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Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The statutes were updated in November, 2018, and contain all actions of the
2018 legislative session.

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Chapter 230: EXPUNGEMENT AND SEALING OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS

  • § 7601. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Court" means the Criminal Division of the Superior Court.

    (2) "Criminal history record" means all information documenting an individual's contact with the criminal justice system, including data regarding identification, arrest or citation, arraignment, judicial disposition, custody, and supervision.

    (3) "Predicate offense" means a criminal offense that can be used to enhance a sentence levied for a later conviction, and includes operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance in violation of 23 V.S.A. § 1201, domestic assault in violation of section 1042 of this title, and stalking in violation of section 1062 of this title. "Predicate offense" shall not include misdemeanor possession of marijuana or a disorderly conduct offense under section 1026 of this title.

    (4) "Qualifying crime" means:

    (A) a misdemeanor offense that is not:

    (i) a listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of this title;

    (ii) an offense involving sexual exploitation of children in violation of chapter 64 of this title;

    (iii) an offense involving violation of a protection order in violation of section 1030 of this title;

    (iv) prostitution as defined in section 2632 of this title, or prohibited conduct under section 2601a of this title; or

    (v) a predicate offense;

    (B) a violation of subsection 3701(a) of this title related to criminal mischief;

    (C) a violation of section 2501 of this title related to grand larceny;

    (D) a violation of section 1201 of this title related to burglary, excluding any burglary into an occupied dwelling, as defined in subdivision 1201(b)(2) of this title; or

    (E) a violation of 18 V.S.A. § 4223 related to fraud or deceit. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 76, § 8; 2015, No. 36, § 1, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 57, § 3; 2017, No. 83, § 161(3).)

  • § 7602. Expungement and sealing of record, postconviction; procedure

    (a)(1) A person may file a petition with the court requesting expungement or sealing of the criminal history record related to the conviction if:

    (A) the person was convicted of a qualifying crime or qualifying crimes arising out of the same incident or occurrence; or

    (B) the person was convicted of an offense for which the underlying conduct is no longer prohibited by law or designated as a criminal offense.

    (2) The State's Attorney or Attorney General shall be the respondent in the matter.

    (3) The court shall grant the petition without hearing if the petitioner and the respondent stipulate to the granting of the petition. The respondent shall file the stipulation with the court, and the court shall issue the petitioner a certificate and provide notice of the order in accordance with this section.

    (b)(1) The court shall grant the petition and order that the criminal history record be expunged pursuant to section 7606 of this title if the following conditions are met:

    (A) At least five years have elapsed since the date on which the person successfully completed the terms and conditions of the sentence for the conviction, or if the person has successfully completed the terms and conditions of an indeterminate term of probation that commenced at least five years previously.

    (B) The person has not been convicted of a crime arising out of a new incident or occurrence since the person was convicted for the qualifying crime.

    (C) Any restitution ordered by the court has been paid in full.

    (D) The court finds that expungement of the criminal history record serves the interests of justice.

    (2) The court shall grant the petition and order that all or part of the criminal history record be sealed pursuant to section 7607 of this title if the conditions of subdivisions (1)(A), (B), and (C) of this subsection are met and the court finds that:

    (A) sealing the criminal history record better serves the interests of justice than expungement; and

    (B) the person committed the qualifying crime after reaching 19 years of age.

    (c)(1) The court shall grant the petition and order that the criminal history record be expunged pursuant to section 7606 of this title if the following conditions are met:

    (A) At least 10 years have elapsed since the date on which the person successfully completed the terms and conditions of the sentence for the conviction.

    (B) The person has not been convicted of a felony arising out of a new incident or occurrence in the last seven years.

    (C) The person has not been convicted of a misdemeanor during the past five years.

    (D) Any restitution ordered by the court for any crime of which the person has been convicted has been paid in full.

    (E) After considering the particular nature of any subsequent offense, the court finds that expungement of the criminal history record for the qualifying crime serves the interests of justice.

    (2) The court shall grant the petition and order that all or part of the criminal history record be sealed pursuant to section 7607 of this title if the conditions of subdivisions (1)(A), (B), (C), and (D) of this subsection are met and the court finds that:

    (A) sealing the criminal history record better serves the interests of justice than expungement; and

    (B) the person committed the qualifying crime after reaching 19 years of age.

    (d) For petitions filed pursuant to subdivision (a)(1)(B) of this section, unless the court finds that expungement would not be in the interests of justice, the court shall grant the petition and order that the criminal history record be expunged in accordance with section 7606 of this title if the following conditions are met:

    (1) The petitioner has completed any sentence or supervision for the offense.

