The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 23: Motor Vehicles

Chapter 13: OPERATION OF VEHICLES

Sub-Chapter 13: Drunken Driving

23 V.S.A. § 1202 Consent to taking of tests to determine blood alcohol content



 

§ 1202. Consent to taking of tests to determine blood alcohol content

(a)(1) Implied consent. Every person who operates, attempts to operate, or is in actual physical control of any vehicle on a highway in this State is deemed to have given consent to an evidentiary test of that person's breath for the purpose of determining the person's alcohol concentration or the presence of other drug in the blood. The test shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer.

(2) Blood test. If breath testing equipment is not reasonably available or if the officer has reason to believe that the person is unable to give a sufficient sample of breath for testing or if the law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is under the influence of a drug other than alcohol, the person is deemed to have given consent to the taking of an evidentiary sample of blood. If in the officer's opinion the person is incapable of decision or unconscious or dead, it is deemed that the person's consent is given and a sample of blood shall be taken.

(3) Evidentiary test. The evidentiary test shall be required of a person when a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person was operating, attempting to operate, or in actual physical control of a vehicle in violation of section 1201 of this title.

(4) Fatal collision or incident resulting in serious bodily injury. The evidentiary test shall also be required if the person is the surviving operator of a motor vehicle involved in a fatal incident or collision or an incident or collision resulting in serious bodily injury and the law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has any amount of alcohol or other drug in his or her system.

(b) If the person refuses to submit to an evidentiary test it shall not be given, except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, but the refusal may be introduced as evidence in a criminal proceeding.

(c) A person who is requested by a law enforcement officer to submit to an evidentiary test or tests has a right as herein limited to consult an attorney before deciding whether or not to submit to such a test or tests. The person must decide whether or not to submit to the evidentiary test or tests within a reasonable time and no later than 30 minutes from the time of the initial attempt to contact the attorney. The person must make a decision about whether or not to submit to the test or tests at the expiration of the 30 minutes regardless of whether a consultation took place.

(d) At the time a test is requested, the person shall be informed of the following statutory information:

(1) Vermont law authorizes a law enforcement officer to request a test to determine whether the person is under the influence of alcohol or other drug.

(2) If the officer's request is reasonable and testing is refused, the person's license or privilege to operate will be suspended for at least six months.

(3) If a test is taken and the results indicate that the person is under the influence of alcohol or other drug, the person will be subject to criminal charges and the person's license or privilege to operate will be suspended for at least 90 days.

(4) A person who is requested by a law enforcement officer to submit to an evidentiary test or tests has the limited right to consult an attorney before deciding whether or not to submit to such a test or tests. The person must decide whether or not to submit to the evidentiary test or tests within a reasonable time and no later than 30 minutes from the time of the initial attempt to contact the attorney regardless of whether a consultation took place. The person also has the right to have additional tests made by someone of the person's own choosing at the person's own expense. The person shall also be informed of the location of one or more facilities available for drawing blood.

(5) A person who is requested by a law enforcement officer to submit to an evidentiary test administered with an infrared breath-testing instrument may elect to have a second infrared test administered immediately after receiving the results of the first test.

(6) If the person refuses to take an evidentiary test, the refusal may be offered into evidence against the person at trial, whether or not a search warrant is sought. The person may be charged with the crime of criminal refusal if the person:

(A) has previously been convicted of a violation of section 1201 of this title; or

(B) is involved in an accident or collision resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another, in which case the court may issue a search warrant and order the person to submit to a blood test, the results of which may be offered into evidence against the person at trial.

(e) In any proceeding under this subchapter, a law enforcement officer's testimony that he or she is certified pursuant to section 20 V.S.A. § 2358 shall be prima facie evidence of that fact.

(f) If a person who has been involved in an accident or collision resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another refuses an evidentiary test, a law enforcement officer may apply for a search warrant pursuant to Rule 41 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure to obtain a sample of blood for an evidentiary test. If a blood sample is obtained by search warrant, the fact of the refusal may still be introduced in evidence, in addition to the results of the evidentiary test. Once a law enforcement official begins the application process for a search warrant, the law enforcement official is not obligated to discontinue the process even if the person later agrees to provide an evidentiary breath sample. The limitation created by Rule 41(g) of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure regarding blood specimens shall not apply to search warrants authorized by this section.

(g) The Defender General shall provide statewide 24-hour coverage seven days a week to assure that adequate legal services are available to persons entitled to consult an attorney under this section. (Added 1969, No. 267 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1973, No. 79, § 2, eff. May 23, 1973; 1977, No. 96, eff. May 5, 1977; 1981, No. 103, § 3; 1985, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1989, No. 68, § 3, eff. Dec. 1, 1989; 1991, No. 55, § 3; 1991, No. 57, § 2, eff. July 4, 1991; 1997, No. 56, §§ 2, 3, eff. Aug. 1, 1997; 1997, No. 117 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1999, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2001, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)