meaning they were driving while impaired. In Rhode Island, driving under the influence of liquor or any intoxicating drugs, toluene, or controlled substance is a misdemeanor offense. But on top of state penalties, you’ll also see higher car insurance rates with a DUI on your record.

DUI Penalties in the State of Rhode Island

Before we get into the relationship between DUIs and insurance, let’s take a look at Rhode Island’s penalties for driving a motor vehicle under the influence.


If you’ve taken an alcohol and/or drug urine, blood, or chemical test and have been convicted of driving under the influence in Rhode Island, you could face fines, community service, imprisonment, a license suspension, required education/treatment, and an ignition interlock requirement.1

Once you’ve been arrested and charged, and after you’ve submitted to a chemical, urine, or breath test, consult a Rhode Island DUI lawyer for assistance avoiding up to a year in jail for a first offense.

Penalties for DUI charge by offense number 1 2 within a 5-year period 3 or subsequent within a 5-10-year period
Fine BAC 0.1%-0.15%: $100-$300

BAC over 0.15%: $100-$400

BAC 0.1%-0.15%: $400

BAC over 0.15%: $1,000 minimum

BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: $400

BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: $1,000-$5,000

Public community restitution in hours 10-60 Not required Not required
Length of imprisonment 1 year maximum BAC 0.1%-0.15%: 10 days-1 year

BAC over 0.15%: 6 months-1 year

BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: 1-3 years

BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: 3-5 years

Length of license suspension 180 days BAC 0.1%- 0.15%: 1-2 years

BAC over 0.15%: 2 years minimum

BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: 2-3 years

BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: 3 years

Education/treatment May be required to attend a special course on DUIs Required drug and alcohol treatment program Required drug and alcohol treatment program
Ignition interlock required At judge’s discretion Yes Yes


An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that plugs into your car. If your BAC is above a certain level, the car won’t start.

Penalties for Underage Drivers

Because of teen driver laws, drivers under 18 face different penalties for a DUI in Rhode Island.

Penalties for DUI charge by offense number 1 2 or subsequent within a 5-year period
Fine $500 maximum $500 maximum
Public community restitution in hours 10-60 Not required
Imprisonment length 1 year maximum BAC 0.1%-0.15%: 10 days-1 year

BAC over 0.15%: 6 months-1 year

License suspension length 6-18 months Until 21st birthday
Education/treatment Yes, but length not specified 1 year maximum
Ignition interlock requirement At judge’s discretion Yes

How Long a DUI Stays on Your Record

In Rhode Island, a DUI will stay on your record for three years.2 However, you cannot get the violation dismissed if it included:

  • Refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test
  • School bus
  • Property damage or personal injury
  • Speeding more than 14 miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit
  • Commercial license holder

To get your charge removed when eligible, you’ll have to pay a $35 administrative fee and a $25 surcharge.


As of 2018, Rhode Island no longer requires SR-22s, forms that prove you have the minimum insurance required after you reinstate your license following a suspension.3

How DUIs Affect Car Insurance

Expect your car insurance in Rhode Island to increase by 83 percent, on average, after getting a DUI. Here are some increase rates from specific companies.

Average annual cost of car insurance by company With a clean record With a DUI Percentage difference
Overall $1,900 $3,484 83%
USAA $466 $1,972 323%
Travelers $1,081 $2,289 112%
GEICO $2,412 $2,753 14%
Allstate $3,399 $3,455 2%
Nationwide $2,161 $4,654 115%

Finding Insurance After a DUI

Finding car insurance after being convicted of a DUI will be difficult, as is the case whenever you need any form of high-risk car insurance. However, there are ways to lower your car insurance premium.

Best and Cheapest Companies

The best auto insurance after a DUI is from companies like USAA, Travelers, and GEICO, as these have the lowest average rates.


USAA is available only to active-duty military members, veterans, and their families.


If you can’t find a car insurance company that will accept you after trying for 60 days, you can join the state’s assigned risk pool, also known as the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan, which will match you with a provider. However, after three years with a satisfactory driving record, you’ll be removed from the pool and will have to buy private auto insurance.

To find out more about the plan, use the following contact information:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 401-528-1409
  • Phone number: 401-946-2600; Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Mailing address: 
    • Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan
    • P.O Box 6530
    • Providence, RI 02940-6530

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways to lower the cost of auto insurance, even with a DUI on your record:

  1. Raise your collision/comprehensive deductible. The most common deductibles are $250, $500, or $1,000.
  2. Lower your limits.
  3. Get the state’s minimum coverage required, which is liability coverage only: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of bodily injury liability, plus $25,000 of property damage liability.
  4. Keep your driving record clean. In three years, your DUI will likely disappear from your record, so don’t get on any more violations in the meantime.
  5. Avoid gaps in coverage.
  6. Drive less.
  7. Improve your credit score.
  8. Drop coverages you don’t need, like rental car coverage or roadside assistance, which includes towing, labor, jump-starts, fuel delivery, etc.
  9. Take a driver education course if you’re an older or a younger driver.
  10. Ask your agents for discounts, like discounts for bundling home and auto insurance, having good grades, adding another vehicle to your policy, or installing anti-theft devices in your vehicle.


Given that in Rhode Island, DUIs can stay on your record for three years, driving under the influence can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in premiums — not to mention the other legal penalties. The next time you drink, use a designated driver or take public transportation or a rideshare service. Whatever you do, don’t get behind the wheel unless you’re sober.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a DUI show up on a background check in Rhode Island?

Yes, a DUI will show up on a background check in Rhode Island, as these checks include any criminal convictions, including misdemeanors. However, if you were not convicted of a DUI, or if it occurred in another state, it will not show up on your Rhode Island state background check, according to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

How do I find my criminal record in Rhode Island?

You can search for your court record online via the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal at The other option is to use the computers in the clerks’ offices at the supreme, superior, family, district, and workers’ compensation courts as well as the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.


  1. Title 31 Motor and Other Vehicles. Rhode Island State Laws. (2023).

  2. Frequently Asked Questions. State of Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. (2023).

  3. Industry Alert 2018-2. Department of Business Regulation, Insurance Division. (2018, Jul 18).