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Vermont Arrest Records

Vermont arrest records contain information on a person’s engagement with law enforcement agencies within the state. These are designated as public for viewing and inspection, following 1 VSA section 316. The law allows anyone to view or copy the records from a government agency. Typically, these records are generated and stored by law enforcement agencies at the local or state level. That includes the sheriff’s office and local police department following the official booking process. Some records are available online via the agency’s website, as they may post-arrest logs. If these are not available online, they can be accessed via the respective offices. Therefore, interested parties may access arrest reports, citations, traffic violations, and tickets.


There are cases, though, in which arrest records are kept from the public domain, such as when it interferes with law enforcement proceedings or if they will disclose the identity of a confidential source. These exceptions are illustrated in section 317 of the 1 VSA. Arrest records carry a wide range of information concerning the suspect. Like criminal records, they include the person’s physical details such as name, date of birth, height, weight, skin color, and unique markings. They also include witness statements, the location of the incident, criminal charges, and the arresting officer’s remarks. Unlike criminal records, though, these do not have convictions, so individuals with arrest records are not necessarily offenders. 

What Laws Govern Arrests in Vermont?

According to Vermont law, officers can arrest a person if they have probable cause to believe they have committed a crime. Once probable cause has been established, the person can be taken into custody via involuntary transport. According to the same statute, 4954, a private citizen can also make the arrest. When the individual is arrested, they will be taken before the Superior court judge, and a complaint is made against them under oath. 


Rule 3 of Vermont Criminal procedures also details arrest without a warrant. For example, if the offense is done in the presence of an officer, they may arrest the offender without possessing a warrant. The arrest can be made without delay. According to Rule 41, which deals with search and seizure, a search warrant can be issued by a judicial officer following a request by law enforcement officers. Under this rule, the grounds for issuing a warrant would be if there is evidence of the commission of an offense, contraband, weapons, or other things by which crimes can be committed.


Search and seizure laws also apply to motor vehicles. Under state law, an officer has to articulate exigent circumstances that the arrestee would be able to reach for weapons or destroy evidence before they do a search to arrest. That is provided there is probable cause to believe that the container has evidence or contraband. 


If, on review of the application and consideration of the supplemental information, the judge denies the application, it is because there is a lack of probable cause. The judge will also indicate on the proposed warrant that it has been denied and then sign the denial. Should it be after court hours as well, the officer can deliver the documents to the clerk. 

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Vermont?

When the suspect has been arrested, they go through a process of lodging at a correctional facility. They go through a booking process, after which they can be situated, awaiting arraignment proceedings. 

Vital Information 

When a suspect is first brought to the police station, an officer will record their name, physical attributes, and criminal charges. This information can also be taken from the police citation or statement from the arresting officer. 


A mug shot or picture of the defendant is taken and incorporated into the jail records for law enforcement use. With facial recognition technologies that are currently available, it is possible to assess which of two individuals with the same name were arrested. It can also illustrate a person's physical condition at the time they were arrested. That can be relevant to the claim of police using excessive force during an arrest. 

Confiscation of clothing and property

The suspect will be given jail clothing, and they must surrender their clothing or any belongings. These have to be held in custody as evidence or as the offender's property until released. However, if it is contraband or counts as evidence, then it will not be relinquished back into the individual’s possession. For the money seized during arrests, officers will give an account of the amount and further details of the incident. 

Taking of fingerprints

Officers will take an impression of the suspect’s fingerprints from each hand. This is helpful for investigations, especially if the crime in question requires fingerprint evidence. Should the forensic department match the ones taken at the crime scene with those of the offender, it will provide evidence of their guilt. The fingerprints are then kept in a database which also forms part of the suspect’s criminal record. Depending on the crime, they may also be asked to submit other artifacts. For example, in cases of sexual assault, a suspect might be required to provide their hair, saliva, and DNA. 

When the suspect has submitted their fingerprints, they may undergo a full body search. This one is much more intrusive compared to the pat down done at the time of the arrest. It entails searching all body cavities when the person is fully naked to ensure they are not carrying any drugs or weapons into the facility. These searches are required even if the person who has been arrested is brought in for a minor, non-violent offense. In 2012, following Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of Cty of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510, the Supreme Court determined that these searches could be done even if the person was detained for a traffic violation because of failure to pay tickets.

Search for warrants 

Officers will check the system to determine if an arrestee has committed crimes in the past and whether they have an open warrant for their arrest. That could range from unpaid parking tickets to kidnapping, arson, or murder in other states. Suspects with pending warrants will not have the bail option considering they are seen as flight risks. 

Medical Screening 

The offender will go through a health and safety check by jail officials to make sure they are not carrying any infectious diseases. During the Covid pandemic, it was essential to do this to protect the corrections staff or other inmates. The process may also include X-rays to detect respiratory conditions and blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases. 

