DUI FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Please review our Vermont DUI FAQ for answers to the most frequently asked questions following a DUI arrest.

I've just been charged with DUI.. Do I need a lawyer? What must I do?

You will receive from the arresting officer a paper entitled "Notice of Intent to Suspend". You should indicate at the bottom insert, page two, of the "Notice of Intent to Suspend", that you want a hearing, sign the paper, and return it to the Department of Motor Vehicles immediately. If this is not done within 7 days from when you receive the Notice of Intent to Suspend, your license maybe automatically suspended (if this is not your first D.W.I, you must still send in the Notice of Intent to Suspend promptly in order to obtain a hearing to try to reinstate your license, although your right to drive will automatically be suspended 11 days from the date of your arrest).

If I am charged with DUI / DWI what penalties am I facing?

In Vermont, a conviction of D.W.I. 1st offense, which includes either Operating Under the Influence or Operating With at Least .08% of Alcohol in the body, carries a minimum 90 days license suspension with the maximum fine of $750.00, and Court fees. In addition, you will need to successfully complete alcohol education screening, and if necessary counseling (at your expense) in order to be eligible to get your license back, at which time you would also have to pay a $50.00 reinstatement fee. Your auto insurance rates will also skyrocket as your agent will have to file proof of financial responsibility insurance with the State of Vermont.

If you are a licensed driver in another State and are convicted of D.W.I. in Vermont, you will be subject to the same fines and penalties, and your right to drive will also be suspended for 90 days. There will almost certainly be consequences in your Home State which may include license suspension for longer than 90 days as Vermont will report your suspension to your Home State. I have the experience, determination and skill to defend your D.W.I. charge and to help protect your license.

Why should I fight my DUI case?

A D.W.I. conviction will permanently remain on both your driving and criminal record. If you are an out-of-State driver, Vermont will report a D.W.I. conviction to your home State, which will then initiate its own license suspension or revocation action.

I'm from out of State. How will a Vermont DUI or Civil License Suspension effect my license or right to drive in my home State?

Vermont has reciprocity with all 50 States in reporting license suspensions and D.W.I. convictions. If you are convicted of D.W.I., or Civil License Suspension, or both, Vermont will notify your home State Department of Motor Vehicles, which will result in your home State suspending your license. A D.W.I. or Civil License Suspension conviction will also be entered into a national driver's license database. This means that whenever you rent a car, apply for insurance or are stopped by a police officer, this database can be accessed and your D.W.I. or Civil Suspension conviction will pop up.

I have a prior DUI / DWI from another State. Does that count if I am charged with another Vermont D.W.I.?

Vermont does count D.W.I. convictions from out-of-State when charging a new D.W.I. or Civil License Suspension taking place in Vermont. Under certain circumstances, however, D.W.I. convictions taking place before July 1, 1991 may not be counted to increase the penalties you may be facing for a new Vermont D.W.I. or Civil License Suspension charge.

Why did I receive more than one suspension notice and why do they have different effective dates?

Alcohol related offenses could cause a criminal and/or civil suspension, which may result in two suspension notices. In addition, your offense may require special insurance. There also may be a suspension issued if too many points are on your record.

The effective dates of suspensions are set by policy and/or statute. Therefore, all your suspensions may have different effective dates. However, you are under suspension at the earliest effective date.

What is the difference between a "criminal" suspension and a "civil" suspension?

"criminal" suspension is a suspension you received because of your conviction in court for a D.W.I. The Department of Motor Vehicles will send you a suspension notice telling you the length of time of your criminal suspension.

"civil" suspension is the suspension which was given or mailed to you by the officer who stopped you. The Department of Motor Vehicles will send you a suspension notice telling you the length of time of your civil suspension.

Why did I receive a civil suspension when the criminal offense was dismissed or reduced?

Although one or more of your offenses may have been dismissed or reduced in court, a suspension may be issued for any other cause relating to when you were stopped. The same may be true if the civil suspension was dismissed but the criminal suspension was not.

If I have fulfilled all the reinstatement requirements for my alcohol related offense, why can't I be reinstated?

The Department of Motor Vehicles may not have received all the paperwork to reinstate you, or you may have other outstanding suspensions. For further information, call Driver Improvement Information at (802) 828-2050.

If I didn't receive my suspension notice(s), am I still under suspension?

Yes! Notices of suspension are sent to the last address that you gave to the Department of Motor Vehicles. NOTE: All notices of change of address to the Department of Motor Vehicles must be made in writing and signed by you. Addresses you provided to the police or to the courts will not change your address on D.M.V. records.