McCamley & Branchaud, P.C.

DUI/DWI In Vermont

DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are two different phrases having the same meaning. Vermont criminalizes driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and driving with .08% or more of alcohol in the blood as measured either by breath or blood testing.

Vermont also has a separate Civil License Suspension Law. If your breath or blood test result was at least .08%, the State will try to have your Vermont license or out-of-State driving privileges in Vermont suspended for at least 90 days. If you refuse the breath test or blood test, you face at least a 6 month suspension in both the DWI and Civil Suspension matters. This is a separate legal proceeding from the DWI criminal charge.

If you are convicted of DWI, this will be a permanent part of both your driving record and criminal record. If you live in another State and are convicted of DWI in Vermont, the conviction will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home State and to the National Driver’s License Registry. These records are available to drivers licensing and police agencies in each State. In almost all cases a DWI conviction in Vermont will result in a suspension in your home State. If your DWI case is dismissed or if you are found not guilty, you may be able to avoid a license suspension.

Facts That Can Win DUI Cases

  • The roadside dexterity tests you performed:
    • Were performed under distracting outdoor conditions, i.e. alongside a busy road, in the cold, in icy or uneven conditions:
    • Were recorded on video tape which may show that you are not as impaired as recorded by the officer in his report;
    • Were not done according to the police officer’s training manual;
  • The arresting officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving your car illegally;
  • The arresting officer did not have a reasonable belief that you were under the influence of alcohol before requesting that you give a roadside breath sample (P.B.T.);
  • The arresting officer misstated or omitted telling you your rights concerning whether to provide a breath sample at the police station;
  • The arresting officer did not allow you to speak to an attorney before you decided whether to provide a breath or blood sample;
  • The arresting officer did not give you privacy if you spoke with an attorney before taking or refusing the breath or blood test, or he/she otherwise interfered with your conversation with an attorney;
  • The arresting officer charged you with a refusal even though you were willing to provide a breath or blood sample;
  • The arresting officer never saw you driving, and you did not admit to driving or trying to drive a motor vehicle;
  • You were not driving, trying to drive or in actual physical control of your vehicle because you did not intend to place your vehicle in motion and that you had not placed your vehicle in motion while under the influence;
  • The Datamaster machine used to analyze your breath malfunctioned, had a history of malfunctioning, or did not accurately evaluate your breath test results;
  • You suffer from a medical condition, such as diabetes, were ill, or had suffered recent injury which could skew the breath test results or otherwise explain why the arresting officer believed you were impaired.

Under 21 DUI Issues

  • A driver of a motor vehicle under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration (B.A.C.) of 0.02% or higher can be given a civil traffic violation in lieu of or in addition to a criminal charge of DWI (so long as the B.A.C. involved was at least .08%);
  • A first violation of this law triggers a 6 month suspension. A second civil violation will result in suspension of the underage driver’s license for 1 year or until he or she reaches age 21, whichever is longer;
  • The underage driver must also complete an alcohol and driving education program, known in Vermont as Project CRASH before reinstatement of their license;
  • The State can use the Preliminary (roadside handheld) breath test results in such a case, the underage driver cannot speak with an attorney before providing the breath sample, and the refusal of the breath test shall be considered a violation of this law.
  1. We welcome any feedback, questions or comments