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  The V.I. Department of Justice will provide excellent, independent, and ethical legal services for the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to achieve justice and to assert, protect, and defend the rights of the people.
Office of the Attorney General
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Solicitor General Division
Civil Division
Criminal Division
Domestic Violence Unit
Family/Special Victims Unit
Bureau of Investigations
White Collar Crime and Public Corruption Section
The Division of Gaming Enforcement
Virgin Islands Civil Rights Commission
Paternity & Child Support Division
Victim Services Unit
Sexual Offender Registry
  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
 
Office of the Attorney General  
 
   
  Can the Office of the Attorney General provide me with advice or an Opinion on a legal matter?  
   
       No. By law, the Office of the Attorney General may only issue advice or opinions to the the governor, legislature, and any department, board, commission, agency, instrumentality, or officer of the Government of the Virgin Islands regarding legal matters.  
   
 
Solicitor General Division  
 
   
  What are the hours of operation of the Solicitor General Division?  
   
  The Solicitor General Division is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of legal holidays and days when the employees of the Government of the Virgin Islands are granted administrative leave.  
   
  Does the Solicitor General Division provide legal advice to the public?  
   
  No.  The Solicitor General Division provides legal advice only to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Executive Branch agencies and all Government of the Virgin Islands Boards and Commissions.  
   
  Can I apply through the Solicitor General Divsion to be permitted access to Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Statements?  
   
 

Yes.  Part One of the two part Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Statement is made available during office hours to responsible public inquiry. All inquiries are subject to regulations issued by the Attorney General, which shall require at a minimum, but not necessarily be limited to: identification, occupation, address, and telephone number of each person examining the information filed under Part One of the Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Statement, and the reason for each inquiry.

 
   
  Does the Solicitor General Division make decisions regarding an inmate's application for parole?  
   
  No. While the Parole Board is located within the Solicitor General Division for administrative purposes only, the Parole Board makes all decisions regarding requests for parole.
 
   
 

Does the Solicitor General Division release information to the public regarding contracts being considered for a certification of legal sufficiency?

 
   
 

No.  The Solicitor General Division communicates only with the Department of Property & Procurement regarding contracts which are being considered for a certification of legal sufficiency. In rare instances, the Solicitor General Division may communicate with the agency that has submitted the contract through the Department of Property & Procurement . As a general rule, the Division does not communicate directly with contractors.

 
   
 
Civil Division  
 
   
  Can the Civil Division of the Attorney General represent me in a civil lawsuit?  
   
       The Civil Division only represents government employees and officers in their individual capacity for actions taken during the course and scope of their employment with the Government. The Civil Division also represents departments, boards, agencies, commissions and instrumentalities of the Government of the Virgin Islands. If you are not a government employee or officer, and are being sued in your individual capacity, this is considered a private dispute. You should consult with and seek representation from private counsel.  
   
 
Criminal Division  
 
   
 

How do I go about filing a complaint?

 
   
 

    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.

 
   
 

What happens after a police officer files 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.  

 

 
   
 

What happens after the person is arrested?

 
   
 

     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.

 
   
 

How do I get a Restraining Order?

 
   
 

     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.

 
   
 

What if I decide to drop the charges and/ or not testify?

 
   
 

     The “victim” in a criminal case cannot “drop” the charges filed by the Department of Justice. The decision whether to “drop” to “press” charges is made by the Attorney General or a duly authorized Assistant Attorney General in accordance with the policy of the Department.

 
   
 

What happens if someone tries to force me to drop the charges or attempts to keep me from testifying?

 
   
 

      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.

 
   
 

Do I, the victim/ and or witness have to attend the trial?

 
   
 

     Yes. Approximately two weeks prior to the scheduled trial date you should receive a subpoena to appear in court.

 
   
 

Can I talk to the prosecutor about my case?

 
   
       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.

 
   
 

What is sentencing?

 
   
       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.   
   
 

What is restitution?

 
   
 

     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.

 
   
 

What happens if the defendant doesn’t pay restitution?

 
   
 

     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.

 
   
 

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

 
   
       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  
   
 
Domestic Violence Unit  
 
   
  What is Domestic Violence?  
   
 

     “Domestic Violence” is the occurrence of a criminal act, as defined by Title 16 Virgin Islands Code Section 91, including but not limited to Assault, Battery, Burglary, and/or attempts or threats against a person who may be protected under the law. Protected persons include a spouse or former spouse, parent or child, person related by blood or marriage, household member, a person with whom the perpetrator had a sexual or otherwise intimate relationship.    
    
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior which, without intervention, is likely to increase over time in both frequency and severity, too often ending in death of the victim.

 
   
  How do I get a restraining order?  
   
 

     The Office of Attorney General does not issue restraining orders. However, a victim of domestic violence and/or abuse may obtain a restraining order, or protection order, by filing a petition in the Family Division of the Superior Court, Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center.
     The Family Court may grant a temporary restraining order and upon hearing of the complaint, may grant a “permanent” restraining order, effective for a period of twenty four (24) months, unless otherwise extended, renewed or modified, to enjoin, restrain and/or prohibit an individual from abusing, contacting, assaulting, threatening, intimidating and/or inflicting any other form of abuse against the protected person.
     Domestic Violence Advocates, from either private Agencies or the Virgin Islands Police Department are available to help with filing restraining orders.

