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What Are The Differences Between Federal Crimes And Vermont State Crimes?

When an individual commits an offense, the court may deem such a violation as a federal or state crime depending on several criteria. Essentially, federal crimes are those acts that are punishable under the federal penal code. The United States federal law regards federal crimes as borderless, and the responsibilities of investigating and prosecuting these crimes fall on one or more federal agencies. Some of these agencies are the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also, officials of the federal judiciary are responsible for the trial and conviction of offenders. Common examples of federal crimes include:

  • Aircraft hijacking
  • Bank robbery
  • Child pornography
  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Computer crimes
  • Tax evasion
  • Counterfeiting
  • Violations of the espionage act
  • Violations of the patriot act
  • Illegal wiretapping
  • Damaging or destroying federal property
  • Electoral fraud

On the other hand, Vermont state crimes are offenses that occur within the state’s jurisdiction or borders. In this case, Vermont’s law enforcement agencies are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. Depending on the nature of the crime, this responsibility may fall on the Vermont State Police, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Vermont Homeland Security Unit, etc. Likewise, officials of the state or local judiciary are responsible for the trial and conviction of offenders.

Common examples of Vermont state crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Arson
  • Traffic Violations

How Does the Vermont Court System Differ From the Federal Court System?

While the Federal criminal court system and the Vermont criminal court system share some similarities in modus operandi, both legal systems are different. For starters, federal criminal courts operate by following the federal criminal procedure. In the same vein, federal judges whom the U.S. Senate appoints for a lifetime staff federal courts, or U.S. District Courts. Furthermore, the Assistant U.S. Attorney, commonly known as a Federal Prosecutor, has the duty of prosecuting federal crimes in these courts. The U.S. Attorney General appoints a Federal Prosecutor to each District Court in a state.

On the other hand, the Vermont criminal court system operates under the Vermont Criminal Procedure. Unlike Federal Prosecutors who are appointed to a District Court, State Attorneys are elected officials who oversee the prosecution of criminal charges in the Superior Court of the county where the crime occurred.

How Many Federal Courts Are There In Vermont?

The state of Vermont has one district court, The U.S. District Court of Vermont. The District Court has two locations:

U.S. District Court - Burlington (headquarters)

11 Elmwood Avenue, Room 200

Burlington, VT 05401

Phone: (802) 951–6301

U.S. District Court - Rutland

151 West Street, Room 204

Rutland, VT 05701

Phone: (802) 773–0245

Are Federal Cases Public Records?

Yes, but it depends. While the Freedom of Information Act of 1967 empowers public members to view and access federal court records, the act exempts individual court records. Such documents contain sensitive information, government secrets, information related to national security, trade secrets, financial information deemed confidential, personal medical records, and information protected under attorney-client privilege. Individuals should direct all federal court record requests to the Clerk of District Court where the case was filed.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Find Federal Court Records Online in Vermont

Finding federal court records in Vermont is done via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). For the average Joe, using PACER may seem daunting at first, but it is possible. The electronic public access service provides systematic instructions and answers questions regarding its FAQ page difficulties or challenges. Furthermore, the requester will have to pay a small fee for accessing court records on the centralized repository. PACER maintains a comprehensive fee schedule. Generally, the system charges a non-refundable fee of $30.00 per search and $0.10 per page of an electronic document. Requesters may also print search results of documents accessed.

To find Vermont Federal Court records on PACER:

  • Create an account
  • Log in to Vermont’s Document Filing System
  • Use case information to find the specific court record

What information can I find by using PACER?

By using PACER, the requester can access the following non-confidential information on a federal criminal case:

  • The names of all the defendant(s) and their attorney
  • Names of the prosecutor and court officials involved
  • Case-related information, e.g., nature of the crime
  • Docket listing for the case events by date
  • Transcript of court proceedings
  • Court opinions
  • Case status and final judgments
  • Documents filed
  • Images of exhibits

A PACER query will only return all information and documents that have been uploaded or filed in the system. The search result will not produce any document or material that the court did not generate, file, or submit into evidence. Likewise, the requester must note that filed records only become available on PACER after the record custodian uploads them. The time for this varies from court to court.

How To Find Federal Court Records In Vermont?

Interested individuals who wish to obtain copies of federal court records, must contact the Records Department of the federal courthouse that handled the case from filing to conviction. If the record has not been sealed by court order or statute, the custodian will grant access to such records. However, the Vermont U.S. District Court requires that requesters provide essential information to facilitate the search and cover the cost of copying and certify any record of interest.

For hard copies of records, the Vermont U.S. District Court maintains a fee schedule for obtaining a court record. Generally, there is a search fee of $31.00 per record, an $11.00 fee covers certification of original documents. Furthermore, retrieving an archived record from the Federal Records Center costs $64.00 per record and $39.00 for each additional box or file. Reproducing uncertified copies of a document costs $0.50 per page.

To request a criminal record from the National Archives and Records Administration, the requester must complete a criminal case order form. Enclose a check or money order for the appropriate amount and a government-issued photo ID, in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Send the completed form to:

NARA, Northeast Region—Boston, Research Room

380 Trapelo Road

Waltham, MA 02452–6399

Phone: 781–663–0378

Fax: 781–663–0155


Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed In Vermont?

Yes, but the individual must meet requirements under the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48. Generally, the presiding judge will dismiss a case if the defendant is found not guilty during the lawsuit. Bear in mind that a dismissal is not equivalent to a cleared record. The criminal charges will remain on the offender’s criminal record. In addition to acquittal, the court will dismiss a case if the prosecution failed to file the charges with a time limitation, did not present corroborating evidence, or bring the defendant to trial.

How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record in Vermont?

Clearing a federal criminal record can be quite complicated due to the nuances of Federal laws. While an individual can complete the process without legal aid, the individual may consult their defense attorney to ensure proper clearing.

Generally, federal criminal records may be sealed or expunged. The record will be removed from public access and restricted to a few government agencies in the former. On the other hand, expunging is the total obliteration or destruction of the record. In Vermont, federal crimes’ convictions cannot be expunged except for juvenile drug possession under the Federal First Offender Act § 3607. Likewise, certain juvenile crimes may also be sealed or expunged if the offense meets the criteria under section 5038 of the U.S. Code. Successfully sealed or expunged records will not show up on a criminal background check.

To initiate the process, visit the Clerk of District Court’s office and inquire about the procedure, forms, and requirements for filing a motion to seal. If the individual meets requirements and their case is eligible, they must submit the District Court petition. Generally, the presiding federal judge will weigh the requester’s privacy concerns against the public’s right to access the said record.

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