The Criminal Division, under the supervision of the Criminal Division Chiefs in the Districts of St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix, is responsible for the prosecution, in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, of all criminal matters on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands, which include felony, misdemeanor and traffic violation cases.
The Criminal Division also prosecutes matters in the Family Court involving juvenile delinquency and litigates child abuse and neglect cases on behalf of the Department of Human Services.
The Criminal Division also handles Family Court cases seeking Involuntary Commitment of the Mentally Ill and Guardianship cases at the
request of the Department of Human Services.
The Criminal Division includes three specialized units: the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, the Family/Special Victims Unit, and the Victim Services Unit.
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
Criminal charges generally begin with an investigation by a law enforcement agency, usually the Virgin Islands Police Department so, you should start there. If your case involves unique circumstances, our office will assist you in determining the appropriate agency with which to make a report.
If the person is not arrested on site, the matter is referred to the Attorney General’s Office to determine if the facts warrant the filing of a formal complaint. Before such a complaint is filed, the prosecutor must determine whether he or she can prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and must consider the totality of the circumstances when making this determination.
The defendant is brought before the court for an initial hearing. The defendant is given a copy of the charging information, which is read aloud by a Judge. The defendant enters a plea; a bond is set by the court and a determination is made as to the defendant’s ability to pay for an attorney. If the defendant is unable to pay for an attorney, the court will appoint one to him or her. Finally, the court will set pre-trial conference and trial dates.
The Attorney General’s Office does not issue restraining orders. To obtain a restraining order, contact the Virgin Islands Superior Court for information on its filing procedures.
Intimidating, threatening and/or harassing a witness is a criminal offense. You should immediately contact the prosecutor, police officer, or detective handling your case. An arrest warrant may be issued for the defendant and his or her bail can be revoked.
I received a “subpoena” or court order to appear in court and offer my testimony regarding the facts and circumstances of the case. Must I comply with this court order and if so, will I get paid to testify?
In the event that you fail to appear in court as ordered the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. Victims and witnesses are not compensated for their testimony or for lost wages and other incidental expenses incurred as a result of having to appear in court.
Yes. Approximately two weeks prior to the scheduled trial date you should receive a subpoena to appear in court.
If you are a victim or witness, you are entitled to, and should be able to speak to the Assistant Attorney General handling your case. Be aware that Prosecutors have many other cases to handle, and while your case is important to our office, keep in mind that the Assistant Attorney General’s time is his or her most cherished asset. Please keep your inquiries brief and to the point.
What if the defendant’s attorney or other individual acting on behalf of the defendant contacts me about the case?
These individuals have the right to contact you; however, you also have the right not to speak with them. Contact the prosecutor handling your case prior to talking with anyone acting on behalf of the defendant. Always ask for identification from the individual(s) wanting to talk to you.
Sentencing occurs after a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of a crime by a judge or jury. A sentence could include jail time, probation, or other form of punishment as deemed appropriate by the court.
The court may order a person convicted of a crime to make restitution to the victim, the victim’s estate, or to the family of a deceased victim for certain expenses related to the crime.
The defendant may be required to appear in court to explain why restitution was not paid. The court could then give the defendant additional time to pay. If he or she fails to do so the court may sentence the defendant to jail.
The victim or family member of a victim has a right to make an oral or written statement to the Court about how you were affected by this crime – emotionally, physically and financially – after a defendant is convicted but before he or she is sentenced for his or her crime. The statement may also include your feelings as to what punishment you think is appropriate for the crime committed, including restitution