Vermont Drunk Driving Attorneys
Alcohol-related driving accidents in Vermont have declined 54 percent since 1998—the best rate of improvement in the nation. This decline can be attributed to strict enforcement of the state DWI (driving while intoxicated) laws. If you are charged with a first or repeat offense, you need a skilled attorney as soon as you are placed under arrest. The experienced lawyers at Bergeron, Paradis & Fitzpatrick have the experience needed to develop an effective defense.
Repeat Offenders and Drunk Driving Laws in Vermont
Even a first conviction can result in severe penalties—up to $750 in fines, and as many as two years in jail. Your license is immediately suspended for six months, and you must enroll in an approved alcohol and drug rehabilitation program before you can get it back. The penalties increase substantially with each additional conviction, as follows:
- Second offense. Fines increase to as high as $1,500, and license suspension increases to 18 months, with no chance of early reinstatement—even after completing the mandatory rehabilitation program. Expect 200 hours of community service to be added to the sentence.
- Third offense. Third and subsequent offenses are charged as felony crimes. Fines increase to up to $2,500, jail time increases to five years, and community service increases to 400 hours. And a third offense results in lifetime revocation of your license.
These guidelines pertain to charges of DWI alone. Separate penalties are involved when a driver is under 21 with a blood alcohol content of as little as 0.02 percent. And when drunk driving results in an accident causing death, you can face manslaughter charges, which remain on your record and follow you through life.
How a skilled lawyer with experience in drunk driving cases can help
Each Vermont DUI and DWI attorney at Bergeron, Paradis & Fitzpatrick in Vermont remains at your side to protect your rights from initial questioning and throughout the criminal process. Anchored by former prosecutors, we know how to thoroughly examine the evidence against you to develop the best defense possible. We are skilled negotiators and effective courtroom litigators. Vermont strictly enforces its laws—and harsher penalties exist when an impaired driver causes an accident resulting in injuries or death. When you are involved in an accident and face drunk driving charges, you need immediate support from an experienced drunk driving defense attorney at Bergeron, Paradis & Fitzpatrick.
If you are convicted of drunk driving after an accident causing injury, you can be fined up to $5,000 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. If the accident results in death, the fine can increase to $10,000—and you can be charged with manslaughter. This is why it is so important to retain a skilled Vermont drunk driving defense lawyer with extensive experience on criminal defense.
Anchored by former prosecutors, the attorneys at Bergeron, Paradis & Fitzpatrick understand the techniques used against you by the prosecution. Our support is critical from the moment of arrest—and before you answer any questions. We help throughout the criminal process in many ways, such as the following:
- After your release. We represent you in all court proceedings.
- During negotiations. In certain situations, we can negotiate a plea agreement in which charges are reduced to ensure less severe penalties.
- At trial. Our drunk driving attorneys are skilled litigators in Vermont courts.
- During appeals. If errors occurred during your trial, we can take your case through the appeals process.
Contact an Experienced Drunk Driving Defense Attorney in Vermont
Drunk driving charges require the immediate support of an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Bergeron, Paradis & Fitzpatrick in Vermont aggressively represent you, handling your case with skill and sensitivity. Call Jeffrey M. Messina at 802-879-6304 or contact us online today.