State Laws

Vermont DUI Laws

     

All those in the United States are subject to drunken driving laws. The federal government sets a maximum blood alcohol content level at 0.08 percent. This percentage changes for those who are commercial drivers and lowers to 0.04 percent. Since those under the age of twenty-one are considered minors in regards to alcohol, a different blood alcohol content level is set for these individual. Minors in Vermont are permitted to have no more than blood alcohol content levels of 0.02 percent.

Driving under the influence offenses are the only criminal offense where an arrest can be made solely on a police officer's opinion. However a police officer is required to have probable cause for stopping a motor vehicle. Under suspicion an arrest or stop can be made if the individual is driving in two lanes at the same time, it making very wide or very narrow turns, comes close to hitting another motor vehicle, is drifting or weaving from one lane to another, is continuously too close to another motor vehicle, is swerving, is breaking abruptly, or is driving very slow.

Implied Consent
When an individual obtains a driver's license in the United States, he or she give implied consent to submit to chemical testing upon a request. Chemical testing includes urine testing, breath testing, and blood testing. If an individual refuses to submit to testing, he or she will automatically be arrested and have his or her driver's license suspended.

This kind of suspension will exist whether or not the individual is later convicted of driving under the influence. In a trial the jury or the judge will assume the individual is guilty because of his or her refusal to submit to testing. Driver's license suspension for test refusal can be anywhere between thirty days and several months.

Misdemeanor Conviction
In Vermont the first two convictions of driving under the influence are considered misdemeanor offenses. A third or subsequent driving under the influence offense is considered a felony offense. All convictions are based on prior offenses. Vermont does not have a wash out period, so any previous drunken driving offense can be used to increase a current offense, even if the prior offense was twenty years earlier.

A first driving under the influence offense can earn up to seven hundred fifty dollars in fines, no less than ninety days of driver's license suspension, no more than two years in jail, and mandatory alcohol education courses. A second offense will have fines increased to fifteen hundred dollars and driver's license suspension increased to eighteen months with up to two hundred hours of community service.

Felony Conviction
A driving under the influence felony offense can have fines up to twenty-five hundred dollars, up to five years in prison, the possibility of driver's license expulsion, no less than four hundred hours of community service, and motor vehicle immobilization. All fines and incarceration sentences can increase if the circumstances of the incident are dangerous. These can include driving with a minor in the motor vehicle, driving over the speed limit, driving with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, and harming another.

See also:
Vermont Felony
Vermont Gun Laws
Vermont Divorce
Vermont Expungement External link (opens in new window)