A first DUI in Rhode Island conviction carries both criminal and administrative penalties; however, as seen in most states, the applicable criminal penalties are often applied at the discretion of the courts. Rhode Island employs a sliding scale for punishments, with higher BAC’s at time of arrest incurring more severe mandatory minimum license suspensions and fines.
Sobriety checkpoints are not authorized in Rhode Island (see 561 A.2d 1348 (R.I. 1989)). Sobriety checkpoints are random traffic stops, not tied to any specific suspicions. At one of these checkpoints, drivers are briefly questioned after which suspicious drivers are subject to field sobriety tests.