DUI – Alcohol

In Vermont, DUIs can have severe consequences to your license and criminal history. DUI convictions can be either misdemeanor or felony convictions depending on whether you have had prior DUIs or if anyone was injured in a DUI accident. The attorneys at Burke Law have defended hundreds of DUIs over the last decade. An experienced criminal defense attorney is vital to your Vermont DUI defense.

There are multiple ways to be charged with DUI in Vermont. If a driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more he or she is considered legally impaired and may be charged under the statute for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol(DUI). You may even be charged with DUI – Alcohol even if your BAC is under .08. The Vermont statutes allow drivers to be charged with DUI when the are under the influence to the slightest degree. There is no threshold BAC to determine what constitutes under the influence to the slightest degree to sustain a DUI charge or DUI conviction. You can also be charged with DUI – Refusal in Vermont if you have previously been convicted of DUI in Vermont or in another state. If you are charged or cited to court for a DUI in Vermont make sure to contact Burke Law for a free confidential consultation.

The Vermont DUI Statutes can be located here.

 

Vermont DUI Convictions: What You Should Know

 

What will happen at the first court date?

The first court date is your arraignment. An arraignment is a constitutional right that a defendant has to be told what his or her charge or charges are in open court. It is an opportunity to learn exactly what crime or crimes the prosecution alleges you committed and what facts may constitute those charges. At the arraignment your attorney will enter a plea on your behalf. Traditionally, the initial plea is a not guilty plea. The purpose of this plea to to keep the case moving forward so that your attorney can craft an individualized defense strategy and obtain any necessary evidence in your favor.

How many times will I have to go to court?

It depends. For simple misdemeanor cases you may never need to go to court. For example, if you live out of state or are otherwise unavailable for work or school reasons your attorney may be able to waive your appearance at your arraignment and all subsequent court hearings. Other times it may be necessary for you to appear five or more times to successfully defend your case. The attorneys at Burke Law can provide an estimate of the number of appearances required during your free consultation.

I got a DUI in Vermont, but my license is out of another state. What should I expect?

If you are convicted in Vermont of a criminal DUI or civil DUI your privilege to operate in Vermont will be suspended. Many people charged with DUI in Vermont do not live in Vermont and have out-of-state drivers licenses. Vermont is a member of the National Interstate Compact which allows for states to communicate suspensions to each other. This may result in a suspension of your privilege to operate in Vermont and in all other states.

If you are convicted of DUI in Vermont and lose your privilege to operate in Vermont, you should expect to lose your license in your home state.

Your home state may have different or additional requirements to reinstate even after you have reinstated your privilege to operate in Vermont. Therefore, if you have an out of state driver’s license but received a DUI criminal or civil in Vermont it is important to contact an attorney with experience defending DUIs in Vermont.

At Burke Law we have defended hundreds of DUIs. Our experienced attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome for your case and guide you through the license reinstatement process.

 

 

Can I get a DUI in Vermont if my BAC was under the legal limit?

Yes you can get a DUI in Vermont even if your BAC is under .08 while operating a motor vehicle. Even if you blood alcohol concentration is far below the so called “legal limit” you can be charged with DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle on a public highway and an officer determines that you are impaired.

The Vermont DUI – Alcohol statute permits a charge of DUI if the operator has a BAC of more than .08 or if the operator is under the influence of alcohol. The Vermont DUI statute can be found here.

The attorneys at Burke Law have extensive experience defending Vermont DUIs under .08 BAC. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us for a free, confidential case consultation today.

What happens at an arraignment?

The purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant what they are charged with and why they are charged with it.

Arraignments Tell You What Your Charge(s) Is.

The fundamental purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant, in open court, what they are charged with. In other words, arraignments tell a Vermont defendant what law it is alleged that a defendant has broken.

Arraignments Tell You What Evidence The State Intends to Use Against You. 

