Vermont Public Records
Vermont is a state in the northeastern U.S. that is over 75% forest and known for being home to more than 100 historic covered bridges. A major producer of maple syrup and popular winter destination, Vermont is also home to over half a million residents who may wish to access public records in some form or another.
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Vermont Public Records Laws
Vermont public records were actually governed by Common Law for many years, until 1975 when the state enacted its first public records law, Vermont Access to Public Records Act Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 1, §§ 315-320, in the wake of the Watergate scandal. While “any person” may request public records in Vermont and they do not have to specify the reason for the request, the state is known for having a restrictive policy because of the number of exemptions that they list, over 200 in all. The Act states that requests do apply to records from all public agencies, the executive branch, and legislative bodies. Some, but not all, of the exclusions include:
- The courts (these may be covered by the court’s own rules for disclosure of records)
- Private entities that receive public funds
- Investigatory records
- Tax returns
- Student records
- Hazardous waste information
- Exam materials
- Trade secrets
- Health records
- Library records
Vermont Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in the state of Vermont are administered by the Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC), a division of the Department of Public Safety. They offer several different types of record checks, depending on the purpose.
- Vermont Conviction Report (VCCRIS) – This is a paid (instant) online criminal conviction search that anyone can run on anyone else, provided they have a name and date of birth.
- Vermont Records Check – This is a certified records check that is used by licensing agencies, employers, landlords, and courts.
- National Records Check – A national criminal records check, often required by law for certain purposes, which is run by schools or for adoptions.
Vermont Jail and Inmate Records
The Vermont Department of Corrections is the place to get information on current offenders, victim services, and other information for families connected to crimes in the state. Vermont uses a service called JailTracker to search for offenders and it will provide you will a full list of all of the people currently incarcerate in Vermont. You will be able to sort and search the list, which provides full name, booking date, Offender #, age, and possible release date.
Vermont Court Records
If you want court records in the state of Vermont, you will need to determine the type of case and its final dissolution. Information on all of Vermont’s courts can be found through its administrator of the courts. For up-to-date calendar information on cases in Vermont’s criminal, family, and civil division, you can sign up for Vermont Courts Online. You can also get case summaries for some cases through this website. Otherwise, you have the option to order transcribed copies of any case files at a cost per page.
Vermont Vital Records
Unlike many other states, Vermont began recording vital records in the mid-1800s. Since 1857, towns have been recording births, deaths, and marriages. Since 1896, the responsibility for keeping the records has fallen to the state Department of Health. However, this department only keeps current records for five years before moving them to the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA). You can request any of these certificates online and do not have to be an interested party to do so.
Birth Certificates: For births that occurred before 2011, you will need to make your request through VSARA. For births after 2011, make your request through the Department of Health.
Death Certificates: Death certificates are kept at the Department of Health for five years, after which time records are sent to the State Archives. Depending on the date of death, you will need to go to one of these two agencies to make your request.
Marriage Certificates: When a marriage occurs in Vermont, the town clerk sends the marriage certificate to the state Department of Health for filing. Copies of marriage certificates, and prior civil unions, that occurred after 2011 should be obtained at the Department of Health. Those with earlier dates will wish to go to the State Archives to request records.
Divorce Certificates: When a divorce or dissolution occurs in Vermont, it is filed with the court, who then sends the final decree to the Department of Health for filing. Again, if the divorce occurred after 2011, the certificate should be requested from the Department of Health. If it was earlier, you’ll want to visit the State Archives with your request.