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The Volz Law Blog

Serving Vermont in Family Law, Personal Injury, and LGBT Law.

Can I Still Drive After My License Gets Suspended for a DUI in Vermont?

When can I drive again after a DUI suspension?

If your license should be suspended due to a DUI in Vermont, the law allows you to have a conditional license under certain circumstances. For most first DUIs, after 30 days suspension you can have a device installed in your vehicle called an ignition interlock RDL. With this device installed a person is able to drive pursuant to certain rules and conditions. By opting for this conditional license a first-time DUI driver is subject to a six-month regulated period (versus a straight up 90-day suspension, no conditional license).

How much is this breathalyzer device? How do I get one?

This development in the Vermont law allowing people with a suspended license to drive under certain conditions can be tremendously helpful. Getting to school, to work, to the supermarket, to daycare, are some of the things that can be done with such a license. However, in addition to the obvious benefits there can be drawbacks. The program is not free. There are installation costs, maintenance costs, and removal costs. As an experienced Vermont attorney defending people against DUIs, I am quite familiar with the court procedure but less so with extrajudicial matters. It is not part of my practice to stay apprised as to what the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles does, or the fees they charge for their services. However, a client thoughtfully wrote me recently to inform me as to the results of his research and experience. What follows is a synopsis.

Vermont currently has three or four different manufacturers that are acceptable to the program. As it turns out the devices are rather prone to false alarms, failures (especially due to cold,) causing dead batteries and just being a general hassle. All the companies I reviewed had pretty ugly ratings. 

With regard to false alarms there are some of the things you would suspect such as mouthwash and other products that contain some alcohol.  Sometimes it would just give an "inexplicable" failure.  For failure, the biggest issue in Vermont is the cold weather in winter.  One of the "tamper-proofing" checks the devices utilize is to sense the temperature of the breath being blown into it (to differentiate between a human and a can of air).  In the winter the device is so cold that the short distance down the cold tubing that the breath sample travels is sufficient enough for it to be cooled and cause a failure resulting in a re-test.  It usually needs to be repeated several times before the device is warm enough to accept it.  Some models apparently have warmers that kick in when it senses a low ambient temperature but it will still take about 5 minutes of blowing before you finally get the OK to start your car.  Because they are hard-wired into the battery and you have no control over this feature you may find yourself with a dead battery in the morning.  Trying to jump a car with an interlock device can be a real pain as you need to have an acceptable breath sample before you attempt to start the car.  

Of course, you should do your own research and come to your own conclusions. The possible inconveniences and costs outlined above have to be compared to the tremendous benefit of being able to drive your vehicle during your DUI suspension.

If you are involved in DUI charges in Vermont, you need an experienced Vermont DUI attorney. If you would like to discuss your particular DUI case, contact Attorney Kevin Volz at 802.775.0700. We are here to help.

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