R.I. Ups Breathalyzer Penalties

July 5, 2006

Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri will sign legislation today eliminating what some claim is a major loophole in the state’s drunk driving laws. The new law increases the penalties for those who refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test when they are pulled over for drunk driving. Before the new law took effect, the penalties for refusing a Breathalyzer test were significantly less than the penalties for DUI.

Carcieri and Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch announced in November that they would be submitting this legislation to close that loophole in state law as part of an effort end Rhode Island’s distinction of leading the nation in two categories: percentage of DUI-refusal cases and percentage of total highway deaths caused by drunken drivers.

Carcieri will be joined at the bill signing ceremony by Attorney General Lynch, Sen. Joseph Polisena of Johnston, who sponsored the Carcieri/Lynch bill in the Senate (S 2072), and Rep. J. Patrick O‚Neill of Pawtucket, who sponsored a separate version of the bill in the House (H 6700).

Source: Governor’s Office

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