An arraignment tells a defendant and her attorney why she is charged with the crime she is charged with. In other words, the State must disclose what facts it believes support the accusation that you committed the crime.

Arraignments Begin the Criminal Process In Vermont 

Typically an arraignment is just the beginning of the criminal process. The State presents a broad outline of the facts it believes it can establish to support a conviction of the crime charged. An experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney can develop a defense strategy to respond to the allegations made by the State prosecutor at an arraignment. 

I have been cited to court for criminal DLS. What should I do?

I thought my Vermont license was valid, but I just got pulled over and told that my Vermont license is suspended. Now I am charged with criminal DLS.

Criminal DLS is a common criminal charge in Vermont. Many Vermonters believe that they have done everything required to reinstate their license, but only find out during the course of a traffic stop that their license is actually criminally suspended. We can help you navigate the Vermont DMV and the Vermont Judicial Bureau to find out the reason or reasons for your suspension and help you take the correct steps to reinstate your Vermont license.

I was stopped in Vermont for a motor vehicle violation and got charged with a DUI. I wasn’t swerving or driving erratically. Can Vermont law enforcement charge a DUI when I wasn’t driving badly?

Yes. You can be stopped by the police in Vermont for a motor vehicle violation or for reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Once you are stopped if the Vermont law enforcement officer develops reasonable suspicion of DUI – Alcohol or DUI – Drugs he or she may order or ask you to exit the vehicle to perform standard field sobriety tests and/or to take a preliminary breath test (PBT.)

I have been charged with a DUI in Vermont. I feel like I passed all of the standard field sobriety tests. Can I still be charged with a DUI in Vermont?

Yes. The standard field sobriety tests are incredibly difficult to perform flawlessly. You may think that you touched heel to toe on every step of the Walk and Turn test and turned perfectly, but the officer may assess points or “clues” against you for raising your hands too high from your side or for breaking the start position or even for beginning the test before you were told to do so. At Burke Law we can assess your DUI Alcohol or DUI Drugs case to see if there is a valid argument that you did pass all the standard field sobriety testing and should not have been arrested. If you feel that you passed all the standard field sobriety tests and were still charged with a DUI Alcohol or DUI Drugs in Vermont, contact us today for a free case consultation.

I blew under .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Can I still be charged with a DUI in Vermont?

Yes. In Vermont you can be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol concentration is below .08 BAC. The standard at a jury trial is whether or not you were impaired to the slightest degree. If you are charged or cited for a DUI in Vermont and blew under .08 BAC there are a variety of successful defenses used by Burke Law that may apply to your case. Contact us today for a free DUI case consultation.

I was in an accident in Vermont and am now charged with a DUI. What should I do?

Contact Burke Law for a free DUI case consultation. We have successfully defended hundreds of DUIs in Vermont. There may be defenses available to you that you aren’t aware of. If you were in an accident in Vermont and charged with a DUI you may still have a winnable case.

I have been charged with a DUI in Vermont. I don’t know if I can afford a lawyer to help me with my DUI case. What should I do?

Contact us at Burke Law for a free case DUI case consultation. The cost of an effective DUI defense is often far less than the penalties, fines and fees associated with not having an effective DUI defense in Vermont.

I am charged with a DUI 2 in Vermont. What should I expect?

DUI 2 in Vermont has enhanced penalties. If convicted of DUI 2 you may face mandatory jail time or 200 hours of community service. Contact us at Burke Law for a free DUI 2 case consultation.

What is a Vermont DUI civil suspension?

A Vermont civil DUI suspension is initiated with a form 240 or Notice of Intent to Suspend form. It is important to read and act on this form right away. A Vermont civil DUI is different from a Vermont criminal DUI. Most DUIs in Vermont have a civil DUI and a criminal DUI cited together. Civil DUIs in Vermont relate to license suspension. If you are issued a Notice of Intent to Suspend form you must return the form to address indicated on the form within SEVEN DAYS of when the form was issued. If you fail to do so your license will AUTOMATICALLY go under suspension. If you have received a Vermont civil DUI, criminal DUI or both, contact Burke Law today for your free case consultation.