Information gathering on affiliations 

To reduce the potential for violence inflicted when the offender joins the jail population, they will be questioned concerning current and former gang affiliations and current investigations. If deemed necessary, the person may be placed in protective custody or set in one part of the jail rather than another. Jails with gang presence require one to discern where they would be placed to avoid further issues. The questioning at this time is not necessarily an interrogation as it is more for the offender’s good than law enforcement's sake. Information disclosed to the booking officer may also be used in these cases. Though in particular states such as California, incriminating information that an arrestee gives to respond to the booking officer’s question on gang affiliation may not be admissible, especially if the defendant has not gone through the Miranda Rights orientation.  


The suspect is then placed in a holding cell or facility to await the trial process or until their bail has been posted. It is important to note, though, that people arrested for a minor infraction can also be released following the signing of the citation. It follows a promise that they will appear in court on a specific date. If they do not appear, then a bench warrant is issued for their arrest.

What Are Vermont Mugshot Records?

Mugshots are photographs with identifying information on the suspect, including their height, date, and a reference to the crime they allegedly committed. It is possible to access these records by requesting them from the Vermont State Police. It is worth noting that an arrest processing photograph may not be present, especially if the suspect was cited and then released. There may also be extenuating circumstances why the photo of the person was not taken. That being said, the Vermont state police does have a database of mugshots but will not relinquish photographs that have been taken by a federal law enforcement agency to the public. 

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Vermont?

The short answer is forever because an arrest record becomes part of the alleged offender’s criminal history. It remains a part of their criminal background unless it is expunged or sealed. If the charges are dismissed or if the person is acquitted of a crime, then an arrest record can also be sealed or expunged, but that is handled in the next section.

How to Expunge an Arrest Record in Vermont

Considering criminal records threaten a person’s employment, housing, or educational opportunities, it would come in handy if some could expunge or seal their information. Vermont does allow for either process, provided the person passes specific criteria. According to 13 V.S.A. § 7602, an individual can file petitions with the courts to request expungement or sealing of their record if they were convicted of a qualifying crime or if their conviction was of an offense no longer designated as a criminal offense. If the person also committed the crime during their juvenile years, which in Vermont would be before the age of 25, they can petition for their record to be sealed or expunged.


The petitioner should have also completed their sentence five years before they try to have their records sealed or expunged. It is also if the petitioner paid all the restitution and was not convicted of a listed offense. They should not be charged with an offense when they apply for sealing or expungement. Dismissed charges may be expunged, provided they took place after July 2018. Though, the recommendation is the petitioner waits six months following the dismissal to begin the process. To qualify for expungement, the crime must have been committed in Vermont. 


Felonies that can be expunged in the state include grand larceny, burglary, and unlawful mischief. Most misdemeanors can also be expunged from the record, provided it did not entail violence, use of a weapon, or a sexual offense. Apart from a few exceptions, federal convictions may not be expunged from a person’s record. The exception in this case is first-time drug possession which are committed before the defendant turns 21 years of age. 


The record may be sealed if a person has only one DUI or the Negligent Operation of a Vehicle. Should they have multiple DUIs, then these cannot be expunged or sealed. A governor’s pardon, though, for any offense may allow the person to apply for the expungement of the record successfully.    

How to Search Vermont Arrest Records

 In Vermont, anyone can search for arrest records, considering they are largely public domain. That is provided they do not infringe on any exceptions for privacy or law enforcement investigations. The state judiciary, though, cannot offer a statewide search process for arrest records. Rather, one can submit an arrest record check in the specific county court where the charges were filed. If the case initially began in one court but was transferred to another, the requester must submit the request to the latter court. 


The results of these inquiries will not include any out-of-state records either. There is a cost for each record check, which also depends on the county. Arrest records can also be sought by submitting a request form to the law enforcement agency that detained the person. Some agencies may allow requesters to submit requests online. Other police departments have the forms online, but they must be downloaded, filled out, emailed, or mailed to the agency. Record seekers must also provide their photo identification and any required fees with the issued request. 


Counties in Vermont

Jails and Prisons in Vermont

Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF)7 Farrell Street, South Burlington, VT
Chittenden County VT Jail70 Ethan Allen Drive, PO Box 1426, Burlington, VT
Washington County VT Jail10 Elm Street, PO Box 678, Montpelier, VT
Windsor County VT Jail62 Pleasant Street, PO Box 478, Woodstock, VT
Southeast State Correctional Facility (SESCF)546 State Farm Road, Windsor, VT
Southern State Correctional Facility (SSCF)700 Charlestown Road, Springfield, VT
Northwest State Correctional Facility (NWSCF)3649 Lower Newton Road, Swanton, VT
Windham County VT Jail11 Jail Street, PO Box 266, Newfane, VT
Bennington County VT Jail811 U.S. Rte 7 South, PO Box 4207, Bennington, VT