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What are Vermont Traffic Court Records?
Vermont traffic court records are records of the proceedings of the traffic court in the state of Vermont. This may include legal documents, evidence notes and all other public records, created as a result of the court proceedings.
Are Vermont Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Traffic Court records in Vermont are considered to be public records, as they are records created in a “court of public record”. Records created in “courts of public record” are classified as public records and available to be accessed and viewed by members of the public under the public access to information law.
Which Courts in Vermont have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
Traffic violation matters are heard by the Judicial Bureau of the Superior Court, in Vermont. The Judicial Bureau has statewide jurisdiction over civil violations including traffic violations and municipal ordinance violations.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Vermont
A Vermont traffic ticket or Vermont Civil Violation Complaint is a document issued for the citation of traffic offenses, by a law enforcement officer, in the state of Vermont. It portrays the sworn attestation of the officer regarding the violation, which was observed. The officer will fill out the ticket before issuing a copy to the defendant. The defendant is expected to provide the information to the officer when necessary. The ticket will contain:
- Defendant’s full name and address and other vital bio-data.
- The details about the defendant’s driving license
- Information about the vehicle involved in the incident
- Where and when the alleged violation/offense occurred including time, date and location.
- Details of the offense committed with the Vermont statute section and violation code.
- The fine amount liable if the defendant admits or pleads no contest to charge (waiver fee).
- Depending on the offense being cited for a mandatory court appearance may be required and if so this will be noted.
- Location of the court with jurisdiction over the complaint.
The back of the ticket will contain information about responding to the complaint. Vermont traffic tickets are dictated by the type, and degree, of the offense, committed. They vary by nature of the violation but are uniform across the state for specific violations. Vermont traffic tickets must be responded to within 21 days of the defendant receiving the ticket. A failure to do so will result in additional penalties including a late fee of $20 and the possible suspension of driving privileges. Traffic violations, in Vermont, can be infractions or crimes; infractions are civil violations that result in fines and crimes are typically misdemeanors which are punishable by fines and jail time of fewer than 2 years.
For convictions on major traffic violations, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) assesses demerit points to the defendant’s driving records. Points assessed, vary based on the type of violation. If a driver accumulates 10 or more demerit points on their driving record within 2 years, the driver’s license will be suspended.
Traffic violations are generally differentiated into Moving and Non-Moving violations. Moving violations are major offenses, which are committed by vehicles in motion such as speeding and reckless driving. Non-moving violations are minor offenses, typically committed by vehicles as a consequence of faulty/broken equipment or when the vehicle is not in motion such as parking violations. Convictions for moving violations are reported to the Vermont DMV (and add demerit points to driver’s record), which non-moving violation convictions are not.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Vermont?
Response to a Vermont traffic ticket must be made within 21 days of receiving the ticket. The ticket will contain a fine amount or waiver fee, which is a predetermined amount shown on the front of the ticket. The defendant can choose to Admit, Deny, or plead No Contest to the charges. Admitting the charges and pleading No contest will have the same consequences.
How to Admit Charges
If the defendant chooses to admit the charges or plead no contest and the offense does not require a court appearance, the ticket can be paid online, by mail or in person. Admitting charges indicates a waiver of the defendant’s right to a trial and a waiver penalty is paid to settle the case. Paying the fine will be noted as a conviction and a report will be sent to the Vermont DMV.
Online payments can be made on the Vermont Judicial website. The citation number and a major credit/debit card will be required.
How to Submit a Plea to a Vermont Traffic Ticket
Mail and in-person payments can be made by checking the “Admitted” or “No Contest” option, signing the ticket and delivering it and a money order or check for the total fine amount to:
P.O. Box 607,
White River Junction, VT 05001
Or in-person to the
Vermont Judicial Bureau,
82 Railroad Row,
White River Junction, VT 05001
If the defendant opts to deny the charges; a response must reach the judicial bureau within 21 days. The defendant will check the "Deny" option and sign the ticket before delivering (by mail or in-person) to the Vermont Judicial Bureau. The Judicial Bureau will mail a date, time and location for the hearing to the defendant. At the hearing, the officer who issued the complaint will be the prosecutor and the defendant can hire an attorney; it is always advisable to do so. After the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer will render a verdict. If the defendant is found "Guilty", then the court will administer the sentence and the defendant will be convicted and be liable for all fines and penalties. A report will also be sent to the Vermont DMV. If the defendant is found "Not Guilty", then all charges will be dismissed and the defendant will be freed of all fines and penalties.
If a mandatory court appearance is required then the defendant must appear in court before responding to the charges, irrespective of the nature of the defendant’s plea.
Failure to appear in court will result in a default judgment being rendered against the defendant and a notice will be sent indicating the deadline to pay fine. Failure to meet the deadline will result in additional late fees and the Vermont DMV will be notified of the non-compliance and they can suspend the driver's license until fines are cleared.
How Do I Find Vermont Traffic Court Records?
The Vermont judiciary public portal is a web-based platform that offers customized access to court records. Public users may use the portal to gain limited access to information about cases and hearing. Individuals who require elevated access (for cases in which they are involved) must register as portal users and submit an access request.
Vermont traffic court records are physically stored in the Office of the Clerk of the Judicial Bureau. Records can be requested from the office of the Clerk obtaining a record request form and submitting a request in person or by mail. Requests can be made to view a case file or/and request copies of documents in the case file. Obtaining copies cost $0.25 per page, minimum of $1. There might be other applicable fees depending on the scope of the request.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What Information is Required to Obtain Vermont Traffic Court Records?
To obtain traffic records in Vermont, the requesting party will need to provide valid information about the record including the full name on the record and the case or citation number of the record. The requestor will also need to provide a valid, state-approved ID and make any required payments if copies are required.
Can Vermont Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
In Vermont, a sealed record is still maintained and can be accessed and used by courts and law enforcement agencies. An expunged record is destroyed and all traces are removed from all criminal databases.
Traffic offenses which constitute misdemeanors cannot be sealed or expunged. A DUI record, while being a misdemeanor, can be sealed if there is only one DUI offense. If there are multiple DUI offenses on record, then none of them can be sealed.
Predicate offenses- crimes that can be used to enhance the sentence of another crime such as the negligent operation of a motor vehicle -can not be sealed or expunged unless the crime was committed before the offender was 21.