Avoid a DUI in Vermont (5 Things You Need to Know about DUI in Vermont)

To avoid a DUI in Vermont, you should know at least five things.


I.    DUI in Vermont
II.   Penalties
III. The Costs
IV.  Field Sobriety Tests
V.   Avoid Arrest

I. DUI in Vermont

It’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in Vermont. for commercial drivers it’s 0.04. And for drivers under age 21, including adults 18 through 20, it’s 0.02.

The latter is called zero tolerance, although the young drivers needn’t have a BAC of 0.00%. That’s for several reasons. First, “breathalyzers” or alcohol breath testers lack reliability. For one thing, they don’t actually measure BAC. Measuring it requires analyzing a sample of actual blood. Breathalyzers only estimate it. That’s why not all states permit their use.

dui in oregonAnother reason is that many medications and foods contain alcohol. Even baked goods such as bread have alcohol. A third reason is that everyone oa any age produces alcohol naturally within their bodies 24/7.

By permitting BACs up to 0.02%, Vermont reduces the chances of convicting innocent young drivers.

II. Penalties

The penalties for DUI in Vermont depend on a lot of different things. They include the driver’s age, estimated BAC, age of any passengers, and any damaged caused. Also on any prior convictions, the driver’s court demeanor, the specific judge hearing the case, etc.

First DUI

  • dui in VermontImprisonment can be as long as two years.
  • Fines and penalties can be up to $750.
  • License suspension is for 90 days.
  • Offender must successful completion an alcohol and driving education program at own expense.

Secong DUI

  • dui in vermontImporisonment can be as long as two years.
  • Fines and penalties can be up to $1,500.
  • License suspension is for 18 months.
  • The court may immobilize the vehicle.
  • It mandates alcohol or drug screening.
  • Court requires successful completion of therapy program at offender’s expense.
  • There is possible community service of 200 hours.Third DUI

Third DUI

  • Imprisonment can be for as long as five years.
  • Fines and penalties can be up to $2,500.
  • The court may permanently revoke license.
  • It may immobilize the vehicle.
  • There is possible community service of 400 hours.

III. The Costs

Legal Defense

Being charged with an DUI is expensive. Unfortunately, this is true even if you’re innocent. Of course, it’s even more expensive if you’re judged guilty.

dui in vermontThe cost of a legal defense against DUI varies greatly. The complexity of cases is highly variable. A first-time offense costs less because it takes less time to defend than that of a repeat offense. A case involving a crash involving injury or death is even more complex. As is one in which the offender had a small child in the vehicle.

It’s wise to select an experienced lawyer who specializes in DUII defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is invaluable.

Clearly, simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t of great help. It’s like asking a tailors how much thy charge to make a suit.

Other Costs

There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, medical expenses, possible loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and other expenses. The money adds up quickly. It can easily be more than the lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of an DUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.

Also, there are many non-monetary costs as well. They may include driving license suspension, pain and suffering, remourse, embarrassment, loss of friends, and many others.

Knowing the high total costs of a DUI can help us try to avoid one. It’s a great motivation.

IV. Field Sobriety Tests

All states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their unreliability. However, no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test.

dui in vermontField sobriety tests are highly subjective and lack validity. In reality, about one-third of completely sober people (0.00% BAC) fail them. And that’s under ideal conditions. Naturally, taking one on an uneven highway shoulder after being pulled over and very nervous is far from ideal.

Therefore, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. Officers try to convince drivers to take them. They may falsely insist the law requires it. It does not. Or say that it can prove your innocence. It can’t.

Any officer who stops a driver for suspected impairment  is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary. The officer thinks you’re guilty and is collecting evidence to try to prove it.

Discover much more about field sobriety tests. Also, learn What to Do If Pulled Over by police. Knowledge really is power to protect yourself.

V. Avoid Arrest

Obviously, a sure way to avoid a DUI in Vermont is by not drinking any alcohol. Other choices are to use a Designated Driver or public transportation.

Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least occasionally. But they may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. Or they can’t afford Uber or Lyft. So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? They simply maintain a low BAC.

These guidelines make it easy to maintain a low BAC.

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Standard Drinks

  • Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have equivalent amounts of pure alcohol.
  • Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
  • Avoid non-standard drinks. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
  • Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
  • Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
  • Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
  • Never engage in any drinking game.
Arrested for DUI in Vermont?

This website strongly opposes impaired driving. But it also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.

A conviction for DUI in Vermont can be expensive and worse. So immediately contact a lawyer specializing in drinking and driving defense.

The Vermont Bar (lawyers) Association has a free lawyer referral service. In addition, Martindale has a free, anonymous on-line lawyer referral service. You can search by lawyer specialty, geographic area, and both peer and client reviews.

Don’t rely on this or any other site for legal information.


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CDC. Teen Drinking and Driving. Atlanta: 2012. (website)

___. Impaired Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.

Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.

Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.

Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.

Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.

NHTSA. Drunk Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / DUI in the United States. What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts, 2012.