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Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Statutes: Virgin Islands, U.S.

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Updated: 
December 2, 2019

99. Criminal proceedings

Duties of the Court in criminal actions for domestic violence:

(a) A person arrested for a crime that constitutes domestic violence must appear before a judge for bail determination. In addition to the other standard factors, a judge shall determine whether to grant bail or to detain the defendant pending trial upon review of the following factors:

(1) the degree of injury to the victim;

(2) the defendant’s history of domestic violence as documented by police reports, other credible reports;

(3) the use or threatened use of a weapon;

(4) the potential threat to the alleged victim or other family or household member;

(5) the potential threat to the public; and

(6) the likelihood that the defendant will appear for trial.

(b) A person arrested for or charged with a crime that constitutes domestic violence shall be admitted to bail as follows:

(1) one thousand dollars with no 10% provision, if the defendant has no prior conviction for domestic violence, and the use or threatened use of a weapon was not involved and there is no reason to believe that the crime for which the person was arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm; or

(2) five thousand dollars and no 10% provision, if the person has:

(A) no previous conviction for domestic violence and the use or threatened use of a weapon was not involved, but there is reason to believe that the crime for which the person was arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm; or

(B) one previous conviction for domestic violence, and the use or threatened use of a weapon was not involved, and there is no reason to believe that the crime for which the person was arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm; or

(3) fifteen thousand dollars with no 10% provision, if the person has:

(A) no previous convictions for domestic violence, but the use or threatened use of a weapon was involved; or

(B) one previous conviction for domestic violence and there is reason to believe that the crime for which the defendant was arrested resulted in substantial bodily hue; or

(C) one previous conviction for domestic violence and the use or threatened use of a weapon was involved; or

(D) the defendant has two or more conviction for domestic violence.

(c) When a defendant charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence is released from custody before trial on bail or personal recognizance, the Court authorizing the release may as a condition of release issue an Order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the victim, including, but not limited to, restraining the defendant from entering the victim’s residence, place of employment or business, or school, and from harassing the victim or victim’s relatives in any way, prohibiting the defendant from using or possessing a firearm or any other weapon, from possessing or consuming any alcohol or controlled substances and by imposing any other order required to protect the safety of the alleged victim or to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. The Clerk of the Court, or other person designated by the court, shall provide a copy of this Order to the victim forthwith.

(d) When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence and a condition of sentence restricts the defendant’s ability to have contact with the victim, that condition shall be recorded in an Order of the Court and a written copy of that Order shall be provided to the victim by the Clerk of the Court or other person designated by the Court.

(e) Upon conviction of a crime or offense involving domestic violence, the Court may require, in lieu of or in addition to a term of incarceration, that the defendant receive professional counseling or other appropriate treatment from either a private source or a source appointed by the Court, and the Court shall require the defendant to provide documentation of attendance at the professional counseling or treatment center.

(f) In criminal actions for domestic violence, the prosecuting attorney shall charge in the information that the alleged act is an act of domestic violence.

(g) Upon a conviction for a domestic violence offense the judgment shall so indicate.

(h) In criminal actions for domestic violence, a defendant charged for the first time in the United States Virgin Islands with a misdemeanor domestic violence offense shall have the right, within 30 days of arraignment, to plead guilty and receive the deferred sentence described and set forth in section 99a of this chapter, if such defendant waives in writing any rights he might otherwise have to a speedy disposition of the case at issue, unless the prosecutor or the Court files a written objection. The Court shall notify such defendant of the right to a deferred sentence at the arraignment.

(i) If the prosecutor files a timely written objection, the defendant shall not be entitled to the deferred sentence set forth in section 99a of this chapter. The Court, or prosecutor, shall object if the victim requests. The Court and prosecutor may consider the following factors in determining whether to offer a deferred sentence:

(1) the relative severity of the victim’s injuries, if any;

(2) the prior criminal history of the defendant;

(3) the history of previous incidents of domestic violence, if any, as related by the victim;

(4) the degree to which the defendant demonstrates motivation to participate in counseling and to stop acts of domestic violence; and

(5) the availability of a counseling or treatment program willing to accept the defendant, and the intensity of such program.