Vermont Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Vermont has a unique arrangement for the sale of alcohol. The state contracts with private retailers to sell alcohol rather than operating state stores. Beer and lower alcohol wine are typically available in convenience and grocery stores. While retail stores can sell alcohol from 6 a.m. to midnight, bars and restaurants may serve from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
While you must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol, you may serve alcohol as a server in a restaurant or bartender at the age of 18. You can work in a liquor store at age 16.
Open Container Laws
Vermont has an open container law, so no previously opened bottles of alcohol may be transported in the main compartment of a vehicle – they must be enclosed in the trunk of the car.
A driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) that registers over .08 percent is considered to be ‘per se intoxicated,’ meaning the state requires no further evidence in order to prosecute for DUI (driving under the influence).
Vermont does not have enhanced BAC penalties, which some states enact to provide harsher punishment for excessively intoxicated drivers.
Drivers under 21 are discouraged from drinking and driving by ‘zero tolerance laws,’ which limit the driver to a .02 BAC. Over this limit, DUI penalties apply.
‘Implied consent laws’ are signed into effect when a driver gets a license. Under these laws, the driver agrees to comply with a law officer’s request for blood, breath, or urine testing for intoxication. Refusing to cooperate with chemical testing can include mandatory suspension of a driver’s license for up to a year.
The penalty of driver’s license suspension for DUI is 90 days for the first offense, 18 months for the second offense, and on the third offense, the driver’s license is permanently revoked. These penalties are carried out by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).
The expensive penalty of temporary or permanent vehicle confiscation for DUI conviction is a possibility in Vermont with the third offense. Education about alcohol abuse, as well as treatment or assessment, can be court-ordered. However, Vermont does not support the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.