Vermont DUIs and DWIs
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Drivers who violate Vermont DUI laws will be subjected to penalties issued by both the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the court presiding over a case. The VT DUI consequences that arise as a result of committed offenses may include lengthy driver license suspensions, steep fines and jail sentences. The court-imposed penalties issued when a conviction is reported on your driving record are separate from any DMV civil penalties. Learn more about drunk driving laws in VT and the consequences of violations by reading the sections below.
Vermont DUI Citations and Convictions
Drivers stopped on suspicion of committing a Vermont DUI violation are generally asked to undergo a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test by law enforcement officers, which will determine whether or not the motorist is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Adult drivers who fail the test will be subjected to a DWI arrest and will receive a Notice of Intent to Suspend, which will outline the civil charges brought against them.
Refusal to complete the BAC test leads to an administrative DUI drivers license suspension in VT for the duration of 6 months. Subsequent violations of state laws lead to greater civil penalties. Licensees who are convicted of a VT DUI violation through the state court system will be sanctioned with criminal penalties as well. License suspensions issued as a result of both civil and criminal charges will run concurrently. Also, any completed portion of one type of suspension before starting the other will be deducted from the second suspension penalty.
Vermont Under the Influence Violations and Penalties
Convictions of Vermont DUI offenses will lead to several types of criminal penalties, which generally vary based on circumstances surrounding the violation and the status of the driver’s record. Drivers with several convictions on their driving transcripts may be charged with a felony and subjected to much more severe consequences than first-time offenders.
First DUI Offense
The Vermont DUI consequences that arise from convictions of first DUI offenses include fines of up to $750, additional court trials and license suspensions of 90 days. First DUI convictions will also result in a maximum jail sentences of 2 years. In addition to these court-imposed penalties, drivers will also be subjected to certain administrative sanctions.
Second DUI Offense
Second violations of the Vermont impaired driving laws result in 18-month license suspensions and fines of up to $1,500. Second offenses generally lead to imprisonment sentences of up to 2 years with a potential community service sentence.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Convictions of third DUI violations in Vermont are sanctioned as felonies with penalties that typically include maximum fines of $2,500, jail sentences of up to 5 years and specific public service sentences. Motorists who commit a third offense will also have their license revoked for life. Fourth and subsequent DWI convictions in VT will result in prison terms of up to 10 years and maximum fines of $5,000.
Drinking and Driving in Vermont
The risk of violating Vermont DUI laws increases proportionally with the amount of alcohol and/or drugs an individual has consumed. Intoxicated drivers often put their own life and the lives of others at jeopardy. Therefore, motorists who commit a DUI violation incur severe consequences in Vermont, as the state recognizes the detrimental effect of intoxicants on safe driving. Administered penalties may also be affected by the presence of certain aggravating factors. For instance, offenders who injure or cause the death of other pedestrians, passengers or drivers will face more severe penalties.
Vermont DUI Attorneys
Due to the severity of Vermont DUI penalties issued to motorists who violate the state laws, hiring a defense attorney with experience in this area of law is often an essential step. In addition to helping drivers handle charges by representing them in court, a good DUI lawyer in VT can also assist offenders in meeting any court-imposed requirements after the conclusion of the trial.
Since the potential consequences that may arise after a DUI vary based on the circumstances of the violation, motorists must ensure they hire a good lawyer that will meet their specific needs. Drivers will increase their chances of engaging the services of an appropriate DUI attorney by contacting several candidates and inquiring about their credentials and past experience of dealing with cases such as your own.
Vermont Open Container Laws
Another important Vermont DUI law to follow is the open container legislation, which prohibits drivers from consuming or possessing open alcoholic beverages while operating their vehicle. This drunk driving law was implemented for the purpose of minimizing the risk of DUI violations. Motorists who are transporting alcoholic beverages must ensure they are unopened and stored in an inaccessible part of the vehicle, such as the trunk or back seat. Those found with an open alcoholic container in their possession while driving will receive a DUI or DWI citation.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Vermont
Drivers who have committed a DUI offense in Vermont will have their driving privileges suspended or revoked until they complete the corresponding credential restoration procedure with the state DMV. The requirements to reinstate a suspended license may vary based on the circumstances surrounding the violation, but they generally include:
- Satisfying any court-imposed conditions.
- Completing an alcohol education course.
- Participating in a substance abuse assessment and treatment program.
- Reapplying for a Vermont driver’s license.
- Submitting proof of a valid vehicle insurance policy.
- Paying the reinstatement fee to the state DMV.
Vermont Alcohol Awareness Classes
One of the Vermont DUI consequences that typically arises after committing an offense is mandatory participation in a DUI traffic school program. After attending the DUI classes required by the state alcohol and driving education program, motorists will have learned more about the effects of alcohol and/or drugs on their driving habits. Drivers will also be able to review the laws imposed by Vermont law enforcement agencies. To learn whether or not you are required to attend a DUI school program, contact a local VT DMV office.
Vermont SR-22 Insurance
Drivers who are reinstating a DUI suspended license in Vermont may be required to provide proof of a financial responsibility or insurance to the state DMV as part of the reinstatement requirements. As evidence of valid insurance coverage, the department requires the submission of the SR-22 certificate of insurance, which must be maintained for at least three consecutive years. To learn whether VT DUI insurance companies submit the SR-22 form on the driver’s behalf or motorists have to submit it themselves, contact a local DMV office.
Vermont Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
Under the strict Vermont DWI laws, adult drivers commit a violation within the state if they operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08 percent or greater. Motorists may be convicted of a DUI offense in VT even with a BAC level below the legal limit in the event that the prosecutor proves that the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle was affected by alcohol and/or drugs. Stricter driving laws apply to commercial operators and licensees below the legal drinking age. Commercial motorists are at risk of a violation if they operate a vehicle with a BAC level of .04 percent or greater. Drivers younger than 21 years of age, on the other hand, are prohibited from driving if their BAC level is above .01 percent.
Restricted Driver’s License in Vermont
Drivers who have a Vermont DUI drivers license suspension in effect on their driver’s records will be unable to regain their full driving privileges until they complete the credential reinstatement process. In certain cases, however, drivers with a suspended license may be eligible to apply for a restricted driving license after installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. Licensees whose driving privileges were affected by a DUI conviction are eligible to apply for the IID restricted driver’s license only if:
- They hold a standard non-commercial driving license.
- They were not suspended for driving under the influence of drugs.
- They are not under suspension for any additional non-DUI offenses.
Drivers with DUI suspended licenses in VT can initiate the process of applying for an IID restricted credential by contacting the state DMV by phone. To finalize the application procedure, motorists will be required to pay the reinstatement fee and submit the SR-22 form and proof of installation of the ignition interlock device.