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ACT NO. 167


Operating with license suspended;

court procedures; assistant judges; interpreters for persons

with limited English proficiency; picketing at funerals

This act addresses a number of different topics related to motor vehicles and court procedures.

The act recriminalizes operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license under certain circumstances. Under prior law, such offenses were civil violations prosecuted in the judicial bureau. The act makes the offense criminal if it is committed for the sixth or subsequent time and if the five prior offenses occurred after July 1, 2003. The act permits an enforcement officer to remove the license plates from any vehicle which is operated by a person with a suspended license and authorizes the judicial bureau to institute civil contempt proceedings against a person who has failed to pay a fine imposed for a traffic violation.

The act provides all assistant judges with jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving civil ordinance and traffic violations, both in the county where the assistant judge presides and in other counties. The act also provides assistant judges in Bennington County with jurisdiction to hear small claims cases.

This act prohibits an interpreter from disclosing or testifying about: (1) a communication made to the interpreter while he or she is acting as an interpreter for a person with limited English proficiency; or (2) any information obtained by the interpreter while acting in his or her capacity as an interpreter for a person with limited English proficiency. The prohibition on disclosure does not apply if the services of the interpreter were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit what the person with limited English proficiency knew or reasonably should have known to be a crime or fraud. A person with limited English proficiency is defined as a person who does not speak English as his or her primary language and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.

The act makes it a misdemeanor offense for a person to disturb or attempt to disturb a funeral service by engaging in picketing within 100 feet of the service within one hour prior to and two hours following the publicly announced time of the commencement of the service. A funeral service is defined as the ceremonies, rituals, and memorial services held at a church, mortuary, cemetery, or home in connection with the burial or cremation of a dead person.

Effective Date: May 20, 2006, except for sections 3, 4, and 5, related to remedies for failure to pay fines imposed for traffic violations, which take effect on September 1, 2006.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont