Vermont Criminal Records
Vermont criminal records refer to the engagement with law enforcement agencies and the court system. These records are used by law enforcement, criminal justice institutions, and employers to determine the backgrounds of individuals, provided there is a sufficient reason. Aside from allowing employers, lenders, and law enforcement to assess an individual's trustworthiness, they can also be relevant for international travel. After convictions, judges assess a person’s criminal record to determine the severity of the sentence given. The Vermont Crime Information Center maintains the state’s criminal records. It verifies and consolidates all information on prosecution, sentencing, as well as correctional data as issued by other law enforcement agencies.
The criminal history repository contains information on the person, such as arrests, citations, arraignments, dispositions, custody, and supervision, if relevant. This information is available for viewing and inspection following the Vermont Freedom of Information Act. There are restrictions, though, to access records as specified by the Vermont Criminal History Privacy Act. For example, in section 5 of the act, an individual cannot have access to the record of another individual if they have not been convicted of a crime. Similarly, if disclosing the records would deprive a person of a fair trial or interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, they would be deemed confidential.
What Are the Types of Crimes in Vermont?
In Vermont, the state defines felonies as offenses that attract a prison sentence of more than two years. Vermont does not separate felonies according to classifications. Each felony comes with punitive measures where the violation has a designated statute.
First, second, and third-degree murder
According to Vermont laws, 13 V.S.A. § 2303, the punishment for first-degree murder is for the offender to be sentenced to not less than 35 years. The maximum sentence is life without the possibility of parole. If the offense is second-degree murder, it will result in a minimum prison term of not less than 20 years, with a maximum of a life sentence. It may also attract a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In the case of manslaughter, Vermont state laws mandate that they are not to be fined more than $3,000 and not less than one year. The maximum sentence for this is 15 years.
Kidnapping is categorized as a felony in the state of Vermont. The crime may involve inflicting bodily injury, sexual assault, or facilitating the commission of another crime. It attracts a sentence punishable by life imprisonment or a fine that is not more than $50,000. It may also entail both. The defendant can use the defense that they voluntarily caused the release of the victim alive in a safe place. That could reduce their sentence to a maximum of 30 years, a $50,000 fine, or both.
In the attempt or the commission of a crime, where the person causes bodily injury, the individual will be imprisoned for not more than 20 years. The penalty is not less than one year. Similarly, a person convicted of burglary will be detained for a maximum of 15 years and a minimum fine of $1000.
Arson and burning
If the person is found guilty of willfully setting fire and killing a person, they will be charged with first-degree murder. First-degree arson, where the offender willfully sets fire or causes it to be burned, would incur a punishment of not more than ten years or not less than two years. The fine should not exceed $2,000 and could be accompanied by prison time.
Sexual assault or exploitation of minors
On conviction of sections 2822, 2823, and 2824, which entails the use of the child in a sexual performance or promoting of sexual conduct, the offender would be imprisoned for not less than a year. The maximum sentence is 15 years or a fine of $50,000 or both. Similarly, if an offender is found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, their sentence would not be less than ten years in prison. The maximum punishment for this would be life. They may also incur a fine of not more than $50,000
In the state of Vermont, a person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise provided it has a retail value in excess of $900, would incur a fine of not more than $1,000. It may also attract a jail term of not more than ten years. Petit larceny, though, attracts a one-year prison sentence as well as a $1,000 fine.
Any individual that willfully or recklessly causes injury to a member of their family or friend will be imprisoned for a term that is not less than 18 months. They may also incur a fine of not more than $5,000.
How Does Probation Work in Vermont?
Vermont statutes allow the judge to impose a sentence alternative to being incarcerated. Before probation is considered, the courts must evaluate the crime's nature and the defendant’s history. The conditions of probation are covered under section 252, 28 V.S.A. According to state law, the courts will give as an explicit condition of every sentence to the probation that if an offender has been convicted of another offense when the sentence can be revoked, the courts can then revoke the probation.
Under the terms of probation in Vermont, the offender must work at an approved employment setting or pursue a vocation that will provide them with a reliable livelihood. They may also be under medical or psychiatric treatment per the court's orders if required. During this time, the offender will report regularly to a probation officer to make sure they abide by the court's orders. If their sentence mandates, a probationer will work faithfully for the set number of community service hours acceptable to the courts. They will also support the offender’s dependents and meet other family obligations.
