Office of the Territorial Public Defender, U.S. Virgin Islands

// FAQ – Criminal

What are the things the court considers in setting bail?

In setting bail the two main factors the courts considers is whether or not the person is a flight risk, and whether the person is a danger to the community.

Is a ten percent reduction in bail automatic?

No, any reductions in bail has to be ordered by the Judge currently handling your matter.

Who can act as a Third Party custodian?

Generally any responsible adult the court deems fit. The third party custodian will act to ensure the individual being released complies with his/her release conditions, and if not the court will be notified of the non-compliance. A person who has no criminal record. A person living in Public Housing often will not be eligible to act as a third party custodian because many housing communities do not allow persons with active cases to live in the community if there names are not on the lease.

What are the types of Bail/Release?

  1. Cash Bail Bond. A sum of money designated in an order fixing bail and posted with the court by a defendant or by another person on his/her behalf.
  2. Surety Bond. An undertaking by the defendant and his sureties, jointly or severally, that the defendant shall appear for trial or any related proceeding as ordered and if he/she fails to do so, he and the sureties shall pay the Virgin Islands Government the amount set by the court as bail for the defendant, or the property used to secure the defendant’s release may be forfeited. Property must be worth twice the amount of the bail. Property must be unencumbered by liens or mortgages.
  3. Unsecured Bail Bond. A bail bond in an amount for which the defendant is personally liable upon his failure to appear in court when ordered to do so or upon his breach of a material condition of release, but which is not secured by any deposit of or lien upon property.
  4. Personal Recognizance. Is a release based upon the person’s own promise that he/she will appear for trial or any proceeding as ordered by the court.

(d) Third Party custodian. The court may require a third party custodian to further ensure the release and the appearance of the defendant.

What is Arraignment?

Generally Arraignment is the procedure in a Criminal case where the Defendant is given an opportunity to enter a formal plea, to hear the reading of the complaint or information filed against him/her, receive a Judge assignment and some upcoming court dates.

What happens at the advice of rights hearing?

During this aspect of the criminal process the court hears testimony from witnesses to determine if there is cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it.

How will I know when I should appear in court?

You will be notified of your next court appearance by the Clerks Office at the Court or by contacting your Attorney.

Can I choose the Judge I want to be assigned to our case?

No. Cases are assigned by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.

When will I know what Judge is handling my case?

The judge that will be presiding over the duration of your case will be assigned on the day of your arraignment.

Can I choose a Public Defender?

No. Attorneys are assigned to specific courtrooms. If your case is assigned to an attorney’s designated court, then that will be your attorney.