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DWI Attorney in Rhode Island

The Law Offices of Richard S. Humphrey has represented clients in criminal defense cases for almost 30 years.  Our Tiverton DUI lawyers handle DUI/DWI cases throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is determined by blood alcohol content (BAC).  The standard used to define DUI for adults over 21 in Rhode Island is BAC at .08 and above.  For minors driving under the influence the standard is set higher using a BAC level of .02.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is another term used for drunk driving charges.  When an individual refuses to submit to the chemical test to determine BAC, authorities may still bring DWI charges based on other factors.  Evidence being used by the prosecution may include:

  • Sobriety tests
  • Witness statements
  • Camera surveillance
  • Officer observation and opinion
  • Recorded statements

A Rhode Island DWI lawyer begins preparing your defense by examining police visual and audio recordings.

Challenging field sobriety tests

Challenging field sobriety tests is often a key strategy used by a drunk driving lawyer in RI for DWI defense.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed field sobriety tests along with specific procedures, which are used today in police academies, training officers to administer these tests.  The tests assist officers in determining intoxication.  However, studies show that even when administered correctly, field sobriety tests only have a questionable level of accuracy.

NHTSA validated a battery of three standardized tests that were incorporated into a formal training program.  The tests include:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN).  The HGN examines the jerking of the eye when a person gazes to the side, a behavior that becomes more exaggerated when intoxicated.
  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT).  The WAT requires the individual to walk heel-to-toe, taking nine steps along a straight line.
  • One-Leg Stand (OLS).  The OLS requires the individual to stand while lifting one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) for 30 seconds.  Difficulty maintaining balance is considered impairment.

Rhode Island DWI Lawyers

When police officers use non-standard field sobriety tests (touching a finger to the nose, reciting the alphabet backwards, etc.) a Rhode Island DUI attorney can easily argue against test validity.  In addition, many Rhode Island DWI attorneys effectively discredit standard field sobriety tests through witness testimony, defendant medical conditions, and even camera surveillance that make the officer’s evaluation of intoxication questionable.

Call 401.624.6152 to consult a Rhode Island DWI lawyer.