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7/1/2016 Bill mandating hardship licenses with interlock ignition system for first offenders is signed into law
STATE HOUSE — Gov.Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) and Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) that requires a judge or magistrate to immediately grant a hardship license upon a finding or admission of guilt to a first offense of driving under the influence or refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical test, subject to a finding of need. Under some circumstances, a judge or magistrate may order a suspension of the offender's license prior to the imposition of a hardship license.

The hardship license would be granted only after the installation of an ignition interlock system, which requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the vehicle. If the breath-alcohol concentration is greater than allowed, the device prevents the engine from being started.

Rhode Island’s ignition interlock law prohibits individuals convicted of driving under the influence from operating vehicles unless those vehicles are equipped with the system.

The law (2016-S 2370B, 2016-H 8362) would require a sworn affidavit and supporting documentation to accompany the request in order to justify a hardship license. A finding of need would be based on employment, job training, medical appointments, schooling or other reason determined to be valid by the court. It would also extend the time for arresting police departments to provide a copy of a chemical or blood test relative to charges of driving under the influence from 72 hours to five business days.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903