Introduced by Representatives Helm of Castleton, Darrow of Dummerston, Kainen of Hartford, Milkey of Brattleboro and Young of Orwell
Subject: Crimes and criminal procedures; expungement of criminal records
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to provide a process for the expungement of a criminal record of arrest, conviction, and sentence for certain misdemeanor and felony offenses. A person who complies with all the conditions of his or her sentence and does not commit any subsequent offenses for a specified period of time may petition the court for expungement. The court may order expungement of the record if it finds that expungement is consistent with the public welfare.
AN ACT RELATING TO EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 13 V.S.A. chapter 230 is added to read:
CHAPTER 230. CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT
§ 7600. PROCEDURE
(a) The record of a person’s arrest, conviction, and sentence may be expunged by the sentencing court in response to a petition for expungement brought in accordance with this section if after a hearing it is the opinion of the court that expungement is consistent with the public welfare.
(b) A person whose arrest resulted in a finding of not guilty or whose case was dismissed may petition for expungement of the arrest record at any time.
(c) A person convicted of a crime may petition for expungement of the record of arrest, conviction, and sentence if all of the following criteria are met:
(1) the petitioner has successfully completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence, and at least:
(A) five years have elapsed since the date on which the petitioner completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence, if the offense was a misdemeanor; or
(B) ten years have elapsed since the date on which the petitioner completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence, if the offense was a felony punishable by no more than 15 years; and
(2) the petitioner has not been convicted of a felony punishable by more than 15 years.
(d) If a petition for expungement is denied, no further petition shall be brought for three years.
(e) A conviction for an offense committed under the laws of another state which would not be considered a criminal offense under Vermont law shall not count as a conviction for the purpose of obtaining an expungement under this section.
(f) If prior to disposition by the court of a petition for expungement the petitioner is charged with a criminal offense, the petition shall not be acted upon until disposition of the new charge.
(g) When a petition is brought, the court shall request the criminal record from the Vermont crime information center (VCIC). VCIC may charge a fee of $100.00 for the cost of the record unless the court finds that the petitioner is incapable of gainful employment. The court shall provide the state’s attorney’s office with a copy of the petition for expungement and shall permit the state’s attorney to be heard regarding the interest of justice in regard to the petition.
(h) Upon entry of an expungement order, the person whose record is expunged shall be treated in all respects as if he or she had never been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for such crime except upon conviction of any crime committed after the order of expungement has been entered. The court shall issue the person a certificate stating that such person’s behavior after the conviction has warranted the issuance of the order, and that its effect is to annul the record of arrest, conviction, and sentence. The court shall send a copy of the order to the Vermont crime information center and the arresting agency.
(i) 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 questioned about a previous criminal record only in terms of arrests or convictions that have not been expunged.
(j) Nothing in this section shall affect any right of the person whose record has been expunged to appeal from the conviction or sentence or to rely on it in bar of any subsequent proceedings for the same offense.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street