The Cost of a DUI in the Green Mountain State
When it comes to drinking and driving, all cities in the state of Vermont have the same laws including Burlington, Stowe, Montpelier, South Burlington, Killington and other areas of the state. Those who are found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will be cited for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and will also be subject to the penalties associated with this crime should they be convicted. Just like many other states, Vermont uses a number of different penalties as punishment for drinking and driving, and often the financial repercussions are the hardest to handle.
What Penalties Will I Face for DUI in Vermont?
As mentioned, Vermont uses a number of different penalties to punish those convicted of DUI in Vermont, and these punishments include jail time, fines, and a license suspension. While the punishments are generally the same across all states, the severity of these punishments vary greatly between them. First time DUI offenders in the state of Vermont face the following penalties:
- Jail Sentence of Up to 2 Years
- Fines of Up to $750
- License Suspension of 90 Days
This state also recognizes a lifetime lookback period, which means any DUI convictions that offenders have in their past are counted against their current offense. Repeat DUI offenders face the same types of penalties, but the severity of these penalties are much higher. Second time DUI offenders in the state of Vermont face the following penalties:
- Jail Sentence of Up to 2 Years
- Maximum Fine of $1,500
- License Suspension of 18 Months
What Could a DUI Arrest Cost Me Before I am Convicted?
Many offenders get caught up in the amounts of the fines they have to pay after being found guilty of DUI, but they often forget that the cost of a DUI can begin before they even go to court. When individuals are pulled over and arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving, their vehicle is most often towed to a local impoundment lot, though the arresting officer may allow a family member or a friend to come take possession of the vehicle. When offenders are ready to retrieve their vehicle, they are responsible for paying the towing fees as well as any fees accrued in the impound lot.
After being arrested, offenders are taken to jail, formally charged, and processed. Most often, they are allowed to sober up and then be released. However, if there are extenuating or aggravated circumstances surrounding the arrest or the case, such as a high BAC, accident, or injury, they are held in jail and bail is set for them. Depending on the situation, the bail amount could be as high as $50,000 and the offenders, a family member, friend, or bail bondsman need to pay at the very least a percentage of this bail in order for offenders to be released.
It is always in offenders’ best interest to hire an experienced attorney to represent them during their court case. All attorneys and law firms have their own fee that they charge for legal services, and the cost can range all the way up to a few thousand dollars. Some attorneys, however, do allow payment plans, while others want payment upfront or do not require payment until after the trial has ended. While getting attorneys can be expensive, it is often worth it if they are able to get the charged against their clients dropped or lessened to something that isn’t as serious as DUI.
What Could a DUI Cost Me After I am Convicted?
Should the trial not go in the offenders’ favor and they are convicted of DUI, they then have to deal with the penalties set forth by the state of Vermont. As mentioned, first time DUI offenders could potentially serve a jail sentence of up to two years, have their license suspended for 90 days, and have to pay fines up to $750. While the types of penalties are generally the same across all states, the severity of these penalties vary.
Will My Car Insurance Be Affected by a DUI Conviction?
Since DUI is a driving related crime that exhibits risky driving behavior, it is almost certain that offenders’ car insurance rates will increase. It is important to keep in mind that while it is inevitable that the cost of insurance will increase, all insurance providers have their own calculations when it comes to how much these rates will increase. With that being said, car insurance providers in the state of Vermont are harsher than average when it comes to punishing policyholders convicted of DUI.
While it is not possible to pinpoint exactly how much an offender’s car insurance rates increase upon conviction, it is possible to provide an average increase. DUI offenders in the state of Vermont should expect their car insurance rates to increase by just over 85 percent, which adds an additional $70 or so to their monthly premium payment. While this may seem high, there are other states that, on average, raise policyholders’ rates by over 100 percent!
How Can I Avoid the High Price of DUI?
Being arrested and convicted of Driving Under the Influence can be expensive – when all of the costs outlined above are added together, offenders could be paying upwards of $40,000 for an easily avoidable mistake, and this does not take into account lost wages and other expenses. Not only is drinking and driving expensive, it is also dangerous, and getting behind the wheel after drinking can put not only your life in danger but also the lives of others. The best way to avoid the high cost and high danger of DUI is to simply not drink and drive and always use a sober driver.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.