    (2) Any restitution ordered by the court has been paid in full.

    (e) For petitions filed pursuant to subdivision (a)(1)(B) of this section for a conviction for possession of a regulated drug under 18 V.S.A. chapter 84, subchapter 1 in an amount that is no longer prohibited by law or for which criminal sanctions have been removed:

    (1) The petitioner shall bear the burden of establishing that his or her conviction was based on possessing an amount of regulated drug that is no longer prohibited by law or for which criminal sanctions have been removed.

    (2) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the regulated drug specified in the affidavit of probable cause associated with the petitioner's conviction was the amount possessed by the petitioner.

    (f) Prior to granting an expungement or sealing under this section for petitions filed pursuant to subdivision 7601(4)(D) of this title, the court shall make a finding that the conduct underlying the conviction under section 1201 of this title did not constitute a burglary into an occupied dwelling, as defined in subdivision 1201(b)(2) of this title. The petitioner shall bear the burden of establishing this fact. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 36, § 2, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 57, § 4; 2017, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 7603. Expungement and sealing of record, no conviction; procedure

    (a) Unless either party objects in the interests of justice, the court shall issue an order sealing the criminal history record related to the citation or arrest of a person:

    (1) 12 months after the dismissal if:

    (A) the court does not make a determination of probable cause at the time of arraignment or dismisses the charge at the time of arraignment; or

    (B) the charge is dismissed before trial without prejudice; or

    (2) at any time if the prosecuting attorney and the defendant stipulate that the court may grant the petition to seal the record.

    (b) If a party objects to sealing or expunging a record pursuant to this section, the court shall schedule a hearing to determine if sealing or expunging the record serves the interests of justice. The defendant and the prosecuting attorney shall be the only parties in the matter.

    (c), (d) [Repealed.]

    (e) Unless either party objects in the interests of justice, the court shall issue an order expunging a criminal history record related to the citation or arrest of a person:

    (1) not more than 45 days after:

    (A) acquittal if the defendant is acquitted of the charges; or

    (B) dismissal if the charge is dismissed with prejudice before trial;

    (2) at any time if the prosecuting attorney and the defendant stipulate that the court may grant the petition to expunge the record.

    (f) Unless either party objects in the interests of justice, the court shall issue an order to expunge a record sealed pursuant to subsection (a) or (g) of this section after the statute of limitations has expired.

    (g) A person may file a petition with the court requesting sealing or expungement of a criminal history record related to the citation or arrest of the person at any time. The court shall grant the petition and issue an order sealing or expunging the record if it finds that sealing or expunging the record serves the interests of justice.

    (h) The court may expunge any records that were sealed pursuant to this section prior to July 1, 2018 unless the State's Attorney's office that prosecuted the case objects. Thirty days prior to expunging a record pursuant to this subsection, the court shall provide to the State's Attorney's office that prosecuted the case written notice of its intent to expunge the record. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 7604. New charge

    If a person is charged with a criminal offense after he or she has filed a petition for expungement pursuant to this chapter, the court shall not act on the petition until disposition of the new charge. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 7605. Denial of petition

    If a petition for expungement is denied by the court pursuant to this chapter, no further petition shall be brought for at least two years, unless a shorter duration is authorized by the court. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 57, § 5.)

  • § 7606. Effect of expungement

    (a) Upon entry of an expungement order, the order shall be legally effective immediately and the person whose record is expunged shall be treated in all respects as if he or she had never been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for the offense. The court shall issue an order to expunge all records and files related to the arrest, citation, investigation, charge, adjudication of guilt, criminal proceedings, and probation related to the sentence. The court shall issue the person a certificate stating that such person's behavior after the conviction has warranted the issuance of the order and that its effect is to annul the record of arrest, conviction, and sentence. The court shall provide notice of the expungement to the respondent, Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC), the arresting agency, and any other entity that may have a record related to the order to expunge. The VCIC shall provide notice of the expungement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center.

    (b) In any application for employment, license, or civil right or privilege or in an appearance as a witness in any proceeding or hearing, a person may be required to answer questions about a previous criminal history record only with respect to arrests or convictions that have not been expunged.

    (c) Nothing in this section shall affect any right of the person whose record has been expunged to rely on it as a bar to any subsequent proceedings for the same offense.

    (d)(1) The court shall keep a special index of cases that have been expunged together with the expungement order and the certificate issued pursuant to this chapter. The index shall list only the name of the person convicted of the offense, his or her date of birth, the docket number, and the criminal offense that was the subject of the expungement.

