In Vermont, public access to juvenile records is restricted, though certain individuals and state agencies are permitted to view them. To ensure maximum confidentiality, you may want to seal your record, following the guidelines below. A sealed record may be viewed only by court order under very limited circumstances. Generally, sealed juvenile records are treated as though they never existed. You are not required to disclose information about your sealed juvenile record to anyone -- for instance, to colleges or potential employers.
Does Your Juvenile Record Qualify for Sealing?
If you are not a repeat offender, you can request that your juvenile record be sealed. How your record is handled usually depends on the date of the juvenile proceeding.
If you were adjudicated delinquent on or after July 1, 1996. Your record will be automatically sealed two years after the end of your case, unless you were subsequently adjudicated delinquent for or convicted of certain serious crimes, or such charges are pending against you. In addition, the court may refuse to seal your record if it finds that you have not been sufficiently rehabilitated, or if the state attorney can show a good reason why your record should not be sealed.
If you were adjudicated delinquent before July 1, 1996. Your record will not be automatically sealed. Instead, you must file a petition asking the court to seal your record. The limits described just above also apply to requests to seal records under this provision.
If you were charged on or after July 1, 2006, your case was dismissed, and you have not yet reached the age of majority. Your record will be automatically sealed.
Records for crimes committed before the age of 21. If you pleaded guilty to or were convicted of a crime before the age of 21 -- in adult criminal court, for example -- you may ask the court to seal your record. The court will grant your request unless you were subsequently adjudicated delinquent for or convicted of certain serious crimes, or such charges are pending against you. In addition, the court may refuse to seal your record if it finds that you have not been sufficiently rehabilitated.
(33 Vermont Statutes Annotated § 5119.)
How to File
To seal your juvenile court record, you must file a petition with the court in the county where your case was handled. For more information, contact the court clerk’s office.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing in Vermont -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork or presenting your case to the court -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.