DUI in Vermont

What is a DUI in Vermont?

In Vermont, motorists are strictly prohibited from operating vehicles when inebriated or intoxicated. The term DUI refers to the criminal act of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances. Vermont law enforcement agencies are charged with apprehending and prosecuting road traffic offenders according to 23 VSA § 1201. When an offender is detained, they are processed by law enforcement agencies and prosecuted by Vermont courts.

The penalties issued to an offending motorist vary depending on the offender's driving or criminal history and the nature and severity of the offense. Typically DUI offenders are fined, detained, or mandated to attend court-authorized therapy or rehabilitation. In addition, DUI offenses are included in the offenders Vermont criminal records depending on the offense.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Vermont?

In Vermont, the terms DUI and DWI are used interchangeably to refer to the crime of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance. However, DWIs are commonly considered more severe than DUIs. As such, their penalties may be more serious. Notwithstanding, the penalties for a DUI or DWI vary depending on the severity of the offense and whether or not the intoxication led to an accident.

Vermont DUI Laws

Vermont has a general impaired driving law outlined in the state’s driving code. This law prohibits all persons from operating a motor vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • While Under the influence of intoxicating drinks, inebriating substances, or narcotic drugs.
  • If the alcohol concentration in the person's blood exceeds 0.08 or if the person is under 21 and has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more.
  • If the alcohol concentration in the person's breath, as shown by chemical analysis, is 0.08 or more.

A motorist is deemed guilty of a DUI if:

  • The person's alcohol concentration is 0.01 or greater at any relevant time after the driving.
  • The person's alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08 within two hours of driving.
  • If the person's alcohol concentration is 0.04 or more within hours of driving and if it occurs within ten years of a prior DUI conviction, either in Vermont or elsewhere.

DUI Penalties in Vermont

The fines for a first DUI conviction are between $500 -$2000 and imprisonment of between 1 to 2 years. A second DUI conviction can cost between $1000 and $3,000 with 2-5 years of possible jail time. The penalty for a third DUI conviction is between $2000 and $5000 with possible jail time of 3-5 years. A fourth or subsequent offense may result in a fine of up to $3000 and incarceration from 2-5 years. In addition, the judge will order the defendant to undergo an assessment at a facility approved by the Commissioner of Health.

Additionally, if the offender's blood alcohol content is. 08 or more, they will be given a Vermont Driver's License Suspension Warning. The offender must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for five months after they are allowed to drive again. They will also have an additional three-year probationary period where they can lose their license if they are arrested for another DUI.

The offender must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for five months after being allowed to drive again. They may also have an additional 3-year probationary period where they can lose their license if they are arrested for another DUI. The fine may be up to $500, and the possible jail time is six months to 1 year.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Vermont?

In Vermont, a DWI refers to driving while intoxicated. The penalties for a DUI in Vermont may be similar to DUI. Notwithstanding, a DWI is considered a serious offense, punishable by up to 3 years in jail and fines reaching $1,000.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Vermont?

A first DUI in Vermont is typically deemed a misdemeanor.

In Vermont, the penalties for first-time DUI offenses tend to be slightly lenient, especially since you do not automatically become charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses even after one conviction.

The following are penalties typically issued to first-time Vermont DUI offenders:

  • A first-time DUI conviction in Vermont will result in 24 hours of mandatory jail time.
  • 16 points will be put on the driver's license.
  • Drivers will also be ordered to attend alcohol and substance abuse, education classes.
  • First-time offenders may also be required to pay $800 or more in fines, fees, and court costs.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Vermont?

In Vermont, a second DUI is considered a criminal offense. They usually come with harsher penalties than any first time offender would receive. A second offense carries mandatory jail time and an automatic driver's license suspension – both for a minimum of 48 hours. In addition, the motorist's insurance rates will most likely triple or worse, depending on the other prior record and/or other factors. A DUI charge for a second offense usually results in one of three possible outcomes:

  • Willful and Wanton

This is the most serious penalty that can come with driving under the influence. Offenders will be charged with this after being arrested for their second offense if it is determined that they did everything they could to get their way, even if it meant endangering the lives of others. If this is the case, bail will be set at $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense.

Persons found guilty of Willful and Wanton may face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. This is the most severe possible outcome for a second DUI in Vermont.

  • Negligent

A negligent DUI conviction comes with similar penalties as a willful and wanton one. The difference here is that the offender did not intentionally break the law to get what they wanted but instead acted carelessly or without regard for the consequences of their actions. If this is the case, bail will be set at $2,500 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second offense.

