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.
§ 7607. Effect of sealing
(a) Order and notice. 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 the person had never been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for the offense 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, the Restitution Unit of the Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services, 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.
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section, upon entry of a sealing order, 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.
(2) 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.
(3) The response to an inquiry from any member of the public regarding a sealed record shall be that “NO CRIMINAL RECORD EXISTS.”
(c) Exceptions. Notwithstanding any other provision of law or 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) A criminal justice agency as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a may use the criminal history record sealed in accordance with section 7602 or 7603 of this title without limitation for criminal justice purposes as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a. A sealed record of a prior violation of 23 V.S.A. § 1201(a) shall be admissible as a predicate offense for the purpose of imposing an enhanced penalty for a subsequent violation of that section, in accordance with the provisions of 23 V.S.A. § 1210.
(1) The court shall bar viewing of the sealed offense in any accessible database that it maintains.
(2) Until all charges on a docket have been sealed, the case file shall remain publicly accessible.
(3) When all charges on a docket have been sealed, the case file shall become exempt from public access.
(e) Special index.
(1) The court shall keep a special index of cases that have been sealed together with the sealing order. 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 sealing.
(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) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, inspection of the sealing order may be permitted only upon petition by the person who is the subject of the case. The Chief Superior 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) The Court Administrator shall establish policies for implementing this subsection.
(f) Upon request, the Victim’s Compensation Program shall be provided with a copy, redacted of all information identifying the offender, of the affidavit for the sole purpose of verifying the expenses in a victim’s compensation application submitted pursuant to section 5353 of this title.
(g) The sealing of a criminal record shall not affect the authority of the Restitution Unit to enforce a restitution order in the same manner as a civil judgment pursuant to subdivision 5362(c)(2) of this title. (Added 2011, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2b, eff. May 25, 2016; 2019, No. 32, § 6; 2021, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 5a, eff. May 31, 2022.)