As a felony, the penalties for a third-offense DUI (driving under the influence) conviction in Vermont can include prison, hefty fines, and permanent license revocation. There are many factors that can affect the consequences of a DUI, but this article explains the possible penalties that one might face for a third DUI conviction in Vermont.
A DUI is considered a third offense in Vermont if the driver has two prior DUI convictions. Generally, prior convictions include any in-state and out-of-state conviction within the driver's lifetime. However, at least one of the violations must have occurred within the last 20 years for the current offense to be counted as a third conviction.
Jail time. The court can order the offender to serve a maximum five years in prison. However, probationary release is possible after the offender serves a minimum 96 hours of incarceration. The offender may also receive credit for time spent in inpatient treatment.
Fines. A third-offense DUI carries up to $2,500 in fines (plus court costs).
Vehicle forfeiture. The court can also order that the vehicle used in the DUI be forfeited. When this happens, the vehicle is seized and auctioned off by the state.
The driver's license can be suspended both at the time of arrest and after a conviction.
Conviction. The court will also send notice of the DUI conviction to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. A third-offense DUI conviction will result in lifetime driver's license suspension.
Reinstatement. While the suspension is indefinite, a driver can petition for reinstatement after certain requirements have been met. A driver who can show three years of sobriety and three successful years with an IID can apply for reinstatement.
BAC limits. For three years following the conviction, the driver will be subject to more strict BAC (blood alcohol content) restrictions. During this period, any vehicle operation with a BAC of .02% or more will be charged as a DUI and penalized as such.
A Vermont felony DUI carries severe consequences. To decide on how best to handle your case, it's best to consult with an attorney regarding your options.