 
   
  What do I do if the Respondent fails to comply with the restraining order?  
   
       The violation of a lawful restraining order may constitute a criminal offense, pursuant to Title 14 Virgin Islands Code Section 582a. Restraining Order violations are investigated and prosecuted by the Domestic Violence Unit.  
   
  Why did I, the victim, get a subpoena to appear in court?  
   
       The “victim” in a domestic violence case is treated as a government witness in a criminal case. As a government witness, the “victim” may be served with a subpoena from the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands commanding his/her appearance in court at a date and time set by the Court to give testimony regarding the facts and circumstances of the case.  
   
 

What if I, the victim, want to drop the charges?

 
   
       The “victim” in a domestic violence case cannot “drop” the charges filed by the Department of Justice. The decision whether or nor to “drop” or to “press” charges is made by the Attorney General or a duly authorized Assistant Attorney General in accordance with the policy of the Department.  
   
 
Family/Special Victims Unit  
 
   
  Is there anything I can do if my minor child is:

(a)    skipping school
(b)    failing to adhere to a set curfew
(c)    engaging in criminal activity
 
   
       At the onset, a parent or legal guardian experiencing any problems with his or her minor child should contact the Department of Human Services. If more stringent measures are needed, a parent or legal guardian should contact this unit to file a Petition for Persons In Need of Supervision ("PINS") with the Family Court Division of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands. If the petition is granted, the Family Court will issue an order setting certain conditions with which the minor child must comply. The conditions will vary on a case by case basis.

 
   
  What if my minor child does not comply with the conditions set by the Family Court?  
   
       If your minor child does not comply with the conditions set by the Family Court Judge,  he or she can be held in contempt of court and remanded to the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix.

 
   
  How long can the Judge send my child to the Youth Rehabilitation Center on Saint Croix?  
   
       The Family Court Judge has the discretion to send a minor child to the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix until his or her nineteenth birthday, no matter what the offense may be.

 
   
 

When can a minor be tried as an adult?

 
   
       A minor may be transferred from the Family Court to the Criminal Division of the Superior Court if he or she is fourteen years of age or older at the time the alleged offense was committed, and if the offense charged would be a felony if committed by an adult.  
   
  What can I do if my minor child is dating or having sexual relations with an adult of which I disapprove?  
   
       If you suspect that your minor child is having a sexual relationship with an adult, whether consensual or nonconsensual, it is a crime under Virgin Islands law. You should contact the Department of Justice immediately.  

 
   
 
Bureau of Investigations  
 
   
  How do I file a complaint with the Bureau of Investigations?   
   
 

    The first step in filing a complaint with the Bureau of Investigations is to schedule a meeting with a Special agent or representative of the Bureau to discuss the matter. If it is determined that the matter warrants an investigation by the Bureau, an intake form must then be filled out. Be sure to bring any documents that may support your compaint complaint and a copy of any police report that you may have already filed in regard to the matter.

 
   
  Does the Bureau of Investigations assist with the collection of worthless checks?  
   
       No, the Bureau of Investigations does not assist with the collection of worthless checks. The Bureau handles cases involving return checks of not less than $10,000. All other claims should be refered to the Smalls Claims Court of the Virgin Islands Superior Court. Once a complaint is filed with the Bureau for a worthless check, the complainant should be aware that criminal charges will be filed against the signator of the check regardless of whether the funds are paid in part or in full at some point after the complaint has been filed with the Bureau.  
   
  Once I file a criminal complaint with the Bureau of Investigations, does that guarantee that I will recover my money from the suspect who embezzled it?   
   
       Filing a criminal complaint with the Bureau of Investigations does not guarantee that the complainant will recover his or her money from the suspect who embezzled it. However, once a criminal charge has been filed, restitution may become part of the plea agreement or judgment.  
   
 

How soon will my case be handled?

 
   
       Bureau of Investigations cases are handled on a priority basis with each case being reviewed on its merits. Once a case has been assigned to an investigator, the duration of the investigation depends on the complexity of the matter. Once a case has been filed in Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, the court sets the calendar for when the case will be heard.  
   
 
White Collar Crime and Public Corruption Section  
 
   
  What is White Collar Crime?
 
   
       "White Collar Crime" is a term that refers to a variety of criminal offenses for a variety of frauds, thefts and schemes committed often by business persons, employees, con artists, and public officials. This type of crime often involves lying, cheating or stealing by a person in a position of trust and includes crimes such as consumer fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, bribery, forgery, falsification of records, credit card fraud, check fraud, tax evasion, and theft of public funds.
 
   
  How do I file a complaint if I am a victim of a white collar crime?
 
   
 

      A private citizen who is a victim of a white collar crime may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, White Collar & Public Corruption Division or the Virgin Islands Police Department. Complaints involving public corruption or crimes within the Government believed to be committed by public officials or involving public funds may be reported to either the White Collar & Public Corruption Division or the Office of the Inspector General.

 
   
  How long does it take to complete an investigation?
 