    (2) The special index and related documents specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be confidential and shall be physically and electronically segregated in a manner that ensures confidentiality and that limits access to authorized persons.

    (3) Inspection of the expungement order and the certificate may be permitted only upon petition by the person who is the subject of the case. The Administrative Judge may permit special access to the index and the documents for research purposes pursuant to the rules for public access to court records.

    (4) All other court documents in a case that are subject to an expungement order shall be destroyed.

    (5) The Court Administrator shall establish policies for implementing this subsection.

    (e) Upon receiving an inquiry from any person regarding an expunged record, an entity shall respond that "NO RECORD EXISTS."  (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2a, eff. May 25, 2016; 2017, No. 57, § 6; 2017, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2017, No. 201 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

  • § 7607. Effect of sealing

    (a) Upon entry of an order to seal, the order shall be legally effective immediately and the person whose record is sealed shall be treated in all respects as if he or she had never been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for the offense. The court shall issue the person a certificate stating that such person's behavior after the conviction has warranted the issuance of the order and that its effect is to annul the record of arrest, conviction, and sentence. The court shall provide notice of the sealing to the respondent, Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC), the arresting agency, and any other entity that may have a record related to the order to seal. The VCIC shall provide notice of the sealing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center.

    (b) In any application for employment, license, or civil right or privilege or in an appearance as a witness in any proceeding or hearing, a person may be required to answer questions about a previous criminal history record only with respect to arrests or convictions that have not been sealed.

    (c) Notwithstanding a sealing order:

    (1) An entity that possesses a sealed record may continue to use it for any litigation or claim arising out of the same incident or occurrence or involving the same defendant.

    (2) An entity may use the criminal history record sealed in accordance with section 7603 of this title, regarding a person who was cited or arrested, for future criminal investigations or prosecutions without limitation.

    (d) Upon receiving a sealing order, an entity shall:

    (1) seal the investigation or prosecution record;

    (2) enter a copy of the sealing order into the record;

    (3) flag the record as "SEALED" to prevent inadvertent disclosure of sealed information; and

    (4) upon receiving an inquiry from any person regarding a sealed record, respond that "NO RECORD EXISTS."  (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2b, eff. May 25, 2016.)

  • § 7608. Victims

    (a) At the time a petition is filed pursuant to this chapter, the respondent shall give notice of the petition to any victim of the offense who is known to the respondent. The victim shall have the right to offer the respondent a statement prior to any stipulation or to offer the court a statement. The disposition of the petition shall not be unnecessarily delayed pending receipt of a victim's statement. The respondent's inability to locate a victim after a reasonable effort has been made shall not be a bar to granting a petition.

    (b) As used in this section, "reasonable effort" means attempting to contact the victim by first-class mail at the victim's last known address and by telephone at the victim's last known phone number. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 7609. Expungement of criminal history records of an individual 18-21 years of age

    (a) Procedure. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the record of the criminal proceedings for an individual who was 18-21 years of age at the time the individual committed a qualifying crime shall be expunged within 30 days after the date on which the individual successfully completed the terms and conditions of the sentence for the conviction of the qualifying crime, absent a finding of good cause by the court. The court shall issue an order to expunge all records and files related to the arrest, citation, investigation, charge, adjudication of guilt, criminal proceedings, and probation related to the sentence. A copy of the order shall be sent to each agency, department, or official named in the order. Thereafter, the court, law enforcement officers, agencies, and departments shall reply to any request for information that no record exists with respect to such individual. Notwithstanding this subsection, the record shall not be expunged until restitution has been paid in full.

    (b) Exceptions.

    (1) A criminal record that includes both qualifying and nonqualifying offenses shall not be eligible for expungement pursuant to this section.

    (2) The Vermont Crime Information Center shall retain a special index of sentences for sex offenses that require registration pursuant to chapter 167, subchapter 3 of this title. This index shall only list the name and date of birth of the subject of the expunged files and records, the offense for which the subject was convicted, and the docket number of the proceeding that was the subject of the expungement. The special index shall be confidential and shall be accessed only by the Director of the Vermont Crime Information Center and an individual designated for the purpose of providing information to the Department of Corrections in the preparation of a presentence investigation in accordance with 28 V.S.A. §§ 204 and 204a.

    (c) Petitions. An individual who was 18-21 years of age at the time the individual committed a qualifying crime may file a petition with the court requesting expungement of the criminal history record related to the qualifying crime after 30 days have elapsed since the individual completed the terms and conditions for the sentence for the qualifying crime. The court shall grant the petition and issue an order sealing or expunging the record if it finds that sealing or expunging the record serves the interests of justice. (Added 2017, No. 201 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)