Criminal Defense FAQs
I was under the influence of alcohol and damaged someone else’s property. Will I be charged with a crime?
It depends on the circumstances, but sometimes you may be charged with Unlawful Mischief or Disorderly Conduct in Vermont if it is alleged that you were under the influence of alcohol and damaged someone’s property. Even if you were not under the influence of alcohol and it is alleged that you damaged someone’s property, you may still be charged with a crime. Contact us today for a free, confidential case consultation.
I was under 21 and received a civil violation for operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of more than .02. What should I do?
Contact an attorney as possible. If you pay the operating under 21 with a BAC above .02 ticket your license or privilege to operate in the State of Vermont may be suspended for six months or more. Additionally, you may have to complete expensive classes, carry financial responsibility insurance and endure other burdensome penalties. We offer free, confidential case consultations and help you decide if it makes sense for you to fight the ticket.
I received a citation for a fake ID in Vermont. Should I just pay the ticket?
If you or your child received a citation for a fake ID in Vermont, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Fake Identification citations can result in the loss of you or your child’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Vermont. Many people do not realize that this is a potential consequence of paying the citation and only realize it once they receive the notice of suspension from the Vermont DMV. If you or your child has received an underage drinking ticket in Vermont contact Burke Law for a free consultation.
I had consensual sex with someone and now they are saying it wasn’t consensual. What should I do?
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Sex Crimes are serious offenses in Vermont. If you had consensual sex with someone and are concerned that individual may claim later that it was not consensual sex it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible. We offer free, confidential case consultations.
I have been charged with a Sex Crime in Vermont. I am worried it will be in the media. What should I do?
Sex Crimes in Vermont receive media attention. The attorneys at Burke Law have experience defending highly publicized Sex Crimes in Vermont. Contact us today for a free, confidential case consultation.
I have been charged with sexual assault in Vermont. What should I expect?
Sexual Assault is a serious charge in Vermont. A conviction for Sexual Assault in Vermont can result in a felony on your record, sex offender registration requirements and a lengthy prison sentence. If you have been charged with Sexual Assault in Vermont contact Burke Law for a free, confidential case consultation. Our attorneys have successfully defended sexual assault charges and will help guide you through this difficult time.
Is Assault & Robbery a serious charge in Vermont?
Yes. Assault and Robbery is a felony in Vermont. According to the Vermont Statutes “a person who assaults another and robs, steals, or takes from his or her person or in his or her presence money or other property that may be the subject of larceny shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years.” The penalties become even more serious if the defendant is alleged to have possessed a deadly weapon during the course of the Assault and Robbery or if someone was injured during the alleged Assault and Robbery.
I have been charged with burglary in Vermont. What does that mean?
The Vermont Statutes define burglary as: “A person is guilty of burglary if he or she enters any building or structure knowing that he or she is not licensed or privileged to do so, with the intent to commit a felony, petit larceny, simple assault, or unlawful mischief.” You can read more about Burglary in Vermont here.
What is Unlawful Mischief?
In Vermont, Unlawful Mischief is defined as a person who, with intent to damage property, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such a right, does any damage to any property. The Unlawful Mischief statute can be found here.
Where do I go to criminal court in Vermont?
The Vermont criminal citation forms do not always tell defendants where the court is that they need to appear at for their arraignment. Typically, Vermont criminal defendants receive one of two forms when they are cited to court: (1) a Flash Cite or (2) a form 332 citation that is pink and about a third of a size of a whole sheet of paper.
The form will say what county the criminal court you need to appear at is in, but it often won’t give the address of the building. A list of all of the Vermont State Courts with their physical addresses can be found here.
There is a criminal court in each of the fourteen Vermont counties. The physical address for Vermont criminal courthouses are:
Addison: 7 Mahady Court, Middlebury, VT 05753
I damaged someone else’s property. Can I be charged with a crime in Vermont?
In certain circumstances, yes. Contact Burke Law to discuss the specifics of your case. We offer free consultations over the phone or in person at either of our two Vermont locations (Burlington & White River Junction).
What is Negligent Operation in Vermont?
Negligent Operation is a criminal offense. When it is charged the State of Vermont alleges that the defendant failed to use ordinary care when operating a motor vehicle on a public highway. Burke Law has handled hundreds of Negligent Operation cases. Contact us for a free consultation on your Negligent Operation case.
