Sadly, DUI crashes happen all the time.
According to the CDC, at least 30 people die every day in the US due to drunk driving.
It’s no wonder then that the State of Vermont implements strict DUI laws
And today, we’re going to be looking at those laws, the penalties that follow, as well as other information about driving under the influence.
So are you ready to find out about the Vermont DUI laws?
DUI Laws in Vermont
In Vermont, there are 2 specific laws related to DUI. These are:
- Illegal BAC levels
- Implied Consent Law
Let’s look at each one.
Illegal BAC Levels
When it comes to DUI, understanding BAC levels is very important.
So what does it mean?
In simple terms, BAC (or Blood Alcohol Concentration) is a measure of how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream. The higher your BAC, the more impaired you are in driving.
Now, BAC is measured in percentage, which is the percentage of alcohol to a volume of blood.
In Vermont, it’s a DUI if your BAC level is:
- 0.08% or above
- 0.02% or above for drivers 21 and below
- 0.04% or above for drivers operating a commercial vehicle
NOTE: If you show obvious signs of driving under the influence, you can still be charged with DUI even if your BAC level is within the legal limit.
Implied Consent Law
If you are pulled over for suspected DUI, you are required to take a blood or breathalyzer test to check if you are indeed drunk or drugged.
This is called the Implied Consent Law. Here, anyone who’s using Vermont roads has automatically given their consent to take the test.
Can you refuse to get tested?
You can, but not without consequences.
Those who refuse to get tested will have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months. Moreover, if you are found to be a DUI, the fact that you refused can be used against you in court.
If you’d like to counter the suspension of your license, you are given 7 days to request an Administrative License Suspension hearing. For this, we recommend hiring a DUI attorney to help you in your case.
But to avoid all that, you simply have to take a blood or breathalyzer test. Even if you’re above the BAC limit, it will be much better for you.
Vermont DUI Penalties
The DUI penalties vary depending on the number of offenses you’ve had. Also, the penalties are harsher if your accident has caused serious bodily injury or death.
Here are the DUI penalties in Vermont:
|Offense:||Fine:||Jail Time:||License Suspension:||Program:|
|1st||Up to $750||Up to 2 years||90 days||Take alcohol and driving education program|
|2nd||Up to $1,500||Up to 2 years||18 months||Take alcohol and driving education program|
|3rd||Up to $2,500||Up to 5 years||Revoked for life||Take alcohol and driving education program|
As we said, the penalties are harsher if you caused serious bodily injury or death. If a person was killed, the driver is subject to:
- A maximum of 15 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Or both
If it resulted in serious bodily injury, the same jail time applies, but the fine is only up to $5,000. You can be given both jail time and a fine, too.
How Alcohol Affects Your Driving
You might be wondering…
“Why is driving under the influence so dangerous?”
Well, alcohol has many effects on your body. As far as driving is concerned, here is what you may experience when you drink and drive:
- Impaired coordination – this includes your hand-eye coordination, balance, and overall response of your brain
- Slower reaction time – it takes longer for you to react
- Impaired vision – some people get drowsy or have blurred vision
- Bad judgment – some drivers become more aggressive which leads to reckless driving
- Difficulty in concentrating – your mind will easily wander or have a hard time focusing on the road
A common question people ask is, “Does coffee or painkillers reduce the effects of alcohol?”
At most, these substances can help you feel more awake — but that doesn’t mean that your judgment and coordination are improved.
It also doesn’t remove the alcohol in your system.
The only way to effectively reduce the effects of alcohol is to wait for your body to remove it from your system. Sadly, there is no quick fix for this.
How Drugs Affect Your Driving
DUI is not only related to alcohol.
Drugs can impair your driving, too — and are considered a DUI charge as well if found in your system.
Here are some ways drugs (even over-the-counter ones) affect your driving:
- Impaired perception
- Bad judgment
- Reduced reaction time
While there is no BAC-like measurement, a simple blood test can determine if drugs are in your bloodstream.
How to Avoid DUI
If you want to ensure the safety of everyone, you must take the necessary steps to avoid DUI.
Not only that, but, as we saw, getting penalized for a DUI is both inconvenient and expensive.
So how do you avoid it?
Here are some tips:
- If you know you’re going to drink, ride a taxi or rideshare instead of driving.
- If you have to drive, assign a designated driver who won’t drink or is not drugged.
- Arrange an overnight stay if you can’t find a designated driver.
- Never overestimate your ability to drive properly when you drink.
- Wait several hours to give your body time to remove the alcohol.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vermont DUI Laws
Is a DUI a Felony in Vermont?
A DUI is considered a felony on your third offense in the span of 20 years. It’s also a felony if the DUI accident resulted in severe injury or death.
The rest of the time, it is a misdemeanor.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Vermont?
In Vermont, a DUI stays on your driving record for life. However, a law in 2019 has allowed a DUI conviction to be sealed if it has been more than 10 years and you haven’t been convicted of any other crime since.
How Much Does a DUI Cost in Vermont?
DUI offenses have high fees:
- Up to $750 for the first offense
- Up to $1,500 for the second offense
- Up to $2,500 for the third offense
- Court fees
- Cost of the alcohol and driving education program
Can I Get a DUI Expunged in Vermont?
Yes, you can — but you have to wait 10 years to get it expunged. The correct term is “sealed”. This means the conviction won’t show in your driving record if you didn’t get any more violations since your first DUI offense.
And that was all you needed to know about the Vermont DUI laws.
The penalties for a DUI are harsh – you get a fine, license suspension, and jail time.
But other than the penalties, the great danger of it all should be enough to discourage any driver from attempting to drive while impaired.
So if you’re planning to drink, just make sure to get a taxi or designate someone to drive for you.
Be a responsible driver!