I was under 21 and received a civil violation for operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of more than .02. What should I do?

Contact an attorney as possible. If you pay the operating under 21 with a BAC above .02 ticket your license or privilege to operate in the State of Vermont may be suspended for six months or more. Additionally, you may have to complete expensive classes, carry financial responsibility insurance and endure other burdensome penalties. We offer free, confidential case consultations and help you decide if it makes sense for you to fight the ticket.

 

Criminal Defense – FAQ

 

I’ve been given a citation to criminal court. What do I do next?

You should contact an attorney for an explanation of your citation and any additional paperwork you received from law enforcement.

If you are charged with a DUI in Vermont it is exceptionally important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

If you were issued a Notice of Intent to Suspend as part of your DUI then your driver’s license or privilege to operate may automatically go under suspension if you do not request a hearing within SEVEN days after your arrest.

The attorneys at Burke Law can explain what your criminal charge(s) and how to respond to any necessary paperwork to protect your license.

Burke Law advertises free consultations. What are these? How do I prepare?

Burke Law offers free 30 minute case consultations. These consultations can occur either over the phone or at either of our Vermont office locations (Burlington or White River Junction) at the choice of the client. It is useful to provide the attorney with any paperwork that you received from law enforcement at or prior to the consult. This will help us give you the most accurate information about your case. You and the attorney will discuss the allegations and sketch out a defense strategy.

What will happen at the first court date?

The first court date is your arraignment. An arraignment is a constitutional right that a defendant has to be told what his or her charge or charges are in open court. It is an opportunity to learn exactly what crime or crimes the prosecution alleges you committed and what facts may constitute those charges. At the arraignment your attorney will enter a plea on your behalf. Traditionally, the initial plea is a not guilty plea. The purpose of this plea to to keep the case moving forward so that your attorney can craft an individualized defense strategy and obtain any necessary evidence in your favor.

How many times will I have to go to court?

It depends. For simple misdemeanor cases you may never need to go to court. For example, if you live out of state or are otherwise unavailable for work or school reasons your attorney may be able to waive your appearance at your arraignment and all subsequent court hearings. Other times it may be necessary for you to appear five or more times to successfully defend your case. The attorneys at Burke Law can provide an estimate of the number of appearances required during your free consultation.

Why should I choose Burke Law?

At Burke Law we practice criminal defense throughout Vermont. It is what we do. All three of our attorneys have extensive criminal defense practice experience throughout Vermont. We work for you to craft individualized, strategic defenses to provide you with the best possible outcomes. Burke Law is unique because our attorneys have deep local experience. Our Founding Attorney, Jessica Burke, works daily in Chittenden criminal court and throughout the state on serious felony matters. She has practiced in all 14 Vermont counties and has successfully defended misdemeanors and felonies throughout the state of Vermont. Attorney Leah Henderson focuses her practice in central and southern Vermont criminal courts. Attorney Henderson has successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases in Windsor, Rutland, Windham, Bennington, Caledonia and Orange counties. Attorney Zachery Weight formerly worked as a public defender in Orleans criminal court and earned a reputation as a fierce trial attorney. Since joining Burke Law, Attorney Weight has focused his practice on criminal defense in Franklin, Washington, Addison, Grand Isle, Orleans, Lamoille, and Essex counties. 

Burke Law was built on criminal defense. Founding Attorney Jessica Burke practiced as a public defender in urban Virginia where she tried cases ranging from disorderly conduct to felony murder to a jury. After relocating home to Vermont, Attorney Burke started Burke Law in 2011 and defended misdemeanor and felony charges for clients in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Both Attorney Henderson and Attorney Weight began their careers in public defense in Vermont. Burke Law remains committed to values of public defense and all of our attorneys take low bono and pro bono cases as our schedules allow. 