I was in an accident in Vermont. The police cited me to criminal court for Negligent Operation. What should I do?
You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Negligent Operation can be a misdemeanor or felony in Vermont. You (or your attorney) must appear in Vermont Superior Court for an arraignment on your Negligent Operation charge and if you fail to do so, a warrant for your arrest could issue. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible when you are cited for Negligent Operation in Vermont. It can be confusing to understand what penalties you are facing and what your obligations are. At Burke Law we have years of experience defending Negligent Operation charges in Vermont. We offer free case consultations for Negligent Operation both in person and over the phone. Contact us today to schedule your free consult.
I was driving in Vermont and I got a speeding ticket and a citation to criminal court for Negligent Operation. Do I need a lawyer?
Negligent Operation and a speeding ticket are two separate citations. If you are given a speeding ticket then you are subject to points on your license and civil fines and fees. If you are given a citation to Vermont Superior Court for Negligent Operation you are also being charged with a crime. You (or your attorney) must appear in Vermont Superior Court for an arraignment on your Negligent Operation charge and if you fail to do so, a warrant for your arrest could issue. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible when you are cited for Negligent Operation in Vermont. It can be confusing to understand what penalties you are facing and what your obligations are. At Burke Law we have years of experience defending Negligent Operation charges in Vermont. We offer free case consultations for Negligent Operation both in person and over the phone. Contact us today to schedule your free consult.
I am charged with Homicide in Vermont, but I acted in self-defense. What should I do?
Vermont law surrounding self-defense in homicide cases is complex. Self-defense is what is called an affirmative defense, meaning that it is a type of criminal defense that usually needs to be asserted once your case is already charged. There are ways to help your self-defense case (such as taking pictures of your injuries when they are fresh and seeking appropriate medical treatment for yourself). If there were any witnesses to you using self-defense in a Vermont homicide case, it may be helpful to have them give sworn statements. It is important to call an attorney right away to help you prepare your self-defense case in Vermont.
I am charged with Homicide in Vermont, what should I do?
Homicide is one of the most serious criminal offenses in Vermont. It is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
I was issued a game violation for baiting a deer in Vermont. What should I do?
Baiting a deer in Vermont is a criminal offense. The baiting statute is a complicated statute, but the attorneys at Burke Law have experience defending it. Call us for a free case consultation.
I was issued a fish and game violation and I am worried that I will lose my Vermont fishing and/or Vermont hunting license. What should I do?
Call Burke Law for a free consultation. The fish and game statutes can be confusing, we can help you understand what you have been cited for and whether it makes sense for you to hire a lawyer to defend your case.
Can Plea Negotiations Be Entered Into Evidence Against Me at Trial?
No. Pursuant to Vermont Rule of Evidence 410, plea negotiations cannot be entered as substantive evidence against you at a trial.
Can I get a transcript of my criminal hearing?
Yes, criminal court proceedings are audio recorded in Vermont. We do not have a stenographer in the courtroom, but you can obtain a copy of the audio or a order a transcript of the hearing.
What is 24 hour curfew?
24 hour curfew is a condition of release in Vermont that requires a defendant to reside and stay at a specific residence 24 hours a day with very limited exceptions. It is often imposed when an individual is facing serious criminal charges.
One of the benefits of a 24 hour curfew is that the defendant can be living in the community while awaiting trial even though he is facing a serious offense for which he might otherwise be incarcerated pending trial.
One of the downsides of 24 hour curfew is that because you are not in the custody of the department of corrections (as you would be if you were living at home on pretrial release pursuant to home detention) so you cannot build up jail “credit.”
Depending on your particular situation it is important to discuss the potential pros and cons of 24 hour curfew and home detention with your Vermont criminal defense attorney.
What is home detention?
Home detention is a pretrial option that allows defendants that would otherwise not be released on conditions of release to be in the custody of the department of corrections while living at home.
How do I get a new trial?
Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 33 states that:
The court on motion of a defendant may grant a new trial to the defendent if required in the interests of justice. If trial was by the court without a jury the court on motion of a defendant for a new trial may vacate the judgment if entered, take additional testimony and direct the entry of a new judgment. A motion for a new trial based on the ground of newly discovered evidence may be made only before or within two years after final judgment, but if an appeal is pending the court may grant the motion only on remand of the case. A motion for a new trial based on any other grounds shall be made within 14 days after verdict or finding of guilty or within such further time as the court may fix during the 14-day period.
