Felonies in Vermont are crimes punishable by more than two years in state prison or the death penalty. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 1.)
Less serious crimes (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to two years in jail.
For more information on misdemeanors in Vermont, see Vermont Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
In most states, lawmakers designate each felony by class (such as “Class A felony” or “level 1 felony”) and each class has its own sentence or range of sentences. Vermont’s lawmakers do not follow this practice, but instead designate crimes as felonies and fix sentences on a crime-by-crime basis.
The most serious crimes in Vermont are punishable by life in prison or death (for murder only).
Aggravated sexual assaults, which are sexual assaults that cause serious injury or against children, are punishable by ten years’ to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
For more information on sex crimes in Vermont and their penalties, see Vermont Sexual Battery Laws.
Possession of ten to 50 pounds of marijuana is another example of a felony in Vermont. It is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. For more information on this and related crimes, see Vermont Marijuana Laws.
A statute of limitations is a time period during which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the defendant can have the case dismissed. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed. In Vermont, more serious crimes have longer statutes of limitations and some crimes, such as murder, sex crimes against children, and arson, have no statutes of limitations.
For more information, see Vermont Criminal Statute of Limitations.
A felony conviction in Vermont has serious consequences above and beyond the time in prison or fine. Felony convictions can make it difficult to be hired for a job, obtain a professional license, or qualify for certain government benefits. Talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected as you navigate the criminal justice system.