Persons found guilty of Negligent DUI after being arrested for their second offense could face up to three years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

  • DUI with Accident -

This charge comes if the offender is found driving under the influence and was involved in an accident while doing so. If this is the case, the offender might be set at $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.

Persons found guilty of DUI with an accident after being arrested for their second offense could face up to two years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

What Happens After a Third DUI in Vermont?

When an individual has their 3rd OUI offense, there is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 2 ½ years, and they will also lose their license for a minimum of one year. They will also be required to pay a mandatory fine of $1000, and they need to give all the money they make during the following six (6) months to the Vermont Department of Corrections. This means that an individual convicted for their 3rd OUI offense in Vermont will lose their license, serve some time in state prison, and pay a hefty fine; they will also be required to pay money each month to the Vermont Department of Corrections.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Vermont?

It takes five years to remove a Vermont DUI from a motorists driving record. If a motorist gets convicted of another DUI within 5 years, regardless of the type, it will count as two DUIs.

DUI Expungement in Vermont

To get a Vermont DUI cleared from a motorist's driving record:

  1. Enter a Vermont DUI school for one year. This can be done once every five years and lasts for 12 months from the date of entrance.
  2. Have the insurance provider file an SR22

It will take another five years to remove the Vermont DUI from this record. This makes it a total of 10 years since the conviction date.

To get a Vermont DUI cleared from motorists driving record in less than ten years, offenders must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old.
  2. Complete a state-approved alcohol assessment
  3. Participate in the 24/7 Sobriety Program for one year or 48 sessions of Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings (whichever comes first) within three months.
  4. Complete a Victim Impact Panel within 180 days of your conviction and be admissible for it (there is only one per lifetime)

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Vermont?

A Vermont first DUI offense is punished by incarceration for not more than six months or ten days of community service work.

However, no jail sentence is imposed if the court finds that an approved drug and alcohol evaluation conducted by a program approved by the court has determined that the offender isn't likely to cause harm to yourself, others, or property

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Vermont?

The average fee of a first-time DUI in Vermont is $845, including court costs, license reinstatement fees, and DMV attorney/decoder fees. A second-time DUI costs more, at about $1293.

The third-time offender faces a minimum $2600 fine, while A fourth or subsequent time DUI could cost over $8000 in fines alone, not to mention the potential jail sentence of one year.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Vermont?

The Vermont court system handles its bail procedures somewhat differently from other states. In Vermont, a person can post a "property bond". Property bonds are not cash. Instead, they take the form of collateral such as real estate. This process can be easier for Vermont defendants who may not have the money to post bail.

The amount of money an offender will need to pay for bail depends on several factors, including the severity of the offense.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Vermont

To reinstate a suspended license after a DUI, the driver must provide proof of insurance and pay a reinstatement fee.

The length of time that drivers are required to wait before applying for another license is as follows:

  • Ten years from the date of revocation if convicted of an aggravated DUI, or
  • Five years from the date of revocation if convicted of a non-aggravated, first offense DUI

The driver will need to have an SR22 form for three years; however, the driver does not need an SR22.

The driver will then need to complete and submit the Vermont Department of Safety form VS-001, available for free online.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Vermont?

In Vermont, a person can be sentenced from 3 days in jail to two years of prison for having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher while driving. A conviction could cost thousands of dollars and change the motorist's ability to drive legally in the future.

A DUI will also cause the offender's insurance rates to increase dramatically. Insurance companies see a DUI as a serious infraction and treat drivers with them accordingly. A DUI charge will also cost the offender time and energy. They can expect to attend some form of alcohol education and counseling, complete community service hours, and pay fines after their conviction.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Vermont?

The state of Vermont generally does not allow employers to fire their workers simply because they were convicted of DUI. However, there are some circumstances where an employer can terminate a worker with just cause.

If a motorist is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their employer generally has to show that their actions would negatively impact the performance of their position. If the DUI conviction affects their job performance or ability to do the task, the state may allow their employer to terminate them without interfering with their unemployment benefits.

An employer in Vermont is allowed to fire a worker who has been convicted of DUI if they have given the employee a written warning that any future intoxicated instance would result in immediate termination. However, additional factors must be considered before an employer can make this decision.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Vermont?

The state of Vermont allows for DUI checkpoints to be set up by local law enforcement officials. The locations of these checkpoints are public knowledge, and they can be found by checking out the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance webpage. Input the county and find a list of upcoming checkpoints, including the date, time, and exact location.

Which is Worse, DUI or DWI?

In Vermont, the penalties for both Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are the same. However, in prosecuting a DUI, the state considers whether the offender was able to operate the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offense.