What is an attorney or appear date?
An attorney or appear date is a court date given by the court to provide a defendant time to hire a criminal defense attorney.
The attorney or appear date requires a defendant to either hire an attorney or appear before the court and explain why the defendant hasn’t hired an attorney.
Am I Required to Submit to SFSTs in Vermont?
You are not required to submit to SFSTs (standard field sobriety tests) in Vermont. However, police in Vermont are not required to tell you that you can refuse.
What is an appeal?
An appeal is the review of the trial court’s activities for legal error. The appellate court only reviews the “record” of the lower court proceedings and will not consider new evidence. The record consists of the court reporter’s transcripts of statements by the judge, attorneys, and witnesses. Any documents or objects entered into evidence also become part of the record.
What is processing pursuant to an arrest in Vermont?
Processing is the common term in Vermont that refers to the post arrest tasks of taking a mug shot, fingerprinting, and filling out necessary paperwork.
What is the difference between grand larceny and petty larceny in Vermont?
Grand larceny is a felony in Vermont. Grand larceny is defined by statute and currently applies if the value of the goods or property stolen exceed $900. Petty larceny (also called Petit Larceny) is a misdemeanor in Vermont. Petty Larceny is applicable when the total amount of goods or property stolen does not exceed $900 in value.
Is Burke Law open during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Burke Law will be open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect our clients and our employees, in person meetings will now be held over the phone.
What should I wear to Vermont Criminal Court?
Whether it is for an arraignment or testify as a witness it is appropriate to dress business casual or business attire to court.
What are the possible conditions of probation in Vermont?
Vermont probation conditions can be unique and created specifically related to a person’s criminal conviction. Usually, however, the State’s Attorney requests specific conditions of probation from the form probation order. It can be located here.
The judge may impose only the standard conditions of probation or a combination of standard and special conditions.
Will the police officer who arrested me be at my arraignment?
It is very unlikely that the Vermont law enforcement officer who arrested you will be present at your arraignment. After you charged or cited to court for a criminal offense the State’s Attorneys Office in the county the incident is alleged to have occurred in takes over the prosecution of your criminal case. Therefore, there is no need for law enforcement to be present at your arraignment.
An arraignment, like most proceedings in Vermont criminal court, is open to the public. An arresting officer could be present at the arraignment since it is a public hearing, but there is no requirement that he or she be present. Typically, arresting officers do not appear Vermont arraignments.
What is probation?
Probation is a type of supervision status for defendants after they have been convicted of a crime. It may be imposed at sentencing. Sentencing is the last phase of the Vermont criminal process and occurs after you have been convicted by a jury or pled guilty to criminal charges.
If you are on probation then you are not serving a jail sentence. A jail sentence has been suspended (in other words, put on hold) that you will never have to serve unless you violate the terms of your probation. Vermont Probation is a lower level of supervision than furlough. It typically requires meeting with your probation as directed and abiding by the conditions of probation imposed on you by the Vermont criminal court at your sentencing.
If you violate the terms of your probation then a violation of probation (“VOP”) will be filed with the criminal division of the Vermont Superior Court. You will be given a date to appear before the judge to enter an admission or a denial to the alleged violation of probation. If you deny the allegation a merits hearing will be set. At a probation violation merits hearing the State prosecutor will put on evidence and a Vermont Superior Court Judge will determine whether there is a preponderance of the evidence that you violated one or more terms of your probation. If the judge finds no violation occurs then the probation violation complaint is dismissed. The person continues on probation. If the judge finds a violation, then the judge will decide whether to revoke your probation and impose some or all of the suspended portion of your sentence. Depending on the number of prior violations and the severity of the violation the judge may also issue a stern warning and continue the offender on probation.
If you a facing a violation of probation or a furlough violation in Vermont contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options and to mitigate your exposure.
What are Criminal Conditions of Release?
Criminal conditions of release are a combination of rules imposed on a defendant by the Court.
In other words, the judge outlines activities that you must do or must not do. This can occur before your arraignment, at your arraignment, or conditions of release can be modified later in the Vermont criminal process. Conditions of release are only in effect while your criminal case is pending. If you have been found guilty or pled guilty but have not been sentenced, your conditions of release remain in effect. The standard form outlining the most common conditions of release in Vermont criminal court can be found here.
