Contrary to popular belief, an expunged record does not completely disappear. An expunged record, on the other hand, is removed from public view and cannot be accessed. The records are then sealed and can only be opened for specific reasons, such as running for public office or applying for military service in the United States.
Expunged records can be extremely useful when looking for work or housing. Once a person’s records have been sealed or expunged, he or she is no longer legally required to state in writing that he or she was arrested for an offense.
In Vermont, only certain records can be expunged. The records that can be expunged are determined by the law under which they were filed. Under Law 5537, the fingerprints of juvenile offenders who were not convicted of the crime for which they were arrested or delinquents before the age of sixteen can be expunged. Under Vermont Laws 7041 and 5537, all records, including court involvement, files, arrest records, and index records, can be expunged.
Only certain people in Vermont are eligible for expungement. Those who have completed all of the terms of their probations and any deferred sentence agreements after receiving a court discharge fall into this category. According to Vermont Law 7041, this does not apply to sex offenders. After completing disposition orders and rehabilitation, juvenile offenders are eligible for expungement under Section 33 of Vermont Law 5529.
In all adult cases, no conviction must occur after an arrest for any individual to qualify. A record may also be eligible for reversal if a court finding leads to conviction reconsideration, resulting in an individual being found not guilty of the offense. Following a reconsideration, a person’s attorney may petition the court for a criminal record reversal.
When a person is discharged from a crime under 33 Vermont Law 7041, he or she must first pay any outstanding restitution before expungement can occur. Under these circumstances, as well as 22 Vermont Law 529e, record sealing will occur without the need for a court application. Those who are eligible for expungement and whose records have not been automatically sealed must petition the court that holds their records.
Along with filing paperwork, all parties involved in the case, including the prosecuting attorney and the presiding judge, must be notified. Following that, the individual may be granted or denied expungement at a hearing. If an expungement is not found to be in the best interests of the court, record sealing will be denied.
Vermont does not permit convicted offenders to have their records expunged. There are both felony and misdemeanor offenses in this category. If a felony or misdemeanor offense is deferred, an individual may be eligible for expungement if the case was dismissed in court and the terms were completed.
Juvenile felony and misdemeanor offenses can be expunged if the individuals meet all of the requirements. Convictions for driving under the influence cannot be expunged from a person’s record. However, if all requirements are met, juvenile cases of driving under the influence can be sealed.