The Difference Between Civil DUI and Criminal DUI in Vermont

Published by Jessica Burke on

Most DUIs in Vermont have two components: a DUI civil and a DUI criminal. Both cases are handled at the same court, before the same judge, at the same time. Each case will have a distinct docket number and each case has different potential consequences.

A civil DUI impacts your privilege to operate a motor vehicle. In other words, the civil DUI impacts your driver’s license.

The Vermont civil DUI statute can be located here.

A criminal DUI impacts your criminal history and can impact you ability to operate a motor vehicle legally.

The Vermont criminal DUI statute can be located here. If you are convicted of a criminal DUI you can face jail time, fines, and loss of license. The penalties of a DUI criminal conviction in Vermont can be found here. For a detailed discussion on criminal DUI penalties in Vermont please read our prior blog post on DUI penalties.

First and second offense criminal DUI are misdemeanor level offenses in Vermont. A misdemeanor in Vermont is a crime that carries a maximum potential penalty two years or less in jail.

Third and subsequent DUI convictions in Vermont are felonies. A felony in Vermont is defined as any offense whose maximum term of imprisonment is more than two years.

A first offense Vermont civil DUI can result in a 90 day loss of privilege to operate a motor vehicle. To reinstate from any civil DUI offense certain requirements must be satisfied with the Vermont DMV such as completion of the Impaired Driver Rehabilitation Program (IDRP), counseling, obtaining and maintaining SR-22 financial responsibility insurance and paying court and DMV reinstatement fees. The statute outlining the conditions of reinstatement after a DUI suspension can be found here.

A second offense Vermont civil DUI can result in an 18 month loss of privilege to operate a motor vehicle. The Vermont DMV may require anyone with a second or subsequent DUI civil to operate under the terms of a restricted driver’s license (RDL) with an ignition interlock device before they are eligible to reinstate to a regular driver’s license.

Third offense Vermont civil DUI can result in lifetime suspension. There are ways that a lifetime civil DUI suspension can be lifted, specifically, by showing abstinence from alcohol or by meeting RDL requirements. The Vermont statute that mandates the length of suspension for second and subsequent suspensions can be found here.

A first offense civil refusal carries a six month loss of privilege to operate.

The attorneys at Burke Law are experienced in both DUI civil and DUI criminal cases. We can help you understand what you are facing and develop your best defense for Vermont DUI.



Categories: Vermont DUI

Jessica Burke

Jessica Burke is a licensed Vermont attorney and the founder of Burke Law. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Boston College in Political Science, and then received her law degree from Washington & Lee Law School. After law school she worked with several top law firms before settling in Vermont and building her own practice. In addition to being licensed to practice law in the state of Vermont, she also holds a State Bar certification in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, among others. She specializes in criminal defense, including DUI defense, homicides, and sex crimes.

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