After a judge imposes conditions of release on a defendant he or she must sign a conditions of release order. The defendant’s signature is an acknowledgement that he or she understands the conditions and understands he or she must abide by them.
If a Vermont criminal defendant gets caught violating conditions of release, a new criminal charge may issue. A violation of conditions of release (or VCR as it is commonly called) can result in additional criminal charges, bail or surety being imposed by the Vermont Superior Court, or even being detained in custody until your trial.
How Do I Find Out My Next Court Date and Time in Vermont?
The Vermont Superior Court schedules change regularly. Therefore, it is a good idea to check in with the court calendar to confirm any upcoming Vermont criminal court dates. The court calendar can be found here. You can search by clicking on the county that you have court in and then choosing the appropriate option from the drop down menu. You can search for your name using the control key and the F key.
Please note that your case will not appear on the Vermont Judiciary calendar system until after your arraignment.
What Are Sentencing Surcharges in Vermont Criminal Court?
Sentencing surcharges are fees imposed by the Vermont Superior Court anytime someone is convicted of a crime. The sentencing surcharges are $147 per charge plus $15% of the fine for most crimes. For DUIs the sentencing surcharges are $307 plus 15% of the fine. Grossly Negligent Operation and other some other charges carry additional sentencing surcharges.
For example, if you were convicted in Vermont Superior Criminal Court of DUI and received a $300 fine then you would be required to pay $300 (fine amount) + $307 +$45 (15% of 300) = $652. Sentencing surcharges cannot be waived in Vermont, but the Criminal Court will give you time to pay them. If they remain unpaid they can be taken out of a future tax return or sent to collections.
I’ve been charged with domestic assault in Vermont, but the person who made the report no longer wants to press charges. Can the State’s Attorney still prosecute the case?
Yes. Even if the complaining witness in a Vermont domestic assault case does not want the case to be prosecuted, the State can choose to prosecute you anyway.
If you have been charged with domestic assault and you believe that the complaining witness no longer wants to go forward with the case, please contact one of our attorneys at Burke Law as soon as possible because there may be steps that can be taken to minimize your potential criminal liability.
I was attacked by the complaining witness in a Vermont assault case, can’t I use self defense to protect myself?
Vermont law surrounding self-defense in assault cases is complex. Self-defense is what is called an affirmative defense, meaning that it is a type of criminal defense that usually needs to be asserted once your case is already charged. There are ways to help your self-defense case (such as taking pictures of your injuries when they are fresh and seeking appropriate medical treatment for yourself). If there were any witnesses to you using self-defense in a Vermont assault case, it may be helpful to have them give sworn statements. It is important to call an attorney right away to help you prepare your self-defense case for assault charges in Vermont.
I have a valid driver’s license from another state, but I am cited for criminal DLS in Vermont. Is this possible?
Yes, it is possible to be cited for criminal DLS in Vermont even though your license is valid in your issuing state. There are a variety of potential reasons for the criminal suspension in Vermont. We can help you navigate the Vermont DMV and the Vermont Judicial Bureau to find out the reason or reasons for your suspension and help you take the correct steps to reinstate your Vermont license. Contact us for a free consultation.
I have been cited to court for criminal DLS. What should I do?
I thought my Vermont license was valid, but I just got pulled over and told that my Vermont license is suspended. Now I am charged with criminal DLS.
Criminal DLS is a common criminal charge in Vermont. Many Vermonters believe that they have done everything required to reinstate their license, but only find out during the course of a traffic stop that their license is actually criminally suspended. We can help you navigate the Vermont DMV and the Vermont Judicial Bureau to find out the reason or reasons for your suspension and help you take the correct steps to reinstate your Vermont license.
Vermont law enforcement executed a search warrant of my property for suspicion of child pornography. Will I be charged in Federal or Vermont State court?
It depends. Charges subject to concurrent jurisdiction may originate (another way of saying “be charged”) in either court. Some statutes such as possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography are subject to concurrent jurisdiction with Vermont state and federal courts. At Burke Law, our attorneys have defended both Vermont state and Vermont federal child pornography charges. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Vermont law enforcement executed a warrant for my computers and flash drives for a suspicion of child pornography. I haven’t been cited with anything or arrested, should I still contact an attorney?
