Vermont Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Vermont?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater.
  • In Vermont, although school bus drivers are commercial drivers, they are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 percent or greater.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is
    .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Vermont

  • A first-time offender faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $750. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days.
  • A driver who commits a second DUI faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1,500. The driver’s license suspension period is 18 months.
  • A driver who commits a third DUI faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for life.

Enhanced Penalties for DUI that Causes Death or Serious Bodily Injury

If a person is killed by a drunk driver, the offender is subject to one to 15 years and prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. If a drunk driver causes another person to suffer serious bodily injury, the offender is subject to one to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. If a death occurs on a third or subsequent offense, there is a mandatory minimum imprisonment term of 5 years unless justice and public safety require otherwise.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties that may apply under Vermont’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the suspension period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will have his or her commercial license revoked for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of not less than 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, an underage driver who commits a first DUI will have his or her driver’s license suspended for six months. The offender will also be required to participate in an alcohol abuse program. For a second or subsequent violation, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year or until he or she reaches 21, whichever period is longer. The offender will also be required to participate in an alcohol abuse program.

What is Vermont’s Dram Shop Act?

Under Vermont’s Dram Shop Act, a spouse, child, guardian, employer, or other person who is injured by an intoxicated person has a right of action against a licensed drinking establishment if the establishment caused in whole or in part the intoxication by selling or furnishing liquor to a minor, to a person apparently under the influence of liquor, to a person after legal serving hours, or to a person whom it would be reasonable to expect would be under the influence of alcohol as a result of the amount of alcohol served to that person. An action to recover damages under Vermont’s Dram Shop Act must be brought within two years after the date of the injury.

What is Vermont’s Social Host Statute?

Under Vermont law, a “social host” is a person who does not and is not required to hold a liquor license. Under this law, a social host who furnishes alcohol to a person under 21 may be required to pay money damages for injuries caused by the minor’s intoxication if the social host knew, or should have known, that the minor was under the legal drinking age.

Criminal Liability for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol to Minors

It is a crime for a licensed drinking establishment or any person to serve alcohol to a person under 21. A violation of this law subjects the offender to up to two years in prison, a fine of $500 to $2,000, or both If, however, the minor is involved in a motor vehicle accident that causes death or serious bodily injury to the minor or to another person, the offender is subject to up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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