A DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction carries lasting consequences, even for a first offense. Because of the serious nature of such an infraction, it’s important for defendants to have the right legal representation, and a DWI attorney in Burlington VT will provide it. Below are a few things to know about Vermont’s DWI laws.
In the state of Vermont, it is illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or greater; for commercial drivers, the number drops to .04%. For those under the age of 21, it’s just .02%. The law for underage drivers is referred to as a zero-tolerance rule, but it’s not as strict as it seems. First, breathalyzers don’t really measure BAC; they only provide an estimate. Second, many foods and medicines contain alcohol. Finally, the human body naturally produces alcohol, which may produce a false reading.
Vermont’s penalties for DWI depend on a few things such as the driver’s estimated BAC, age, the ages of any passengers, prior convictions, and the judge taking the case.
* For the first offense, prison terms may be up to two years and fines of up to $750 may be assessed. Offenders lose their licenses for 90 days and they must complete a driving and alcohol program at their own expense.
* For a second DWI, a person may get up to a two-year prison term and fines of up to $1500. License suspension is for at least 18 months, and offenders must complete therapy at their own expense.
* Third DWIs carry up to a five-year prison sentence and fines of up to $2500. The offender’s license may permanently be revoked, and their vehicle will be immobilized.
DWI charges are costly, even if a person is innocent. The cost of a good legal defense varies widely, as does the complexity of these cases. For instance, first offenses take less time to handle than subsequent ones. It’s advisable to select a DWI attorney in Burlington VT who has the knowledge and experience to handle a case, no matter whether it’s a first or second offense. Contact Jason J. Sawyer, Attorney & Counselor At Law today to schedule a consultation.