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What is a Vermont DUI Charge?

It is imperative that you seek legal counsel from a top DUI lawyer in Vermont if you are in the midst of a DUI case. Not having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side can lead to you paying a ton of money in accident damages, court costs and fees – not to mention the possibility of having your license suspended and having to deal with community service. Choose from our professional team of DUI lawyers in Vermont to help you fight your DUI infraction.

In the state of Vermont, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Motorists found guilty of this crime will be arrested and charged with DUI, or operating while intoxicated. An DUI charge is a serious crime, which is punishable by several penalties including fines, community service, license suspension and imprisonment.

An DUI may be incurred in several ways. The first is by the “per se” theory, which states that any driver operating a motor vehicle in Vermont with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher if the motorist is over 21 years old. If the motorist is a commercial vehicle driver, the minimum BAC needed in order to be arrested for DUI is .04 percent. For minors (motorists under 21 years of age), the minimum BAC level is .02 percent. In order for a motorist to be charged with DUI in Vermont based on the per se theory, they don’t need to show physical signs of impairment. BAC level alone is sufficient proof of intoxication.

Vermont DUI charges may also be incurred under the impairment theory. The impairment theory states that if a driver is physically impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, they may be charged with DUI in Vermont. An officer may determine a motorist is impaired by the way they were driving, physical symptoms such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, or how they perform on a field sobriety test.

Both per se and impairment theory DUI charges in Vermont result in criminal and administrative charges – meaning both fines, jail time, community service and license suspension. The state is also part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which means that the state shares DUI information with other states and can lead a motorist to be charged with DUI in Vermont even if they are not residents of the state, likewise, Vermont residents may be charged with driving under the influence in other states.

Punishments for Vermont DUI Offenders

Vermont considers previous DUI convictions when imposing penalties for a current DUI. If a motorist is convicted of DUI in Vermont, they may suffer the following punishments:

1st DUI Conviction

• Imprisonment up to 2 years
• Fine up to $750
• Driver’s license suspended for 90 days
o May be reinstated if motorist completes alcohol and driving education program, treatment assessment and/or rehabilitation therapy
• OWI surcharge of $160 minimum

2nd DUI Conviction

• Imprisonment up to 2 years
• Fine up to $1,500
• Driver’s license suspended for 18 months
o May be reinstated if motorist completes alcohol and driving education program, treatment assessment and/or rehabilitation therapy
• OWI surcharge of $160 minimum
• Community service 200 hours minimum or 60 hours of consecutive jail time

3rd DUI Conviction

• Imprisonment up to 5 years
• Fine up to $2,500
• Driver’s license suspended for life
o May be reinstated after 3 years of sobriety, $500 application fee and completion of alcohol and drug rehabilitation therapy
• OWI surcharge of $160 minimum
• Community service 400 hours minimum or 1,000 hours of consecutive jail time
• Possible vehicle forfeiture

Vermont’s Implied Consent Law

The state of Vermont has what is known as an implied consent law in place. This law requires motorists with a Vermont driver’s license to agree to submit to a chemical test of their blood, urine or breath to determine level of intoxication. Any motorist that refuses to take the test will have their license suspended immediately for 6 months for the first refusal. Additional penalties will be imposed for subsequent refusals.

Getting Help from a Vermont DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI in Vermont, it is imperative that you contact a skilled DUI attorney right away. An DUI conviction may have serious repercussions on a motorist’s life, affecting their job, finances and even civil rights. Vermont DUI lawyers fight for their clients’ rights and ensure the best possible outcome for their cases.

Your Vermont DUI attorney will investigate the incident to uncover any evidence that can be used in your favor. Rest assured that if your paralegal discovers that you were unfairly charged, your case will be dismissed. No matter how serious your DUI charge is, you can rest easy knowing that your DUI attorney in Vermont will not rest until your charges are either significantly reduced or wiped out altogether.

Contact the law offices of a leading team of Vermont DUI lawyers today to begin your case.