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Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Statutes: Virgin Islands, U.S.

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Updated: 
December 2, 2019

99a. Deferred sentence and counseling

(a) The Court shall maintain a record of those charged with a domestic violence offense in the United States Virgin Islands to enable the Court to determine the eligibility of an accused for a domestic violence counseling program.

(b) When a defendant elects to plead guilty to a misdemeanor with a deferred sentence, the Court shall defer sentence for a period not less than six (6) months nor greater than two (2) years, and shall require the defendant to attend, fully participate in, fully cooperate with, and successfully complete a domestic violence counseling or education program during the pendency of the deferred sentence.

(c) Upon notification that the defendant who has previously pleaded guilty under this section has successfully completed the domestic violence education program, the Court shall not impose an incarcerative penalty but may impose other sentencing provisions which the Court might have otherwise imposed had the defendant opted not to proceed under this section including, but not limited to, probation, restitution and continued treatment, or counseling. Upon finding that a defendant has violated probation, the Court shall be empowered to sentence the defendant to any sentence the Court could have imposed had the defendant not opted to proceed under this section.

(d) Upon a finding by the Court that a defendant whose sentence has been deferred under this section has failed to successfully complete a domestic violence counseling or education program, or has committed a domestic violence offense or any felony during the pendency of the deferred sentence, the Court shall sentence the defendant to any term the Court could have imposed had the defendant not chosen to proceed under this section.

(e) In order to qualify for the benefits of this section, a defendant whose sentence has been deferred shall attend, fully participate in, and fully cooperate with all programs or treatment sessions to which the defendant is assigned by the Court. Such programs or treatment sessions shall be prescribed for a qualifying defendant on a weekly basis. The treatment or counseling provider shall report to the Court and the appropriate prosecutor when a defendant successfully completes the Domestic Violence Education Program, and shall immediately report to the Court and the appropriate prosecutor when a defendant fails to attend, fully participate in, fully cooperate with or successfully completes any or all prescribed programs or treatment sessions to which the defendant is assigned.

(f) The defendant shall bear the cost of a Domestic Violence Education Program. The Court may refer the defendant to a program that provides appropriate counseling or education services without charge, if available.

(g) A defendant found eligible for the deferred sentence set forth herein shall have an opportunity to consult with an attorney before entering into a deferred sentence agreement. If a defendant elects to plead guilty and receives a deferred sentence as set forth herein, the defendant shall sign a written agreement under which he shall consent and agree to abide by all terms of a protective order, if appropriate, for the period provided by the agreement consistent with Title 16, section 99a(b) of the Virgin Islands Code. The defendant may also agree to waive any rights he may have to speedy disposition of the case.

(h) The terms and conditions of a deferred sentence shall be designed on an individual basis to provide for the protection of the victim and society and the rehabilitation and education of the defendant through treatment and the prohibition of conduct which could lead to violence.

(i) In referring defendants for counseling, preference shall be given for programs or therapists who focus on terminating violent behavior. The Court shall not refer defendants to couples counseling or to family therapy with their victims.

(j) The prosecutor’s office, or the prosecutor’s designee, shall collect and retain the following data:

(1) the number of cases screened for diversion;
(2) the number of cases accepted into the diversion program;
(3) a breakdown of the criminal charges which were filed against defendants who were accepted into the programs;
(4) conditions imposed on diverted defendants;
(5) the number of successful completions;
(6) the number of unsuccessful terminations;
(7) the reasons for unsuccessful terminations;
(8) the duration of defendant’s participation in the diversion program; and
(9) the disposition of criminal charges and sentence imposed on defendants rejected and on defendants who were terminated from the diversion program. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Probation Office shall monitor the progress of a defendant during the pendency of a deferred sentence and shall immediately report any violations of the conditions thereto to the Court.