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What are Vermont Juvenile Court Records?

Vermont Juvenile Court Records are legal logs of documentation pertaining to a juvenile that enters the juvenile court system either by misconduct, delinquency or vulnerability. Misconduct and delinquency cases make the juvenile a defendant, while vulnerability category treats the child as the plaintiff. The Vermont Statutes Online provide the legal foundation for juvenile court process in the state. These laws define crime and other legal terms a little different from the adult criminal code. There is a system of rehabilitation and support that aims to help correct behavioral misconduct, rather than face the penalty for their actions.

What Information is Contained in a Vermont Juvenile Record?

A Vermont Juvenile Record contains the facts of the case. A case may be that of protecting the child or adjudicating misconduct. All records must bear an identification code that distinguishes the record from others without the mention of the names of involved parties. The contents of the record must contain basic identifying information about the juvenile such as names, address, educational record, the type of case, the county of filing, the year of filing. The record should contain documentations of the official activities of the state pertaining to the case, some of which are:

  • Court administrative filing information
  • Warrants and law enforcement reports such as fingerprints
  • Transcribed copies of court proceedings
  • Court dispositions and orders
  • Information about assigned probation officers
  • Fee assessments, fines, and restitution
  • Receipts of payments
  • Written layout of rehabilitation programs
  • Notes and updates to and from the Department of Children and Families

What Cases are Heard by Vermont Juvenile Courts?

Some of the commonly encountered cases in Vermont Juvenile Courts border on child protection or addressing misconduct in a child:

  • Abuse and neglect cases
  • Petitions for protection orders
  • Children in Need of Supervision: involves addresses issues of truancy and lack of control in children
  • Petitions for termination of parental rights
  • Child support: arising from divorce and other cases
  • Relief from abuse: there may be a need to relieve a child from abusive relationships
  • Adoptions/ Guardianships: adoptions may be transacted in the law court either by individuals, or agencies (foster homes)
  • Delinquency: the laws define as wrongdoing by a juvenile which interprets as a crime or felony in the adult criminal setting.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Vermont?

Juvenile Records are not open to public inspection or copying by statute. Some entities can access these records without an application:

  • Juvenile’s parents or legal guardian
  • Representing attorney
  • Guardian ad litem (assigned guardian for the case)
  • Involved prosecuting counsel
  • Law enforcement agents
  • Commissioner for Corrections and authorized officers of the agency
  • Authorized court staff
  • Probation officers
  • Victims of the crime incident and their family members

How to Find Juvenile Records in Vermont

Juvenile records in Vermont are available at the agency of filing, or at the officially approved repositories in the state. The Juvenile Courts, for example, are custodians of juvenile court records. Arrest and records of juveniles are also available at the local or state agencies that facilitated the arrest. Part of the information regarding these cases gets forwarded to the Department of Children and Families in the state. This makes the agency a repository of information. If a child has to go in confinement, the center will get a referral from the court authorities and generate a record as it pertains to the case. In other words, the type of record sought determines where to look for information, Arrest records are available at the local and state law enforcement agencies where applicable. Courts records are available at the local courthouse that received filing for the case. Detention records will be present at the detention facility of interest. The same applies for probation information: at the Department of Children and Families, etc. the following information is necessary to get a juvenile record:

  • The type of record
  • Case information number
  • Date of filing (or at least the year, and county)
  • Names of the involved party

Persons outside the eligibility list must prepare to submit a court order along with the request and a clear copy of their photo ID. Most requests come in as written requests for documentation. The contents of the request must clearly state the type of record, the reason for the request, the supporting state statute, and contact details of the requester.

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 record. 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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

Can You Lookup Vermont Juvenile Records Online?

No. Vermont Juvenile Records are not available online. Interested parties must visit the local courthouse that has custody of the record to view or copy them. Availability of a juvenile record online is upon the discretion of the court authorities if there is a need to alert the community about a defendant juvenile for the sake of safety.

Do Vermont Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

The Vermont Crime Information Center, Department of Public Safety, receives and maintains criminal history records in the state. The Center does not provide information about juvenile convictions, unless the case faced prosecution in an adult court of law. Also, arrests that did not result in a conviction will not be available online. Serious Driving Convictions such as a DUII may show up online until the individual attains the age of majority.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Vermont?

Juvenile records remain in the custody of custodian agencies until the named party clocks 18 years. Then the authorities move to expunge all records pertaining to the case. All adjudications before this time go under a seal 2 years after the final court disposition. If the State’s attorney moves a motion otherwise, there may be a delay in sealing the record. Some offenses by Vermont law do not qualify for sealing or expungement:

  • Delinquent adjudications
  • First degree categorized crimes: rapes, murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, etc
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Offenses against a minor
  • Sex offenses

The court or the child can file a motion to seal a record. The laws of the state impose that the court provide assistance to persons wishing to take this step.

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