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If you have been charged recently with a criminal offence as the state level such as DUI or domestic violence, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about what will happen next, who you can find to listen to your side of the events, what your legal rights are, and - most importantly - how this unfortunate incident will affect your personal life, your job and your family.
All of these things will be answered when you hire an attorney. The sooner you speak with a qualified lawyer, the sooner you will be able to reduce the effects of the charges against you and take action to help avoid legal mistakes. You need to quickly consult with a Vermont criminal lawyer who has a proven history of defending cases that are similar to yours. You do of course have the right to remain silent until you have sought counsel and the sooner you meet with a potential attorney, the better off you will be. Bear in mind that not everyone who has been charged with a state offense has been found guilty. When you partner with a criminal lawyer, they will be able to protect you and your family throughout this time and give you information on what your various options and legal rights are. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation the first time you meet, so you will be able to get some of this advice up front.
Are You In Need of Trusted Defense for Criminal Charges?
Our criminal attorneys have expertise in a wide variety of criminal offenses from solicitation to kidnapping to DUI. We have lawyers who practice in diverse areas: fraud, weapons charges, theft, probation violations, white collar crimes and many more. You need to act quickly. It doesn't matter if you are already facing charges or you suspect that there may be forthcoming repercussions for a past act, the longer you wait around the more difficult it is to build up a good defense. Our Vermont criminal attorneys know this and they also understand how the justice system works, especially at the state level. They will be able to offer sound advice when you come in for your initial meeting.
Build a Strong Defense for DUIs
One of the most common charges that people will face at a state level is the charge of DUI. The consequences of this can vary and can include everything from a night in jail and heavy fine to a suspended driver's license, alcohol education and other penalties.
If you are charged with a DUI, you will need a criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable about state laws and who has experience handling cases like yours. Our Vermont attorneys will help to determine if you qualify as a first offender, how to design your defense, how this can affect parts of your life like your job, and what penalties you may face.
Concentrated on Different Areas of the Law
Our attorneys concentrate in specific areas of the law. They work in these areas as to gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the exact criminal charges you face. They know the state laws that will come into play for your case and they know the most effective strategies to help with your defense. We will be able to match you up with the most qualified lawyer on the team who has the experience needed for your specific case.
What You Should Expect from Your Lawyer
At your first meeting, you will be able to speak with your criminal attorney about the facts of the case. He or she will be able to share their expertise of the law as it applies to your situation. You should always be honest and candid when speaking with your lawyer. They must keep all of your information confidential and will work with your best interest in mind. You should always take your lawyer's advice and be patient as you explore the steps of your case.
A Strong Reputation Counts
Our professional lawyers belong to numerous associations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Their work history is easy to track and all of them have been fully vetted as we want you to have the most competent and reliable attorney working on your behalf.
Choose Attorneys That You Can Trust
How do you figure out which is the most suitable criminal lawyer for you? The right criminal attorney for you is one who will work to provide you with an informed defense. They will build trust with you, work with the highest ethical standards and bring professional confidence into your case.
Our top Vermont lawyers know will advise you on how to handle your personal case and will do so with care and diligence. Avoid mistakes in the near future by finding a lawyer as quickly as possible during this time in order to protect your rights and give yourself peace of mind. Call today and be connected with a reputable criminal attorney.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges in Vermont?
If you are charged with a criminal offense in Vermont, you will probably find it difficult to understand how the criminal laws work and how they apply to your case without the guidance of an experienced Vermont attorney. As written, the criminal laws in Vermont are unique for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the fact that they are somewhat less uniform and structured than those of other states. However, by working with a skilled Vermont criminal defense attorney, you can gain an understanding of the specific criminal laws that pertain to you and be confident of the outcome.
Unlike most states, Vermont does not specifically classify crimes as felonies or misdemeanors. Instead, the Vermont statutes on criminal law list a range of applicable punishments for a given offense based on its degree of severity. For instance, drug possession charges in Vermont are separated into various degrees and the applicable statute lists minimum and maximum sentences for each degree.
However, Vermont does impose certain general rules. Most crimes that would be considered misdemeanors in other states are subject to jail sentences of two years or less in Vermont, and crimes that are typically considered felonies are subject to specified minimum punishments. Even so, the sentencing laws in Vermont can be flexible, and that makes it imperative for a person facing criminal charges to hire a criminal justice attorney in Vermont.
