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Vermont DUI Arrests, Prosecutions, and Recidivism: 1992-2007

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2009
74 pages
This report presents the results of a study examining Vermont laws aimed at reducing driving under the influence offenses.
This study was conducted by the Vermont Center for Justice Research to determine the degree to which changes to the State's drunk driving laws reduced DUI (driving under the influence) offenses. The changes were instituted during the 1997-1998 legislative session and focused on a holistic approach to decreasing DUI offenses using improved DUI enforcement and processing in the courts. Analysis of the law's impact found that between 1997 and 2007, DUI arrest patterns fluctuated greatly and that estimated annual episodes of drinking and driving also varied, but in a different pattern. This finding suggests that the variance in arrest patterns may be due to variances in enforcement patterns and practices. The analysis also examined the percentage of cases dismissed before and after changes to the law. The analysis found that the percentage of cases dismissed decreased following implementation of the law, as did the number of dismissals for a DUI second offense. It was also found that the speed with which cases were disposed increased following implementation of the law, though this was not specifically addressed in the legislation. The study also examined the sentences handed down by the courts before and after implementation of the law. The study found that use of probation increased from only 7.8 percent before implementation to over 24 percent following implementation. This finding most likely results from decrease in use of split sentences and straight incarceration. This study examined changes to Vermont's drunk driving laws that were instituted during the 1997-1998 legislative session. The changes were aimed at reducing DUI offenses by focusing primarily on DUI enforcement and processing in the courts. The study looked at DUI arrest patterns and convictions for the period before implementation of the law, pre-1997, and for the 10 years following implementation, 1997-2007. Tables and figures