PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence police officer has been reassigned to a foot post after a judge tossed out a drunk driving charge filed against him earlier this summer in East Greenwich.

On June 18, East Greenwich police reported 35-year-old Victor Tavarez of Coventry drove his car off the road and into a guardrail, later crashing into the woods off the New London Turnpike.

Police said after the crash Tavarez slurred his words, stumbled and continued to repeat the same story about being on paternity leave, according to a police report.

Tavarez, who wasn’t initially identified as a police officer, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a chemical test — known also as a breathalyzer. Providence Police later confirmed the driver was Tavarez, a four-year veteran of the Providence Police Department.

Tavarez pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge, but he deferred a plea on the citation for refusing a breathalyzer. Target 12 obtained court documents showing Tavarez subsequently had his license suspended, but he was granted a so-called “hardship license” that permitted him to drive to and from work for 40 days.

As part of having the hardship license, Tavarez had to drive with an ignition interlock device, which requires a breath sample before the car engine can start.

Target 12 has since obtained court records showing on Aug. 9 that Tavarez ultimately pleaded guilty to refusing to the breathalyzer. On the same day, the misdemeanor DUI charge was dismissed, which isn’t unusual in Rhode Island drunk-driving cases when an offender refuses a breathalyzer.

A judge ordered Tavarez to complete an alcohol education program, perform ten hours of community service and continue to drive with an ignition interlock system for six months, according to court records.

S. Joshua Macktaz, an attorney representing Tavarez, confirmed the initial 40-day license suspension and hardship license has since ended.

“Now, since the case is over, he is permitted to drive 24/7/365 wherever he chooses, but he must do so in the motor vehicle in which the ignition interlock was installed,” Macktaz told Target 12. “He is no longer limited to driving to and from work, or limited to any specific hours.”

“Mr. Tavarez was glad that the criminal charge of DUI was dismissed, that his record will be sealed in approximately 45 days, and that he can continue serving the people of the city of Providence as a respected member of the police department,” he added.

Following his arraignment in June, police told Target 12 Tavarez was on administrative duty with pay. Now that the DUI charge has been dropped, police said Tavarez is on full duty, and he’s been assigned to a foot post pending the conclusion of an internal investigation. 

Alexandra Leslie ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence and more for 12 News. Connect with her on X, formerly known as Twitter and on Facebook.