Criminal Law in Vermont
Regardless of whether you're guilty or innocent, if you are being questioned in connection with a Vermont crime, it's imperative that you seek legal representation immediately. A qualified Vermont criminal defense attorney is the key to a full, robust, and strategic defense.
In this article (which is based upon Vermont criminal law), we'll discuss:
- Vermont specific criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Vermont; and
- How to work with your Vermont criminal defense attorney.
Vermont Criminal Laws
Vermont criminal laws are found in the Vermont Criminal Code - Title 13 of the Vermont Statutes.
There are hundreds of crimes listed in the Vermont Penal Code, including animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, drunk driving, assault, indecent exposure, prostitution, child pornography, forgery, identity theft, stalking, arson, manslaughter, murder, child abuse, and domestic abuse.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred.
For example, in Vermont, the statute of limitations for:
- Theft is 6 or 3 years, depending on the facts of the case (13 Vt. Stat. В§ 4501(b) or (e)).
- Robbery is 6 years (13 Vt. Stat. В§ 4501(b)).
- Disorderly Conduct is 3 years (13 Vt. Stat. В§ 4501(e)).
Your defense lawyer will know the statute of limitations for your case.
Vermont judges have full discretion in doling out punishment after conviction because Vermont does not having sentencing guidelines.
Depending on the facts in a criminal case, the judge may choose to jail, fines, restitution, community service, education, counseling, probation, or driver's license suspension. Vermont does not have the death penalty; it was abolished in 1964.
Though it's challenging to predict with sentencing guidelines, your defense lawyer will be able to explain possible punishments associated with the charges against you.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
If you are being questioned about or have been arrested for a crime in Vermont, your future may be at risk. This is what you need to do:
- Call Vermont criminal defense lawyer, immediately. It's okay to call 24/7/365.
- When your lawyer asks you what happened, answer honestly and completely. This is the only way your attorney and formulate an appropriate defense.
- Your conversations with your defense attorney are confidential.
- Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney.
How to Work with a Vermont Criminal Defense Lawyer
You need to be an active partner in your own defense. Your attorney can't help you if you won't help yourself. This means that you must:
- Always heed your lawyer's advice.
- Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened.
- Respond to law firm phone calls, emails, or letters immediately.
- Provide all requested information.
- Stay in contact with your attorney and update your attorney's office if your phone number, email, or address changes.
- Remember that it is in your best interest for your attorney to question you; perhaps even challenge you, even if it feels as though he or she is giving you a hard time.
- Remember it is in your best interest for your attorney to be polite and cooperate with witnesses, the victim, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor.
Bottom Line: If you are facing any type of criminal charge in Vermont, immediately talk to a criminal defense attorney. The stakes are too high to move forward without professional legal representation.
To find a lawyer, search our site, www.attorneys.org, or ask the bar association or friends for referrals for a Vermont criminal defense attorney.