Yes. Vermont child pornography charges can be delayed due to the time it takes to forensically analyze computers and external hard drives. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as the warrant has been executed, even if you have not been arrested or cited to court for possession of child pornography.
I was involved in a fight. Vermont law enforcement has called me and asked me to come down to the station to tell my side. Should I go?
No. Voluntary statements made to the police can still be used against you in the future. Even what seems like an innocent way of explaining what happened during the fight could result in you being charged with assault, domestic assault, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct or another criminal charge in Vermont.
If you believe that you may be a suspect of a crime, always contact an attorney before you speak to law enforcement.
At Burke Law we cover the entire state of Vermont from two office locations (Burlington and White River Junction) and have an on-call system. Contact Burke Law any time. We will help you devise a plan to protect your rights.
What if an alleged victim is contacting me?
I was cited to court in Vermont for an assault and released on a condition that I have no contact with the alleged victim. The alleged victim of the assault is contacting me. Can I speak to the alleged victim of the assault if he or she is contacting me?
No. Absolutely not. If you have a no contact condition it is a violation of your conditions of release for the pending assault – no matter which party initiates the contact. Violating your conditions of release in Vermont can result in new criminal charges or even being held in jail until your court date. For reference, the standard condition of release court form can be found here.
Are you saying that it doesn’t matter to the Court at all that it was the alleged victim who was contacting me?
Yes. It does not matter that the victim contacts you. You cannot have contact because you are subject to the no contact condition of release. If the alleged victim contacts you, hang up the phone. If the alleged victim approaches you, walk away. You can help your criminal defense by documenting any instances when an alleged victim contacts you after a no contact condition of release is imposed by writing down the time, place and manner of the attempted contact with you by the alleged victim.
Can a third party contact the person who I am not to have contact with to relay a message?
No. No contact means no direct contact, no phone contact, no electronic contact, and no contact through third parties.
If you are subject to a no contact order in Vermont criminal court and the person keeps attempting to initiate contact with you, let your attorney know right away.
Can I use self defense to protect myself from a criminal charge?
I was attacked by the complaining witness in a Vermont assault case, can I use self defense to protect myself?
Vermont law surrounding self defense in assault cases is complex. It is often used when someone is attacked in their home, or even in public, and then the victim attacks back at the aggressor. The aggressor may be more injured than the victim, which could result in the victim being charged with a crime. There are a variety of situations in which the defense can be used.
Self defense is what is called an affirmative defense, meaning that it is a type of criminal defense that usually needs to be asserted once your case is already charged and there are certain threshold showings you must make to present it to a jury. The Vermont Model Jury Instructions provide a basic framework of what a defendant must show at a jury trial.
Steps You Can Take To Help Your Self Defense Case
There are ways to help your self defense case (such as taking pictures of your injuries when they are fresh and seeking appropriate medical treatment for yourself). If there are any witnesses to you using self defense in a Vermont assault case, it may be helpful to have them give sworn statements. Working with an experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney as soon as soon as possible is a good idea in these types of cases.
It is important to call an attorney right away to help you prepare your self defense case for assault charges in Vermont.
I was involved in a fight. Vermont law enforcement has called me and asked me to come down to the station to tell my side. Should I go?
No. Voluntary statements made to the police can still be used against you in the future. Even what seems like an innocent way of explaining what happened during the fight could result in you being charged with assault, domestic assault, aggravated assault, or disorderly conduct in Vermont. Always contact an attorney before you speak to law enforcement. At Burke Law we cover the entire state of Vermont from two office locations (Burlington and White River Junction) and have an on-call system. Contact Burke Law any time and we will help you devise a plan to protect your rights and your interests.
What happens at an arraignment?
The purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant what they are charged with and why they are charged with it.
Arraignments Tell You What Your Charge(s) Is.
The fundamental purpose of an arraignment is to tell a defendant, in open court, what they are charged with. In other words, arraignments tell a Vermont defendant what law it is alleged that a defendant has broken.
Arraignments Tell You What Evidence The State Intends to Use Against You.
An arraignment tells a defendant and her attorney why she is charged with the crime she is charged with. In other words, the State must disclose what facts it believes support the accusation that you committed the crime.
