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 dangling 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.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Vermont?
In Vermont, drivers of passenger vehicles age 21 and over are subject to a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent. Any person who is found to have a BAC at or above this level is typically charged with driving under the influence.
Vermont statutes outline stricter alcohol limits for select types of drivers. For instance:
- A person not of legal drinking age can be cited for an alcohol-related driving offense (a civil infraction) for a BAC of .02 percent or greater; standard DUI charges may be filed if a BAC reaches the threshold for a given offense.
- School bus drivers are also subject to a legal alcohol limit of .02 percent.
- Commercial vehicle operators can be charged with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent.
People who are found guilty of driving under the influence typically face serious repercussions. Some of the state-mandated penalties that individuals convicted typically receive include fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, required attendance at alcohol education classes and mandatory participation in a substance abuse program.
As might be expected, first-time offenders are not usually subject to the level of punishment that multiple offenders face. The perceived seriousness of offenses also factors into punishments.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Vermont
Among the penalties that a person convicted of DUI may face is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). Installing this device is typically required for the reinstatement of a person’s driving privileges.
IID laws in Vermont outline IID installation periods of:
- Six months for a first offense
- 18 months for a second offense
- Three years for a third offense
These periods apply to standard offenses for motorists who are not of legal drinking age. Arrests involving drivers under 21 or aggravating circumstances can affect the interval length.
Vermont DUI Penalties
In recent years, Vermont has instituted stricter penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). The laws have helped pave the way for an over 50 percent decrease in DUIs in the state since 1998. In Vermont, drivers 21 and older found with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more can be charged with DUI.
Vermont also enforces an underage drinking law. If drivers under the age of 21 are found with a BAC of .02 or greater, their license will be suspended for six months, and they will be required to attend a mandatory alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Should underage drinkers receive a second offense, their license will be suspended one year or until the offender is 21, whichever time period is greater and must attend an alcohol and drug program.
Vermont also enforces implied consent laws. These laws require drivers in Vermont to take blood or breath tests if stopped for a DUI. If drivers refuse to take the test, there is an automatic six-month license suspension and the offender could still face a DUI conviction.
Vermont DUI Penalties
First-time DUI offenders face a $750 fine and can spend up to two years in jail. Furthermore, first-time offenders’ licenses are suspended for six months. To get a license back after the suspension is completed, one must complete a mandatory alcohol and drug rehabilitation program.
Second-time offenders can be fined up to $1,500. After a second offense, the license will be suspended for 18 months and there is no option for early reinstatement. Furthermore, second offenders will be charged with 200 hours of community service and must complete a mandatory alcohol and drug rehabilitation program.
Should a person receive a third DUI, his or her license will be revoked permanently. In addition, offenders could spend up to five years in prison, be fined up to $2,500 and ordered to complete 400 hours of community service.
Offenders whose DUI involved an accident that resulted in injury will garner even higher Vermont DUI penalties. A judge may fine offenders up to $5,000 and sentence them to serve up to 15 years in prison. Furthermore, if a DUI accident resulted in death, offenders could spend 15 years in prison in addition to facing manslaughter charges and a fine of up to $10,000.
Ignition Interlock Devices in Vermont
It is possible for offenders in Vermont to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), a device that is wired to a car’s ignition system and requires a breath test before the car can be started. However, in order to apply for an IID, first-time offenders must have completed 30 days of their license suspension while second-time offenders must complete 90 days. IIDs are allowed on a case-by-case basis.
Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Programs in Vermont
Vermont houses its own alcohol and drug rehabilitation program aimed at those who have been convicted of a DUI. This program, called Project CRASH, teaches participants how drugs and alcohol affects one’s ability to drive in order to prevent future DUI convictions. The CRASH program is available in multiple locations throughout Vermont and may be mandatory upon any DUI conviction.