Under Section 1201 of Vermont's code, it is a crime in Vermont to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants that can render a person incapable of driving safely. Vermont follows the nationwide per se measure for driving under the influence (DUI), which is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent. The measure of DUI intoxication is .02 percent if the person operates a school bus. A second DUI in Vermont incurs both administrative and criminal penalties that include license suspension, jail time and fines.
A person convicted a second time for operating a vehicle in Vermont will face immediate suspension of his license and operating privilege for a period of 18 months. To have the license reinstated after a second conviction, the individual must successfully complete an alcohol and driving rehabilitation program. Alternatively, the driver must show substantial progress in completing a therapy program at his own expense agreed to by the director of the driving rehabilitation program.
Additionally, a person stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence who refuses to submit to testing may have his license and driving privileges suspended for six months. The driver must successfully complete a rehabilitation or therapy program to have the license and privileges reinstated.
Upon a second DUI conviction in Vermont, a violator may be fined up to $1,500 or imprisoned for no more than two years, or both. The defendant also may be ordered to perform a minimum of 200 hours of community service. Sixty consecutive hours of the defendant's imprisonment must be served and cannot be suspended, deferred or served as a supervised sentence; however, credit for time served in a residential alcohol facility may be used as a credit against a prison sentence only if the program is successfully completed.
There is no statutory limitation in Vermont on how far back a court may look to determine prior convictions. Therefore, any previous DUI violation in Vermont may be used by the court to enhance penalties.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in Vermont
A third or subsequent DUI violation in Vermont is classified as a felony. With the increase of classification is an increase in penalties. Imprisonment for a DUI felony is up to five years and the fine is now up to $2,500. Additionally, the defendant must perform a minimum of 200 hours of community service, or alternately 100 consecutive hours of the prison term cannot be suspended or deferred. Credit for time served in a residential alcohol facility may be used as a credit against a prison sentence.
To avoid jail time, a defendant may request to serve time in a residential alcohol facility and participate in any court-mandated programs. However, a good defense attorney may find mitigating or exonerating facts to combat DUI charges. These facts may include proof that the test results are faulty or that the equipment calibration is off. In any case, an attorney may help the defendant reach a plea deal to avoid a percentage of jail time and fines.
Finding an Attorney
If you face DUI charges in Vermont, you risk jail time, hefty fines as well as mandatory community service if convicted. Talk with an experienced DUI attorney to defend against these charges and avoid or diminish penalties.