The Vermont Statutes Online
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
NOTE: The online version of the Vermont Statutes does NOT yet include the actions of the 2023 legislative session. The 2023 updates should be available by the end of October.
- Subchapter 001: TRIAL GENERALLY
§ 6501. Rights of accused
On the trial of an information or indictment, the party accused may defend himself or herself, be heard by counsel, produce witnesses and proofs in his or her favor, and shall be confronted with the witnesses produced against him or her.
§ 6502. Presumption of innocence
The presumption of innocence in criminal causes shall attend the accused until the jury renders a verdict of guilty, and the court shall charge the jury accordingly. This presumption of innocence is a proper subject of comment in argument.
§ 6503. Repealed. 1971, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. date, see note set out below.
§ 6504. Employment of counsel on behalf of State
In the examination of a person charged with a crime exceeding the jurisdiction of a Criminal Division of the Superior Court to try and determine, commenced upon the complaint of a complaining officer not entitled to draw a salary, and in the trial of person before such court upon the complaint of such an officer, charging him or her with a crime within the jurisdiction of such court to try and determine, where the fine is payable to the State, such officer may employ counsel at the expense of the State, when the State’s Attorney is disqualified or unable seasonably to attend at such examination or trial. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative February 1, 1967; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 53, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154, § 238.)
§ 6505. Payment
The Commissioner of Finance and Management shall allow counsel so employed a reasonable compensation for his or her services and expenses and shall issue his or her warrant for the amount allowed. Compensation shall not be allowed where it appears to the Commissioner that the prosecution was superfluous and instituted to enhance costs, nor in the trial of a person upon a complaint for intoxication or for any other offense against the title relating to alcoholic beverages, except where the respondent pleads not guilty. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2017, No. 83, § 146.)
§§ 6506, 6507. Repealed. 1973, No. 118, § 25, eff. Oct. 1, 1973.
- Subchapter 002: PLEADINGS AND PROOF
§§ 6551-6554. Repealed. 1973, No. 118, § 25, Oct. 1, 1973.
§ 6555. Nolle prosequi when proof shows greater offense than charged
If, upon the trial of a person charged with an offense, the facts given in evidence amount in law to a greater offense than the one charged, such person shall not by reason thereof be acquitted, but the court, in its discretion, may allow a nolle prosequi to be entered in order that he or she may be prosecuted for the greater offense.
§ 6556. Former acquittal a bar
A person shall not be held to answer on a second complaint, information, or indictment for an offense of which he or she was acquitted by a jury upon the merits on a former trial. Such acquittal may be pleaded in bar of a subsequent prosecution for the same offense, notwithstanding defects in the form or substance of the complaint, information, or indictment on which he or she was acquitted.
§ 6557. Exceptions
When a person is acquitted by reason of a variance between the complaint, information, or indictment and the proof, or upon an exception to the form or substance of the complaint, information, or indictment, he or she may be arraigned again on a new complaint, information, or indictment and may be tried and convicted for the same offense notwithstanding such former acquittal.
§ 6558. Allegation and proof of ownership
In the prosecution of an offense committed upon, or in relation to, or in any way affecting real estate, or an offense committed in stealing, embezzling, injuring, or fraudulently receiving or concealing money or other personal estate, it shall be sufficient and not deemed a variance if it is proved on trial that, at the time when the offense was committed, the actual or constructive possession, or the general or special property in whole or in part of such real or personal estate was in the person alleged in the complaint, information, or indictment to be the owner thereof.
§ 6559. Allegation and proof of intent to defraud
When an intent to defraud is required to constitute a criminal offense, it shall be sufficient to allege in the complaint, information, or indictment an intent to defraud, without naming the person or body corporate intended to be defrauded. On trial it shall be sufficient and shall not be deemed a variance if there appears to have been an intent to defraud the United States, a state, county, town, city, district, a body corporate, a public officer in his or her official capacity, a partnership or members thereof, or a person.
§ 6560. Truth as defense in prosecution for libel or defamation
If a person is prosecuted by information or indictment for uttering and publishing a libel or for defaming the civil authority of the State, under a plea of not guilty, he or she may give evidence as to the truth of the words contained in such supposed libel, as set forth in the information or indictment. If he or she proves their truth to the satisfaction of the jury, it shall find the respondent not guilty in its verdict.
§§ 6561-6564. Repealed. 1973, No. 118, § 25, eff. Oct. 1, 1973.
§ 6565. Pleas
(a) In prosecutions for felonies, the State’s Attorney shall place on record in open court the content of the plea agreement, including the offenses charged and the disposition of those charges.
(b) No plea agreement shall be binding upon the court nor shall it limit the court in the judgment and sentence to be imposed. A defendant may not withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere except as provided in Rule 32(d) of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(c)(1) Prior to accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere from a defendant in a criminal proceeding pursuant to Rule 11 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court shall address the defendant personally in open court, informing the defendant and determining that the defendant understands that, if he or she is not a citizen of the United States, admitting to facts sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a crime may have the consequences of deportation or denial of U.S. citizenship.
(2) If the court fails to advise the defendant in accordance with this subsection, and he or she later at any time shows that the plea and conviction may have or has had a negative consequence regarding his or her immigration status, the court, upon the defendant’s motion, shall vacate the judgment and permit the defendant to withdraw the plea or admission and enter a plea of not guilty.
(d) Each State’s Attorney shall submit an annual report to the Office of the Executive Director of the State’s Attorneys, in such form as the Executive Director may require, providing information as to the use of plea agreements. (Added 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; amended 1983, No. 229 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2006; 2017, No. 14, § 1.)
§ 6566. Defense based on victim identity prohibited
In a prosecution or sentencing for any criminal offense, the following shall not be used as a defense to the defendant’s criminal conduct, to establish a finding that the defendant suffered from diminished capacity, to justify the defendant’s use of force against another, or to otherwise mitigate the severity of the offense:
(1) evidence of the defendant’s discovery of, knowledge about, or the potential disclosure of the crime victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, including under circumstances in which the victim made a nonforcible, noncriminal romantic or sexual advance toward the defendant; or
(2) evidence of the defendant’s perception or belief, even if inaccurate, of the gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation of a crime victim. (Added 2021, No. 18, § 1, eff. May 5, 2021.)