Arraignments Begin the Criminal Process In Vermont
Typically an arraignment is just the beginning of the criminal process. The State presents a broad outline of the facts it believes it can establish to support a conviction of the crime charged. An experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney can develop a defense strategy to respond to the allegations made by the State prosecutor at an arraignment.
I’m charged with Embezzlement in Vermont. What‘s next?
Embezzlement can be a serious charge in Vermont. People get caught in the embezzlement trap for many reasons. Sometimes a spouse’s unemployment or unexpected illness or medical bills lead people to embezzle. Soon they are in over their head and cannot pay back what they embezzled. Most of the time people expect to or try to pay back any money they embezzled.
Are there any defenses for embezzlement in Vermont?
Depending on a client’s criminal history and the extent of the embezzlement there may be viable defenses available when a person embezzled with the intention of paying the money back.
Taking steps toward restitution along with a effective defense strategy under the guidance of an experienced Vermont criminal defense attorney can help put embezzlement charges in the past. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Where can I learn more about Embezzlement law in Vermont?
The Vermont embezzlement statute can be located here. If the amount of money embezzled is less than $100 it is a misdemeanor. If the amount of money embezzled exceeds $100 it is a felony.
Can I get a DUI in Vermont if my BAC was under the legal limit?
Yes you can get a DUI in Vermont even if your BAC is under .08 while operating a motor vehicle. Even if you blood alcohol concentration is far below the so called “legal limit” you can be charged with DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle on a public highway and an officer determines that you are impaired.
The Vermont DUI – Alcohol statute permits a charge of DUI if the operator has a BAC of more than .08 or if the operator is under the influence of alcohol. The Vermont DUI statute can be found here.
The attorneys at Burke Law have extensive experience defending Vermont DUIs under .08 BAC. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us for a free, confidential case consultation today.
I got a DUI in Vermont, but my license is out of another state. What should I expect?
If you are convicted in Vermont of a criminal DUI or civil DUI your privilege to operate in Vermont will be suspended. Many people charged with DUI in Vermont do not live in Vermont and have out-of-state drivers licenses. Vermont is a member of the National Interstate Compact which allows for states to communicate suspensions to each other. This may result in a suspension of your privilege to operate in Vermont and in all other states.
If you are convicted of DUI in Vermont and lose your privilege to operate in Vermont, you should expect to lose your license in your home state.
Your home state may have different or additional requirements to reinstate even after you have reinstated your privilege to operate in Vermont. Therefore, if you have an out of state driver’s license but received a DUI criminal or civil in Vermont it is important to contact an attorney with experience defending DUIs in Vermont.
At Burke Law we have defended hundreds of DUIs. Our experienced attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome for your case and guide you through the license reinstatement process.
Why should I choose Burke Law?
At Burke Law we practice criminal defense throughout Vermont. It is what we do. All three of our attorneys have extensive criminal defense practice experience throughout Vermont. We work for you to craft individualized, strategic defenses to provide you with the best possible outcomes. Burke Law is unique because our attorneys have deep local experience. Our Founding Attorney, Jessica Burke, works daily in Chittenden criminal court and throughout the state on serious felony matters. She has practiced in all 14 Vermont counties and has successfully defended misdemeanors and felonies throughout the state of Vermont. Attorney Leah Henderson focuses her practice in central and southern Vermont criminal courts. Attorney Henderson has successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases in Windsor, Rutland, Windham, Bennington, Caledonia and Orange counties. Attorney Zachery Weight formerly worked as a public defender in Orleans criminal court and earned a reputation as a fierce trial attorney. Since joining Burke Law, Attorney Weight has focused his practice on criminal defense in Franklin, Washington, Addison, Grand Isle, Orleans, Lamoille, and Essex counties.
Burke Law was built on criminal defense. Founding Attorney Jessica Burke practiced as a public defender in urban Virginia where she tried cases ranging from disorderly conduct to felony murder to a jury. After relocating home to Vermont, Attorney Burke started Burke Law in 2011 and defended misdemeanor and felony charges for clients in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Both Attorney Henderson and Attorney Weight began their careers in public defense in Vermont. Burke Law remains committed to values of public defense and all of our attorneys take low bono and pro bono cases as our schedules allow.
At Burke Law open, honest and continued dialog with our clients is vital to building a strong defense and providing our clients with the best options available.