At Burke Law open, honest and continued dialog with our clients is vital to building a strong defense and providing our clients with the best options available. 

Our attorneys have successfully defended thousands of cases throughout Vermont. Each case is unique. Our substantial experience in criminal defense throughout Vermont will help you get the best outcome possible for your case.

What happens at an arraignment?

The purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant what they are charged with and why they are charged with it.

Arraignments Tell You What Your Charge(s) Is.

The fundamental purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant, in open court, what they are charged with. In other words, arraignments tell a Vermont defendant what law it is alleged that a defendant has broken.

Arraignments Tell You What Evidence The State Intends to Use Against You. 

An arraignment tells a defendant and her attorney why she is charged with the crime she is charged with. In other words, the State must disclose what facts it believes support the accusation that you committed the crime.

Arraignments Begin the Criminal Process In Vermont 

Typically an arraignment is just the beginning of the criminal process. The State presents a broad outline of the facts it believes it can establish to support a conviction of the crime charged. An experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney can develop a defense strategy to respond to the allegations made by the State prosecutor at an arraignment. 

Can I use self defense to protect myself from a criminal charge?

I was attacked by the complaining witness in a Vermont assault case, can I use self defense to protect myself?

Vermont law surrounding self defense in assault cases is complex. It is often used when someone is attacked in their home, or even in public, and then the victim attacks back at the aggressor. The aggressor may be more injured than the victim, which could result in the victim being charged with a crime. There are a variety of situations in which the defense can be used. 

Self defense is what is called an affirmative defense, meaning that it is a type of criminal defense that usually needs to be asserted once your case is already charged and there are certain threshold showings you must make to present it to a jury. The Vermont Model Jury Instructions provide a basic framework of what a defendant must show at a jury trial.  

Steps You Can Take To Help Your Self Defense Case

There are ways to help your self defense case (such as taking pictures of your injuries when they are fresh and seeking appropriate medical treatment for yourself). If there are any witnesses to you using self defense in a Vermont assault case, it may be helpful to have them give sworn statements. Working with an experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney as soon as soon as possible is a good idea in these types of cases. 

It is important to call an attorney right away to help you prepare your self defense case for assault charges in Vermont. 

What if an alleged victim is contacting me?

I was cited to court in Vermont for an assault and released on a condition that I have no contact with the alleged victim. The alleged victim of the assault is contacting me. Can I speak to the alleged victim of the assault if he or she is contacting me?

No. Absolutely not.  If you have a no contact condition it is a violation of your conditions of release for the pending assault – no matter which party initiates the contact. Violating your conditions of release in Vermont can result in new criminal charges or even being held in jail until your court date. For reference, the standard condition of release court form can be found here.

Are you saying that it doesn’t matter to the Court at all that it was the alleged victim who was contacting me?

Yes. It does not matter that the victim contacts you. You cannot have contact because you are subject to the no contact condition of release. If the alleged victim contacts you, hang up the phone. If the alleged victim approaches you, walk away. You can help your criminal defense by documenting any instances when an alleged victim contacts you after a no contact condition of release is imposed by writing down the time, place and manner of the attempted contact with you by the alleged victim.

Can a third party contact the person who I am not to have contact with to relay a message?

No. No contact means no direct contact, no phone contact, no electronic contact, and no contact through third parties.

If you are subject to a no contact order in Vermont criminal court and the person keeps attempting to initiate contact with you, let your attorney know right away.

 

At Burke Law, we guide you through every stage of the criminal process. From arraignment to disposition, our criminal defense attorneys identify the strengths of your case and zealously advocate on your behalf. If you are charged with a crime it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Burke Law for A Free Case Consultation

If you have been charged with a crime, or if you have not been formally charged with crime but are party to an ongoing investigation, contact us to ensure that your rights are protected from the earliest stages of the process. We offer free consultations and will work with you to find a time that accommodates your schedule.