They will actually make reparation or restitution to the victim of their conduct to the Compensation Fund in accordance with 13. VSA chapter 167. It shall not be more than the amount the defendant can or will be able to pay. Probationers are also supposed to reside within the jurisdiction of the sentencing court unless they have been given permission to leave by the probation officer or the judge due to employment reasons. In the event they would like to change the details of their address or employment, probationers have to notify the probation officers well in advance.
Should the probation officer have grounds to believe the offender has violated the terms, they can monitor the person’s communications, activities, or use of electronic media. Probationers are not allowed to handle or possess weapons for their probation. They are also supposed to satisfy any other terms reasonably related to the terms of their rehabilitation. That includes not using alcohol, contact with minors, and use of electronic devices, depending on the sentence as well as the crime committed.
Adult Court Diversion Program
Vermont has a diversion program set up to keep low-level offenders out of the court processes. The state prosecution helps reduce caseloads by referring specific individuals to the program. That is people who have been charged with a first non-violent felony. It is also for the adults with treatment requirements that have been charged with felonies, which are not listed crimes per Title 13, section 5301(7).
The offenders have to voluntarily agree though to participate in the program and sign a contract accordingly. Once inducted, their records will be deemed confidential. The prosecutor will also dismiss their charges once the offenders complete the program. Two years afterward, the courts will also seal the record under the condition the person has not been arraigned on other charges and they are satisfied with the progress of their rehabilitation. If the offender does not complete the program, the prosecutor can reinstitute the original charges.
How Does Parole Work in the State?
Parole refers to the temporary or permanent release of an inmate from prison following the accomplishment of the minimum sentence or good behavior. The prisoner may also agree to abide by certain conditions on parole. The state of Vermont provides that inmates serving imprisonment sentences are eligible for parole provided certain conditions. That is, if the sentence has no minimum or zero minimum term, the inmate has to be eligible for parole in 12 months. Should the inmate sentence have a minimum term, then parole will be considered when serving the minimum term.
Before an inmate is released on parole, the Board has to interview each eligible inmate. They have to consider all relevant information concerning the inmate to determine eligibility. Parole might be granted only following the interviewing of an inmate in accordance with the section. This can be done in person, via video-meet, or by telephone. An initial interview of the inmate then has to occur when the inmate becomes eligible for parole consideration.
Inmates can be released on parole by written order if it is determined there is a reasonable probability the inmate is not a detriment to the community. The inmate may also be willing and capable of fulfilling the obligations of a citizen. Parole must be ordered only within the community's and inmate's best interests. It cannot be thought of as an award of clemency or a conditional pardon. All inmates serving sentences, such as inmates who have not served the minimum terms yet have been diagnosed with a debilitating condition, can still be released on medical parole to the hospital, hospice, an inpatient facility, or a suitable housing facility.
How Does Expungement Work in Vermont?
The state of Vermont allows a person to file for an expungement of their criminal record. That is, if at least five years have elapsed since the individual petitioning completed their sentence. It is also if any required restitution ordered by the courts has already been paid in full. Should the court find that the expungement of the record serves the interest of justice, it will also be granted. A petitioner can seek expungement or sealing of a record when there is no conviction. That is if Vermont filed no criminal charge and the statute of limitations expired. It can also be if the court does not find any probable cause or dismisses the charge when the person is arraigned before the courts.
There are particular crimes, though, which qualify for expungement and others that do not. If the person was convicted of domestic assault, prostitution, stalking, reckless endangerment, abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation can be expunged. Felonies that fall under higher-level categories may not be expunged or sealed.
How to Obtain a Criminal Record in Vermont
It is possible to view criminal records in Vermont as they are categorized as public. These can be considered via the Department of Public Safety Crime Information Center. It is the main repository for criminal records in the state. Following chapter VSA 117, eligible individuals and groups that may access all criminal histories include criminal justice agencies, researchers, employers, the Department of Building Services, and Financial Regulation.
Eligible parties may also find copies of these records by sending the person’s name, birth date, and required fees. There is a $30 fee which is imposed for each criminal history record, though. According to the statute, particular entities and individuals are exempted from paying the fee. There are no fees, though, for the requests made by registrants for their records by the law enforcement agency.
Police records are also designated as public. According to 1 VSA, any party is allowed to view public records, which means law enforcement must make their reports available to the public. That is provided they do not contain witness identification, abuse, child custody, or ongoing criminal investigations. At the local level, anyone interested in obtaining police records can do so at the sheriff’s office or police department. There may be a record request form to fill, though. It will require specifics on the individual’s names, incident details, court appearances, and the date they were processed. Some agencies allow the requester to submit the request online via a form, while others require the individual to do it in person or via mail.
Counties in Vermont
- Grand Isle