Under Vermont law, it's illegal for drivers who are younger than the legal drinking age (21 years old) to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more. Here are the consequences a driver faces if convicted of an underage DUI (operating under the influence) offense.
Underage DUI Penalties
An underage DUI violation will result in the following consequences:
- First offense. For a first violation, the driver faces a six-month license suspension. However, the motorist may be eligible to retain driving privileges with an ignition interlock device Prior to license reinstatement, the driver will also need to complete an alcohol and driving education course, substance abuse assessment, and possibly some sort of substance abuse treatment.
- Second offense. For a second violation, the driver is looking at having a suspended license for one year or until reaching the age of 21, whichever is longer. A second offender may still be eligible for an ignition interlock license. Prior to license reinstatement, the driver must complete or have shown substantial progress in an alcohol and driving rehabilitation program and either 18 months with an ignition interlock device or one year of suspension without an interlock device.
- Third offense. For a third violation or subsequent offense, the driver will be facing license suspension until reaching the age of 21 or for one year, whichever is longer. For third offenders, it's generally possible to obtain an ignition interlock license. Prior to license reinstatement, the driver must complete or have shown substantial progress in an alcohol and driving rehabilitation program.
Unlike with a standard DUI, underage DUI offenses don't result in jail time or fines.
When Underage Drivers Face Standard DUI Penalties
Underage drivers who are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol face the standard DUI penalties. Depending on the circumstances, someone convicted of a standard DUI could be looking at fines, jail time, and license suspension.
Talk to an Attorney
Regardless of the charge, it's always best to talk to an experienced DUI attorney if you've been cited for driving under the influence. A qualified lawyer can tell you how the law applies to your situation and help you decide on the best course of action.