In order to be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Vermont, you must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent. If you are a commercial driver, however, you only need to have a BAC of .04 percent. For those under the legal drinking age of 21, the limit is even lower, a mere .02 percent.
In Vermont, you can be arrested for driving under the influence even if you are not in fact driving. As long as you have physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated, you can be arrested for DUI. This might include sleeping it off in your car at the side of the road while the keys dangle from the ignition. It is possible that under some circumstances you can enter a plea bargain that will reduce your DUI to a “wet reckless.”
Implied Consent Law
Vermont’s implied consent law dictates that you must agree to a chemical test of either your blood or breath if you are arrested with probable cause for driving under the influence. This test will be administered within 30 minutes of the time you were driving and will be used by the arresting officer to determine your blood alcohol concentration level. If you decline to take the test, this fact can be used against you in a court of law. Also, if you refuse, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six months.
The suspension period increases for subsequent refusals. For a second offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 18 months. Upon a third offense, you will face a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license. However, you may be permitted to drive on a restricted license with the use of an ignition interlock device.
Felony Vermont DUI Laws
In Vermont, your third DUI charge, and any subsequent DUI charges, could result in a felony conviction. If convicted of a felony DUI, you will have to serve at least 100 hours consecutively in jail (or perform a minimum of 400 hours of community service), but you could serve up to five years in jail. You will be fined up to $2,500 and may be required to forfeit your vehicle. In addition, you will be required to pay DUI surcharges. Finally, your license will be suspended for life. However, if you completely abstain from the consumption of both alcohol and drugs for three full years and pay a $500 fee, you may be able to get your license restored.
Changes to Vermont DUI Laws in 2010
In 2010, the Vermont state legislature enacted an optional ignition interlock device program for those convicted of driving under the influence. By volunteering to install one of these devices, an individual convicted of a DUI can reduce the amount of time his or her license is suspended. Even if convicted of a DUI, you can drive on a restricted license using one of these devices until your driving privileges are fully restored. This interlock device will prevent you from starting your car until you pass a breath test.