   
 

     The length of an investigation varies on a case by case basis depending on the complexity of the evidence and information, and the placement of the case backlog.  For questions related to the status of your white collar investigation you may contact the law enforcement agency you filed the complaint with, or if you filed your complaint with the White Collar & Public Corruption Division, you may call (340) 774-5666.
     Please be advised that the details of investigations are confidential in nature and may be limited to the public,

 
   
 
The Division of Gaming Enforcement  
 
   
  What is the difference between the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission?
 
   
 

     The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is the investigative and law enforcement arm of the Casino Control Commission. The DGE is a component of the Department of Justice and is under the direct supervision of the Attorney General. The Casino Control Commission regulates casino gaming in the Virgin Islands. When dealing with license applications or regulatory violations, the Division of Gaming Enforcement acts as the police/prosecuting agency while the Casino Control Commission acts in a quasi-judicial manner, ruling on those applications and assessing penalties for any regulatory violations.

 
   
  Does the Division of Gaming Enforcement regulate all types of gaming in the Virgin Islands?  
   
       The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates gaming in licensed casino establishments in the Virgin Islands. The DGE is also responsible for regulating internet gaming. The Virgin Islands Lottery oversees traditional lottery and video lottery. The Virgin Islands Horseracing Commission oversees pari-mutuel betting.
 
   
  What are the requirements to apply for a casino license?  
   
 

     All entities and individuals wishing to do business in a casino establishment must apply for a license with the Casino Control Commission.

 
   
  Where is the Division of Gaming Enforcement located?  
   
       The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is housed in the same building as the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission located at #5 Estate Orange Grove, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI.
 
   
  Who is in charge of the Division of Gaming Enforcement?  
   
       The Division of Gaming Enforcement i(DGE) s under the immediate supervision of a Director who is also sworn as an Assistant Attorney General and oversees the work of the Division under the direction and supervision of the Attorney General.  The Director is appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Virgin Islands Legislature. 
 
   
  How do I file a complaint against a casino?  
   
 

     A complaint against a casino can be filed at the Casino Control Commission Office:
   
 #5 Estate Orange Grove
   
 Christiansted
     St. Croix, USVI
    (340)-773-3616, telephone
    (340)-773-3136, facsimile

 
   
  How long does it take to complete an investigation?  
   
       Background, complaints, and criminal investigations vary on a case-by-case basis. For questions regarding your casino related investigation, call (340)-773-9341.
 
   
 
Virgin Islands Civil Rights Commission  
 
   
  What are your office hours?  
   
  The Civil Rights Commission Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.  
   
  How can I tell if I have been discriminated against?  
   
  If you feel you were treated unfairly because of your race, color, national origin, age, disability, religion, or sex.  
   
  Is a there a deadline for filing a complaint?
 
   
  You must file a complaint with the Commission within 365 days of the date the alleged act of discrimination took place.  
   
  How do I file a complaint?  
   
  You can begin the process by downloading one of our technical assistance questionnaires online or you may come into the VICRC Office on St. Thomas or St. Croix to fill out a questionnaire in person.  
   
  Is there a fee to file a complaint with your office?  
   
  No fee is assessed for filing a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission.  
   
  Can I lose my job for filing a discrimination complaint?  
   
  No. Under the Civil Rights Law an employee is protected from disciplinary action or termination by his or her employer for filing a discrimination complaint.  
   
 
Paternity & Child Support Division  
 
   
 

How much do Paternity & Child Support services cost?

 
   
       If you are now receiving financial assistance through TANF or Federally-assisted Foster Care Program, you qualify to receive free services. For all other applicants, there is a $20 application fee per case and an annual $25.00 maintenance fee for each case receiving $500 in collections.  
   
 

Who can use the program?

 
   
       Any father or mother who is the custodial parent or other adult who has custody of a minor and needs help with any of the services we offer such as establishing and enforcing child support, establishing medical support and/or health insurance coverage and establishing paternity. In the Virgin Islands a non-custodial father may also apply for services provided that he is not contesting paternity.  
   
 

Do I have to pay again if I close and reopen my case?

 
   
 

     If you are now receiving financial assistance through TANF or Federally-assisted Foster Care Program, you qualify to receive free services. For all other applicants, there is a $25 fee to reopen a case and an annual $25.00 maintenance fee for each case receiving $500 in collections.

 
   
 

Does PCSD provide an attorney to help me with my case?

 

 
   
       No. The child support Attorney does not represent either parent. There is no attorney/client relationship. PCSD attorneys represent only the government’s interest in ensuring that the best interests of the child(ren) are served.  While it is not required, you may hire a private attorney to represent you during this process.  
   
 
Sexual Offender Registry  
 
   
 

Who is required to register as a sex offender?

 
   
 

     Pursuant to local law, any person who is convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a sexually criminal offense against a minor or a sexually violent offense on or after July 1, 1994 in a court of the Virgin Islands, a foreign court, or a federal or military court shall register their names on the sex offender registry maintained and housed by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice. However all persons convicted of a sex offense, as defined by federal law, are also required to register in the Virgin Islands if they are employed, attend school, or reside in the territory.