A new law allows Vermonters to get drug possession and other crimes expunged from their criminal records. VT Legal Aid is holding clinics to walk people through the process.
"Similar events have been hosted in other counties in Vermont. At each one, volunteer attorneys help people fill out petitions to have qualifying criminal convictions expunged. Lawyers at the clinic were also available to help attendees apply to seal eligible charges, which has a similar effect as expungement. Mairead O’Reilly, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid, has been helping to lead expungement efforts across the state, and started organizing countywide clinics in 2017 at the request of state’s attorneys. She said the process starts by clarifying what charges people actually have on their record.
“Our first step is to do a thorough, comprehensive background check on folks and analyze whether a case is eligible under the ever-changing expungement law,” she said. Most recently, a new state law went into effect in stages on July 1 and Oct. 1 expanding the list of expungeable offenses in Vermont. The new qualifying offenses include some instances of forgery and burglary, and possession of certain drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
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