Our attorneys have successfully defended thousands of cases throughout Vermont. Each case is unique. Our substantial experience in criminal defense throughout Vermont will help you get the best outcome possible for your case.
How many times will I have to go to court?
It depends. For simple misdemeanor cases you may never need to go to court. For example, if you live out of state or are otherwise unavailable for work or school reasons your attorney may be able to waive your appearance at your arraignment and all subsequent court hearings. Other times it may be necessary for you to appear five or more times to successfully defend your case. The attorneys at Burke Law can provide an estimate of the number of appearances required during your free consultation.
What will happen at the first court date?
The first court date is your arraignment. An arraignment is a constitutional right that a defendant has to be told what his or her charge or charges are in open court. It is an opportunity to learn exactly what crime or crimes the prosecution alleges you committed and what facts may constitute those charges. At the arraignment your attorney will enter a plea on your behalf. Traditionally, the initial plea is a not guilty plea. The purpose of this plea to to keep the case moving forward so that your attorney can craft an individualized defense strategy and obtain any necessary evidence in your favor.
Burke Law advertises free consultations. What are these? How do I prepare?
Burke Law offers free 30 minute case consultations. These consultations can occur either over the phone or at either of our Vermont office locations (Burlington or White River Junction) at the choice of the client. It is useful to provide the attorney with any paperwork that you received from law enforcement at or prior to the consult. This will help us give you the most accurate information about your case. You and the attorney will discuss the allegations and sketch out a defense strategy.
I blew under .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Can I still be charged with a DUI in Vermont?
Yes. In Vermont you can be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol concentration is below .08 BAC. The standard at a jury trial is whether or not you were impaired to the slightest degree. If you are charged or cited for a DUI in Vermont and blew under .08 BAC there are a variety of successful defenses used by Burke Law that may apply to your case. Contact us today for a free DUI case consultation.
I am charged with larceny in Vermont. Is larceny in Vermont a misdemeanor or felony?
Larceny in Vermont can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the items alleged to be stolen. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
I was given a citation to Vermont Superior Court for Excessive Speed and given a speeding ticket payable to the Vermont Judicial Bureau for the same offense. Are these the same or different?
They are two separate citations. If you are given a speeding ticket then you are subject to points on your license and civil fines and fees. If you are given a citation to Vermont Superior Court for Excessive Speed you are also being charged with a crime. You (or your attorney) must appear in Vermont Superior Court for an arraignment on your Excessive Speed charge and if you fail to do so, a warrant for your arrest could issue. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible when you are cited for Excessive Speed in Vermont. It can be confusing to understand what penalties you are facing and what your obligations are. At Burke Law we have years of experience defending Excessive Speed charges in Vermont. We offer free case consultations for Excessive Speed both in person and over the phone. Contact us today to schedule your free consult.
I am charged with Excessive Speed in Vermont. Should I get a lawyer?
At Burke Law our attorneys have years of experience with Excessive Speed charges in Vermont. Excessive speed charges can be successfully defended. Call Burke Law today for a free consultation regarding your Excessive Speed charge in Vermont.
I was speeding in Vermont, but instead of just getting a speeding ticket I received a citation to criminal court for Excessive Speed. Is Excessive Speed a crime in Vermont?
Yes. Excessive Speed is a misdemeanor crime in the state of Vermont.
What is a Vermont DUI civil suspension?
A Vermont civil DUI suspension is initiated with a form 240 or Notice of Intent to Suspend form. It is important to read and act on this form right away. A Vermont civil DUI is different from a Vermont criminal DUI. Most DUIs in Vermont have a civil DUI and a criminal DUI cited together. Civil DUIs in Vermont relate to license suspension. If you are issued a Notice of Intent to Suspend form you must return the form to address indicated on the form within SEVEN DAYS of when the form was issued. If you fail to do so your license will AUTOMATICALLY go under suspension. If you have received a Vermont civil DUI, criminal DUI or both, contact Burke Law today for your free case consultation.
I am charged with a DUI 2 in Vermont. What should I expect?
DUI 2 in Vermont has enhanced penalties. If convicted of DUI 2 you may face mandatory jail time or 200 hours of community service. Contact us at Burke Law for a free DUI 2 case consultation.
I have been charged with a DUI in Vermont. I don’t know if I can afford a lawyer to help me with my DUI case. What should I do?
