One major question many non-Vermont residents ask when they are facing a traffic ticket in Vermont is whether their insurance carrier will be notified of the violation. There is not a clear answer to this question, as each insurance company’s policy differs with regards to how often they run a motorists DMV record. However, the State of Vermont has made it incredibly easy for any legitimate insurance company, employer or other agency to quickly gain access to a motorist’s Vermont DMV violation record.
The State of Vermont has partnered with Vermont Information Consortium, LLC to set up a portal that, for a $75 annual fee, allows for most any legitimate business, to check an individual’s driving or criminal record. There are no cumbersome forms to fill out, or significant lag time between the request and production of the record. All the company needs is the driver’s name and date of birth and they can quickly review whether that individual has been convicted of violating any traffic laws in the State of Vermont.
Many may believe that if they do not reside in the State of Vermont, that their motor vehicle violation can remain their secret if they just pay the fine and move on. However, with the ever improving technology of State agencies, no motorist is free from the ever watching eye of those companies who may profit off finding a record of a motorists violations.
The Law: 23 VSA Section 1050 states:
(a) Upon the approach of a law enforcement vehicle which is sounding a siren or displaying a blue or blue and white signal lamp, or both, or upon the approach of an ambulance, fire apparatus, a vehicle operated by a volunteer firefighter, EMS personnel, or a motor vehicle used in rescue operations as set forth in section 1252 of this title which is sounding a siren or displaying a red signal lamp, or both, all other vehicles shall pull to the right of the lane of traffic and come to a complete stop, until the law enforcement or emergency vehicle has passed. However, an enforcement officer who is present shall have full power to regulate traffic irrespective of the foregoing provisions.
(b) The operator of a vehicle which is approaching a stationary law enforcement vehicle which is displaying a blue or blue and white signal lamp, or of a vehicle which is approaching a stationary ambulance, fire apparatus, a vehicle operated by a volunteer firefighter, or a motor vehicle used in rescue operations as set forth in section 1252 of this title which is displaying a red signal lamp or a stationary towing and repair vehicle displaying an amber signal lamp shall proceed with caution, and, if traveling on a four-lane highway, and safety conditions permit, make a lane change. (emphasis added)
There are numerous ways Vermont law enforcement officers can selectively enforce the provisions of the Vermont mover law. As highlighted above, Section (a) of the Vermont Move over law is pretty clear as to a motorist obligations when they see emergency personnel with active lights traveling down the same road: the motorist must pull over and come to a complete stop until the emergency vehicle has passed them by.
Section (b) of the Vermont moreover law however, is a little more vague. In sum, a motorist must pass an emergency vehicle with caution and if they can do so safely, pull over the next lane if they are traveling on a 4 lane highways, such as the interstate. On numerous occasions this firm has been hired to defend tickets that allege a violation of section (b) because they either could not safely move over. This becomes a point of perception if litigated before a Vermont Judicial Bureau judge and is a primary reason why all discovery requests (such as the cruiser video) should be secured to see exactly what the conditions were at the time of the stop to ensure that a motorist’s rights are protected every step of the way.
No attorney has a magic wand to make cases disappear. What they do have is a set of skills and knowledge that help them leverage each case in a fashion that gives their client the best possible chance to avoid significant consequences for their traffic ticket. Does the knowledge and acumen of a Vermont traffic ticket lawyer always lead to a dismissal? I would be a straight out liar to say that it would. However, with the specialized knowledge of the process, the officer and the presiding judge, it is reasonable to conclude that a motorists’ chances of reaching a favorable resolution (dismissal or amendment to a lessor charge) in their Vermont traffic ticket increases the better one knows the rules of the system and the players involved.
So what knowledge is needed to best prepare for a traffic hearing in a Vermont Traffic Court? That heavily depends on the officer and the judge who will serve as the other parties in the matter. Certain officers and judge’s rely on specific documentation a client can provide to assist them in determining what type of offer they are willing to give in a traffic ticket case. A motorist’s driving record from the their home state is a good first step in achieving the necessary documentation. Some States, such as New York, (https://dmv.ny.gov/dmv-records/get-my-own-driving-record-abstract) allow driver’s to quickly secure their DMV record online. Other States ,such as New Jersey, require a more extensive process that can take up to 14 days to complete.
Beyond a DMV driving abstract there are other discoverable materials that the officer may be required to produce if requested by the defense prior to the hearing taking place. Requesting evidence such as the cruiser dash cam, body-camera, radar calibration certificates and other pieces of evidence relevant to the charge to only provide the defense with additional evidence to present their case, but also may allow for further leverage in plea negotiations if the requests are not fulfilled in a timely manner.
There is no way to guarantee a result in a Vermont traffic ticket case. However, by preparing the case properly and presenting the best facts possible both to the officer and, if need be, the judge, a motorist is putting their best case forward and increasing the likelihood of a favorable result in their Vermont traffic ticket case.