The Vermont Judicial Bureau has statewide jurisdiction over civil violations. Police and other government agencies can decide to charge civil violations, such as those that involve:
- Motor vehicles
- Municipal ordinances
- Fishing, hunting, and trapping
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Burning and waste disposal
- Lead hazard abatement
- Cruelty to animals
- Marijuana (non-criminal)
Civil violations are not criminal offenses. However, the court reports civil violation judgments to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
The Judicial Bureau is a court of statewide jurisdiction. Although it holds hearings at many courthouses throughout Vermont, the location of the Judicial Bureau Clerk's Office is in White River Junction.
A civil violation complaint includes traffic violations, municipal ordinance violations, and fish and wildlife violations.
If the violation has resulted in an accident and you are found to be at fault, you may receive additional points. If you accumulate a certain number of points within a specific period, the DMV will suspend your driving privilege. The DMV charges a reinstatement fee after every suspension. [23 V.S.A. § 2502]
Similarly, if you are convicted of a number of serious traffic violations within a specified term, your commercial driver's license may be disqualified or suspended. [23 V.S.A. § § 4116 and 4116a] Serious traffic violations may include speeding, driving in a careless and negligent or reckless manner, changing lanes improperly, following another vehicle too closely, and violating traffic control laws in connection with an accident resulting in death.
Please contact the DVM for any questions about points on your driver's license.
If you plead no contest or admit to a motor vehicle violation, you waive the right to a hearing. To settle your case, you must pay a waiver penalty. A panel of three judges determines the amount of the waiver fines.
The waiver penalty amount is shown on the front of the civil violation complaint the law enforcement officer gives you. If you or a passenger failed to use an available seat belt, there may be extra fees added to the waiver penalty amount.
If you deny the violation and have a hearing, the judge will decide whether to award judgment to you or to the prosecutor. The law enforcement officer who issued the violation complaint is the prosecutor. The judge will also decide the amount of your fine. Usually the fine is the same as the waiver penalty. Sometimes the fine is higher or lower depending on the facts of your case, your driving record, and your ability pay the penalty. In addition to the imposed fine, there will be a surcharge and a court fee. There may also be a witness fee.
A motion is a request in writing asking the court to consider doing something specific in your case. All motions must identify the request and give specific reasons for the request. You will need to pay a non-refundable filing fee for any post-judgment motions that you file.
You will need to file a "Judicial Bureau Motion Form"
with the clerk's office at the Judicial Bureau in White River Junction. The judge or the clerk will make a decision about your request. You will receive a decision either by mail or telephone.