Contact us at Burke Law for a free case DUI case consultation. The cost of an effective DUI defense is often far less than the penalties, fines and fees associated with not having an effective DUI defense in Vermont.
I was in an accident in Vermont and am now charged with a DUI. What should I do?
Contact Burke Law for a free DUI case consultation. We have successfully defended hundreds of DUIs in Vermont. There may be defenses available to you that you aren’t aware of. If you were in an accident in Vermont and charged with a DUI you may still have a winnable case.
I’ve been given a citation to criminal court. What do I do next?
You should contact an attorney for an explanation of your citation and any additional paperwork you received from law enforcement.
If you are charged with a DUI in Vermont it is exceptionally important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
If you were issued a Notice of Intent to Suspend as part of your DUI then your driver’s license or privilege to operate may automatically go under suspension if you do not request a hearing within SEVEN days after your arrest.
The attorneys at Burke Law can explain what your criminal charge(s) and how to respond to any necessary paperwork to protect your license.
I have been charged with a DUI in Vermont. I feel like I passed all of the standard field sobriety tests. Can I still be charged with a DUI in Vermont?
Yes. The standard field sobriety tests are incredibly difficult to perform flawlessly. You may think that you touched heel to toe on every step of the Walk and Turn test and turned perfectly, but the officer may assess points or “clues” against you for raising your hands too high from your side or for breaking the start position or even for beginning the test before you were told to do so. At Burke Law we can assess your DUI Alcohol or DUI Drugs case to see if there is a valid argument that you did pass all the standard field sobriety testing and should not have been arrested. If you feel that you passed all the standard field sobriety tests and were still charged with a DUI Alcohol or DUI Drugs in Vermont, contact us today for a free case consultation.
I was stopped in Vermont for a motor vehicle violation and got charged with a DUI. I wasn’t swerving or driving erratically. Can Vermont law enforcement charge a DUI when I wasn’t driving badly?
Yes. You can be stopped by the police in Vermont for a motor vehicle violation or for reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Once you are stopped if the Vermont law enforcement officer develops reasonable suspicion of DUI – Alcohol or DUI – Drugs he or she may order or ask you to exit the vehicle to perform standard field sobriety tests and/or to take a preliminary breath test (PBT.)
Are possession of drug crimes in Vermont misdemeanors or felonies?
In Vermont, many drug possession crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Factors that may be used by the Vermont prosecutors to determine whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony include: the amount of the drugs in your possession and whether or not the drugs were packaged for sale or personal use.
I was driving through Vermont and was stopped for a motor vehicle offense. Vermont law enforcement searched the vehicle and located drugs. I am charged with possessing (or trafficking drugs) but I did not know they were in the vehicle. What should I do?
You should contact a Vermont attorney as soon as possible to begin your defense of any charged drug crimes. If there were other people in the vehicle or other peoples’ belongings in the vehicle and the drugs were found in those bags or belongings it may be difficult for the State of Vermont to prove that you were aware of the drugs in the vehicle or knowingly possessed or trafficked the drugs. The attorneys at Burke Law have successfully defended numerous Vermont drug crimes.
I possessed mushrooms/ecstasy/cocaine/LSD in my dorm room and they were seized by campus security. Can I be charged with a crime?
Yes. You could face penalties at your university or college and criminal drug charges in the state of Vermont. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if your dorm room was raided or searched and you believe that illegal or controlled substances could be determined to have been in your possession.
I didn’t commit a motor vehicle violation in Vermont, but I was stopped because the owner of the vehicle had a criminally suspended license in Vermont. Is that legal?
Yes, the Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that if the registered owner of a vehicle is suspended it is grounds for a traffic stop.
I thought my Vermont license was valid, but I just got pulled over and told that my Vermont license is suspended. I have been cited to court for criminal DLS. What should I do?
Contact Burke Law. Criminal DLS is a common criminal charge in Vermont. Many Vermonters believe that they have done everything required to reinstate their license, but only find out during the course of a traffic stop that their license is actually criminally suspended. We can help you navigate the Vermont DMV and the Vermont Judicial Bureau to find out the reason or reasons for your suspension and help you take the correct steps to reinstate your Vermont license.
I’ve never been in trouble before. Can Vermont law enforcement just come to my house and execute a valid search warrant?
Yes. If Vermont law enforcement possess a valid search warrant they can execute that search warrant without your knowledge or consent.