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DUI Legal Process in Vermont

The Vermont DUI process starts with a violation of the DUI law by a motorist who was driving under the influence. The arresting officer than files an affidavit that he or she had reasonable grounds to believe that the motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. If the motorist refused to complete the chemical test administered by the officer his or her operating license is automatically suspended for 6 months. However, if the motorist consents to submit a test and their BAC is .08 or higher their operating license is then suspended for 90 days.

After the suspension of the license occurs the motorist must be properly notified that their license had been suspended because of DUI offense. This is done by serving the operator with a written suspension that will serves as a temporary operator’s license valid until the effective date of suspension on the notice. Upon that date the suspension becomes effective and the license of the operator is confiscated during the time of the suspension. The effective date on the written notice is typically the eleventh day after the notice was received unless a hearing is requested. Every person has the right to a hearing to contest the suspension of their DUI, however, if the request for a hearing is not mailed or delivered within seven days from the time the notice is received their right to a hearing is waived and their license is automatically suspended.

If a hearing is requested a copy of the notice of intention, the suspension and the officer’s affidavit is sent to the state’s attorney for review before the hearing. A preliminary hearing is then held within twenty-one days of the alleged offense. A final hearing is then held on the merits within twenty-one days of the preliminary hearing.

During the final hearing the court determines the following issues: whether the office had reasonable grounds to believe the operator was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, whether at the time the test the operator was informed of his rights, whether the operator refused to submit a test or not, whether the test was taken and was valid and what the results of the test were and if they were accurate. The commission then receives a report of the final hearing and decides either for or against the operator of the vehicle. If the commission finds in favor of the operator then suspension is canceled and there is no fee to the motorist. However, if the commission finds against the motorist the suspension is immediately effect and relevant fees apply.

The motorist then has the option to appeal. However, the suspension will not remain pending unless the defendant is reasonably likely to prevail on appeal.

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