Whether or not someone can be charged with a DUI if they are below the “legal limit” is a question I am often asked at social gatherings. When I answer that drivers in Vermont can be charged with DUI even when their BACs are below .08, I am met with stunned looks.
Wait, I can get a DUI in Vermont if my blood alcohol concentration is less than .08?
Yes, and in many Vermont counties you may be charged. Even if you blood alcohol concentration is far below the 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. The Vermont DUI statute can be found here.
Okay, the DUI under the influence statute is on the books. But Vermont prosecutors won’t actually charge me with the crime of DUI if my BAC is below .08 BAC, right?
In many Vermont counties drivers found with BACs below .08 are regularly charged with DUI.
Is there a BAC that is “safe” to operate a motor vehicle with in Vermont that I can’t be charged with DUI?
Vermont does not have a designated threshold BAC under which a driver cannot be charged with a DUI. If you drink in Vermont, don’t drive while impaired by alcohol even to the slightest degree.