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 these 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 affect one’s ability to drive in order to prevent future DUI convictions. The CRASH program is available in multiple locations throughout Vermont and maybe mandatory upon any DUI conviction.