Beware the Vermont excessive speed “hotspot”

There are certain areas on Vermont highways that are easier to navigate then others.   When it comes to Vermont Interstates I-91 and I-89, the degree of difficulty can be significantly diminished, especially during low traffic times.  As a result, many motorists may feel that they can travel at speeds much faster then the posted speed limit.  Although traveling a few miles over the posted speed limit may land a motorist a traffic ticket, there are times that the speed alleged is excessively over the posted speed limit, which can lead to a Vermont Excessive Speed criminal charge.  One area on I-89 in particular has been deemed a “hotspot” for excessive speed charges, begging the question of what factors are leading to more criminal charges in this stretch of highway then any other in Vermont.

According to a report by Vermont Public Radio, one Vermont State Trooper has arrested several motorists traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph in a 10 mile stretch on I-89 between the Royalton Sharon town lines.  For those who have traveled this stretch of road before, it is easy to see why more motorists would feel comfortable traveling at high speeds then on other Vermont highways.

Stretches like this on I-89 can be a recipe for a Vermont Excessive Speed charge if one is not careful

It can be easy to forget the speed you are traveling.  In certain areas, it can become even easier to allow this lack of attention to turn into a dangerous situation that may result in a criminal charge.  Understanding where these situations may be more likely to occur may not only prevent them from happening, but in the unfortunate event that one is arrested for a Vermont excessive speed charge, it can be a useful tool in rationalizing some of the behavior in order to best argue for leniency when the case is brought to court.

Gross negligent operation is no minor matter

With an increase in highway fatalities in Vermont this year, law enforcement has been stepping up their investigation and arrests of those that they feel are driving in a criminally negligent manner.   Many of these cases, result in a criminal charge for “gross negligent operation.  23 VSA 1091(b)(2) defines gross negligence as ” examining whether the person engaged in conduct which involved a gross deviation from the care that a reasonable person would have exercised in that situation.”

The standard for GNO is rather broad and can encompass a large degree of alleged behavior, such as driving at excessive speeds, texting while driving or operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

One of the many keys to defending a GNO charge is to look critically at the operation of the motor vehicle and argue that the conduct does not amount to criminal negligence, which carries with it a significantly heavier burden then proving civil negligence.

To show criminal negligence, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the mental state involved in criminal negligence. Proof of that mental state requires that the failure to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur must be a gross deviation from the standard of a reasonable person. Criminal negligence is conduct which is such a departure from what would be that of an ordinary prudent or careful person in the same circumstance as to be incompatible with a proper regard for human life or an indifference to consequences. Criminal negligence is negligence that is aggravated, culpable or gross.  See

Often prosecutors and law enforcement will produce experts reports to support their position that the conduct alleged amounts to gross negligence.  If an accident is involved, these reports can include determinations by the expert that the accident was caused by the defendant’s failure to appreciate the risk that their operation of a motor vehicle was creating to himself and others.

Defending a gross negligent charge in Vermont involves a complex and multifaceted approach.  Attacking the investigation itself while also looking critically at the facts that are not in dispute is an essential part of this process.  Only though this analysis can a true determination be made as to the merits of the state’s case and in turn figuring out the best possible way to ensure that the individual charged with the offense is able to navigate their way to finding the best result.

Attorney Robb Spensley wins client acquittal in felony trial

Pittsford Attorney Robb Spensley wins acquittal for his client, Eugene Diou, after a full day trial in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division before Judge Thomas Zonay. Mr. Diou had been accused by his then husband Richard Dayton. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before they found Mr. Diou not guilty of all charges.

Mr. Diou had been charged with Aggravated Domestic Assault in the First Degree, a felony that carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, the state was proceeding on a theory of strangulation. The state also sought the lesser included Domestic Assault charge. Attorney Spensley informed the jury that his client acted in self-defense. “We are obviously very pleased that the jury reached the proper verdict. Mr. Diou acted in self defense after being assaulted in his home,” Attorney Spensley stated from his Pittsford office.