Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online does not include the actions of the 2024 session of the General Assembly. We expect them to be updated by November 1st.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 13 : Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Chapter 165 : Victims

(Cite as: 13 V.S.A. § 5321)
  • § 5321. Appearance by victim

    (a) The victim of a crime has the following rights in any sentencing proceedings concerning the person convicted of that crime, or in the event a proposed plea agreement filed with the court recommends a deferred sentence, at any change of plea hearing concerning the person charged with committing that crime:

    (1) to be given advance notice by the prosecutor’s office of the date of the proceedings; and

    (2) to appear, personally, to express reasonably his or her views concerning the crime, the person convicted, and the need for restitution.

    (b) The change of plea hearing or sentencing shall not be delayed or voided by reason of the failure to give the victim the required notice or the failure of the victim to appear.

    (c) In accordance with court rules, at the sentencing or change of plea hearing, the court shall ask if the victim is present and, if so, whether the victim would like to be heard regarding sentencing or the proposed deferral of sentencing. In imposing the sentence or considering whether to defer sentencing, the court shall consider any views offered at the hearing by the victim. If the victim is not present, the court shall ask whether the victim has expressed, either orally or in writing, views regarding sentencing or the proposed deferral of sentencing and shall take those views into consideration in imposing the sentence or considering whether to defer sentencing.

    (d) At or before the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor’s office shall instruct the victim of a listed crime, in all cases where the court imposes a sentence that includes a period of incarceration, that a sentence of incarceration is to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections and that the Commissioner of Corrections has the authority to affect the actual time the defendant shall serve in incarceration through earned time credit, furlough, work-release, and other early release programs. In addition, the prosecutor’s office shall explain the significance of a minimum and maximum sentence to the victim, explain the function of parole and how it may affect the actual amount of time the defendant may be incarcerated, and inform the victim of the maximum amount of earned time that the defendant could accrue and that earned time only affects when a defendant is eligible for parole consideration but does not necessarily result in the defendant’s release.

    (e) At or before a change of plea hearing where the plea agreement filed with the court proposes a deferred sentence, the prosecutor’s office shall instruct the victim of a listed crime about the significance of a deferred sentence and the potential consequences of a violation of conditions imposed by the court. In addition, the prosecutor’s office shall consult with the victim concerning any proposed probation conditions prior to the hearing.

    (f) The prosecutor’s office shall use all reasonable efforts to keep the victim informed and consult with the victim throughout the plea agreement negotiation process in any case involving a victim of a listed crime. (Added 1999, No. 4, § 3; amended 2015, No. 5, § 2, eff. April 9, 2015; 2015, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2021, No. 12, § 1, eff. April 26, 2021.)