In Vermont, the penalties you'll face for driving under the influence (DUI) convictions depend mainly on how many prior convictions you have.
This article covers the basics of Virginia's DUI laws (including important definitions) and the consequences of a first, second, and third DUI conviction.
Vermont prohibits a person from operating, attempting to operate, or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
In other words, a DUI conviction can be based on the amount of alcohol you have in your system or actual drug or alcohol impairment.
A first Vermont DUI conviction carries:
A DUI is considered a first offense in Vermont if the driver has no prior convictions that occurred within the past 20 years.
A second Vermont DUI conviction carries:
A DUI is considered a second offense in Vermont if the driver has only one prior conviction and that conviction occurred within the past 20 years.
A third Vermont DUI conviction carries:
A DUI is considered a third offense in Vermont if the driver has two prior convictions, at least one of which occurred within the past 20 years.
Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI with a BAC of .16% or greater—in addition to the normal penalties—will be prohibited from driving with a BAC of .02% or more for three years after conviction. During these three years, driving with a BAC of .02% or more is a DUI and penalized as such.
DUIs that involve deaths or injuries are considered "aggravated DUIs." A DUI that results in a fatality carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a maximum of 15 years in prison. A DUI that results in an injury carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Also, an aggravated DUI charge does not preclude prosecution for vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter.
For a second or subsequent DUI conviction, the judge can order a drug and alcohol screening to determine if treatment is appropriate for the accused. Any time completed in inpatient treatment can be counted towards jail time served.
The commissioner of motor vehicles receives notice of all DUI convictions. The commission will suspend the convicted driver's license following periods:
However, even drivers with lifetime license suspension can apply for reinstatement (see below).
A suspended driver can apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) license. The IID license permits the suspended driver to operate a vehicle equipped with an IID during the suspension period.
To get an IID license, the applicant must pay the $125 application fee and install an IID. Before being eligible for the license, the applicant must complete a period of suspension: 30 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense, one year for a third offense, and one year for a DUI involving a death or injury.
An IID license must be renewed annually.
Prior to license reinstatement, the convicted motorist must take care of any pending fines or criminal charges. To reinstate after a first DUI, the driver must complete an alcohol and driving education program. Reinstatement after a second DUI conviction requires the completion of an alcohol and driving rehabilitation program and proof of progress in therapy.
A person suspended for life due to a third offense can apply for reinstatement after completing the alcohol and driving rehabilitation program, showing progress in therapy, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol for three years (evidenced by IID use without any violations). Also, the commissioner can add additional restrictions to the licensee.
For a second or subsequent DUI conviction, the court can order the driver's vehicle immobilized. The vehicle will remain immobilized for 18 months or until the driver's license is reinstated.
For a third or subsequent offense, the court can order the forfeiture and sale of the vehicle used in the commission of the DUI.
All drivers under 21 years old are prohibited from having a BAC of .02% or more. Any underage driver who produces a BAC of .02% or higher or refuses a lawful chemical test will be subject to penalties. For a first violation, the driver's license will be suspended for six months. For a second or subsequent offense, the motorist's license will be suspended until the age of 21. All underage offenders must complete the alcohol and driving program.
Underage drivers who are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more or while "under the influence" as defined above can also be charged with a standard DUI.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, you should seek legal assistance. Vermont's DUI laws are complicated and impose severe consequences for a conviction. A qualified DUI attorney can explain the law and help you decide on the best way to handle your case.