The state of Vermont defines its felonies as offenses that can have
imprisonment terms of more than two years in a state prison or as much
as life in prison or death for a single offense. Unlike other states,
Vermont does not separate its felonies into different classifications.
A majority of the states have alphabetical or numerical classifications
for every felony, but Vermont has a different system. Each felony is
placed into a degree of punishment. Each offense has its own statute to
which punishments are designated, most with a single degree of the
offense. These include burglary, theft, rape, drug offenses, sexual
offenses, and others. Crimes like kidnapping and murder have separate
degrees of punishment.
Vermont has a felony class that defines murder as the intentional
killing of another through willful act, premeditated act, deliberate
act, by lying in wait, by poison, attempted arson, by sexual assault,
by robbery, by aggravated sexual assault, or by burglary. These kinds
of murder are deemed first-degree offenses of murder. All other forms
of murder are otherwise classified as murder in the second degree.
Murder in the first degree is punishable in the state of Vermont by a
prison sentence of no less than thirty-five years and no more than
life. The punishment of life in prison without the possibility of
parole is also an option. In some cases an individual may be charged
with multiple offenses at the same time, in these cases the prison
terms can be added to one another. For instance a single individual may
be sentenced with two life sentences without parole and another may be
sentenced with one thirty-five-year sentence for one murder and
fifty-five years for another murder. However no single offense can
receive more than one murder charge but can receive more than one
offense, such as a sentence for murder, rape, and sexual assault at the
Murder in the second degree has slightly different punishments that
include no less than twenty years in prison and no more than life in
prison. Life imprisonment with no parole possibility is also an option
in this degree. All other felony convictions can have different ranges.
Driving under the influence can have charges of seven hundred fifty
dollars to twenty-five hundred dollars and can have prison sentences up
to five years. Arson is punishable by up to ten years in prison while
aggravated assault is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
Possession of illegal drugs can have imprisonment terms of up to twenty
years, depending on the drug and the amount. Robbery and larceny are
punishable by up to ten years in prison while stalking is punishable by
up to two years in prison.
Vermont is one of the few states where felonies may be expunged if the
individual was not found to be guilty or where the case was later
dismissed. Certain criteria must be fulfilled before petitioning for
convicted felons can begin: the sentencing terms must be completed, no
other outstanding crime can be held, and fifteen years must pass after
all terms have been completed.