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Q

What happens if you get caught driving with a permit by yourself in Rhode Island?


A

The Limited Instruction Permit is a kind of preliminary license for persons learning to drive in Rhode Island, the first step in the Graduated Licensing system. With a Rhode Island learner permit, you can practice driving under the supervision of a properly licensed driver who has held a license for at least five (5) years.

The licensed driver must be sitting beside you at all times and be ready to take control of the vehicle in an emergency. The licensed driver is legally responsible for any driving violation you may commit. You must wear a safety belt as required by law unless you provide the DMV with a physician's letter indicating you cannot wear a safety belt for medical reasons. All passengers must wear a seat belt or be in a child restraint as required by law.

According to Rhode Island Code 31-10-6.4 it is unlawful for the holder of a limited learner's permit, a temporary permit or a limited provisional license to drive a motor vehicle in violation of the restrictions that apply to that permit or license.

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Failure to comply with a restriction concerning time of driving or the presence of a supervising driver in the vehicle constitutes operating a motor vehicle without a license.

Failure to comply with any other restriction, including seating and passenger limitations, is an infraction punishable by a monetary fine of thirty dollars ($30.00) for the first offense, sixty dollars ($60.00) for the second offense, and one hundred dollars ($100.00) for a third or any subsequent offenses.

As mentioned above a violation of a time or supervision restriction (which driving by yourself is) constitutes operating a motor vehicle without a license, which is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) to five hundred ($500) and a possible prison sentence up to 30 days for the first offense. For subsequent offenses, the fine is between three hundred fifty dollars $350 and one thousand ($1,000) and a possible prison sentence of up to one year. The court can also suspend the license in addition to imposing these penalties.

You can look up more regarding these violation penalties by researching RI General Laws 31-10-6, 31-10-6. 4, and 31-11-18.


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