As in other states, a juvenile who is charged with a crime in Vermont is subject to a separate set of standards and sentencing structures from that pertaining to adults. If your child or another juvenile has been charged with a criminal offense, it is best to contact one of the skilled Vermont juvenile lawyers who focus on these cases.
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Five Common Crimes Charged in Vermont
Criminal Lawyer provides the following basic information about some of the most commonly charged crimes in the state, but this information is not necessarily applicable to your specific circumstances. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding criminal charges in Vermont, it is best to seek the advice of Vermont criminal defense attorneys or federal defense lawyers in Vermont.
Under Vermont law, the term “assault” refers to any attempt, threat, or carrying out of physical harm or offensive conduct. Rather than divide these actions into separate crimes of assault and battery, as is commonly done in other states, Vermont simply applies heightened charges to assaults involving aggravated circumstances. The two types of assault recognized in this state are called simple assault and aggravated assault.
The less serious assault, referred to as simple assault, occurs when a person:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly attempts to cause bodily harm to a victim
- Negligently causes bodily harm with a deadly weapon
- Attempts to cause the victim fear of imminent bodily harm
A conviction for simple assault carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. The only exception to this maximum punishment takes effect if the assault occurs during a mutual fight. In such cases, the maximum sentence cannot exceed 60 days.
The more serious charge – aggravated assault – is punishable by a maximum 15-year prison sentence and/or $10,000 fine. Aggravated assault is said to have occurred when a person:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to the victim due to actions that exhibit an extreme indifference to human life
- Intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury with a deadly weapon
Aggravated assault is punishable by a maximum five years in jail and/or a fine of $5,000 when the actor:
- Intentionally causes unconsciousness or impairment by use of a controlled substance or other drug, except as required for a medical procedure or therapy
- Causes bodily injury while attempting to avoid arrest or otherwise prevent a police officer from performing official duties
- Is armed with a deadly weapon and threatens to use such weapon on the victim
Sexual assault and other sexual offenses fall under a separate statute in Vermont. Because this statute and the information surrounding sexual offenses is addressed separately from other types of assault and battery, it is helpful for those accused of such actions to engage rape or sexual assault attorneys in Vermont.
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Across the United States, criminal law refers to the act of stealing the property of another person as either larceny or theft. In Vermont, this offense is called larceny. Specifically in Vermont, larceny is defined as stealing money or other property of value from another person. Whereas other states impart a specific intent to these actions, Vermont imposes intent through use of the word “steal,” which would implies an intent on the part of the taker to keep the property permanently, although the larceny statute does not specify this meaning.
Vermont law contemplates three larceny charges. Under any circumstances, larceny of property valued at less than $900 is referred to as petit larceny. This offense is punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail, which is similar to that imposed for misdemeanor larceny in other states.
Larceny of property valued over $900 is called grand larceny, except when the property is stolen from the person of the victim. This offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as is common for felony larceny in other states.
In addition to petit larceny and grand larceny, Vermont also recognizes a specific criminal offense called larceny from the person. This offense is distinguished from robbery because force or threat is used in stealing the property, but it is a form of larceny in which property is taken from the body of, or directly from the custody of, the victim. This action may be taken either with or without the knowledge of the victim, but as an illegal act, without consent. Larceny from the person is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $500.
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As in all other states, Vermont law considers it illegal for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while he or she is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Commonly called just DUI, the charge is based on an individual being found to be under the influence as determined by measuring the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your BAC measures at or above 0.08% by a breathalyzer or other applicable chemical test, then you can be charged with DUI.
Vermont law includes two major exceptions to the 0.08% legal limit. First, the legal limit for individuals under the age of 21 is 0.02%. Second, operators of commercial vehicles have a legal limit of 0.04%.
Vermont, like most states, has established a rigorous schedule detailing penalties for DUI based on whether the individual has any prior DUI convictions:
- First-time offender: maximum sentence of two years and/or a fine of up to $750
- Second-time offender: maximum sentence of two years and/or a fine of up to $1,500
- Third-time offender: maximum sentence of five years and/or a fine of up to $2,500
- Fourth-time offender: maximum sentence of 10 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000
In addition to the criminal punishments for DUI listed above, Vermont also imposes substantial administrative penalties for a conviction of DUI. Additionally, Vermont also makes it illegal for a driver to refuse a chemical test for either alcohol or controlled substances.
A chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, must be administered by the police according to specific processes and protocols, but the opportunity to argue that this process was not followed and that the rights of the driver were compromised is to be submitted in defense of DUI charges – not after an arrest. If you are charged with refusing a DUI-related chemical test, it would be wise for you to seek advice from one of our Vermont DWI attorneys or drug defense attorneys in Vermont to help you with your case.
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Vermont has a separate, stand-alone statute that criminalizes instances of domestic abuse or domestic violence. Specifically, these actions are referred to as domestic assault. Domestic assault is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to a family member or any member of the same household. Additionally, a charge of domestic assault can be brought if the defendant intentionally causes a family member or member of the same household to fear imminent bodily harm.
Both of these actions – whether actual harm or merely the threat of it occurs – are criminal charges for which a convicted person is subject to a maximum jail sentence of 18 months and/or a fine of up to $5,000. It is also common for a judge to issue a protective order in favor of the victim following a conviction for domestic assault or similar domestic violence that includes stalking, kidnapping, or other seriously threatening conduct.
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Murder is the most severe crime in Vermont. As such, it is the criminal offense for which a person who is convicted will be subjected to the most substantial punishment handed down in the state. Murder is viewed as the most heinous of all criminal offenses. Vermont law addresses two degrees of murder – murder in the second degree and murder in the first degree, which is also called aggravated murder.
Unless aggravating circumstances exist which raise the charge to murder in the first degree, most murder cases in Vermont are charged as murder in the second degree. However, it is important to remember that, under Vermont law, the crime of murder is defined differently than the crime of homicide. While the term “homicide” is applicable to any unlawful killing that occurs in the State of Vermont, the designation of murder applies only to those killings which are committed with the intention to kill the victim.
Additionally, Vermont recognizes two degrees of murder – first degree and second degree. The difference between these two degrees of what is essentially the same offense is based on the way the crime is committed. If the defendant carried out a murder through deliberate and premeditated means – such as poisoning or lying in wait – the charge would be first-degree murder. It is also murder in the first degree if the act is committed during the commission of certain other specific felonies. These include arson, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, and burglary.
Vermont has established specific punishments for both first- and second-degree murder. Murder in the first degree can be punished by a sentence of not less than 35 years in prison and as much as life in prison without parole. Murder in the second degree is punishable by not less than 20 years in prison, and the sentence may extend to life in prison without parole. However, there is also the potential for charges of aggravated murder.
Murder in the first or second degree rises to the level of aggravated murder in Vermont if:
- The defendant was already in custody or prison for murder or aggravated murder
- The defendant was already charged with murder or aggravated murder
- The defendant had previously committed another murder in the same incident as the current murder charge
- At the time of the murder, the defendant knowingly placed individuals other than the victim at risk of death
- The murder was committed to avoid arrest or to effectuate escape from a police officer
- It was murder for hire or murder in return or payment
- The defendant knew, or should have known, the victim was a correctional officer carrying out his or her official duties
- The murder occurred during a sexual assault or an attempt to commit a sexual assault on the victim
Aggravated murder must be punished by a term of life in prison. The statute in Vermont specifically states that no other sentence is allowed.
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Each Vermont criminal defense lawyer who is a member of Criminal Lawyer is prepared to defend a variety of crimes in Vermont. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state. It extends to defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against such serious charges as murder, or a less severe misdemeanor such as possession of a controlled substance, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
The experience and skill of your attorney could make the difference between your freedom and a substantial sentence in jail. Vermont criminal law is specific to this state, and only criminal lawyers who have practiced here and represented clients against similar charges can fully understand how Vermont law is applied and build a successful defense for you. Given that your freedom, future, and finances are at risk, why would you even consider entrusting your defense to any other lawyer?
Many defendants in Vermont are uncertain when they first attempt to find a lawyer who has the requisite skills and experience needed for their defense.
If you don’t know where to turn for defense against criminal charges in Vermont, turn to us.
[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]