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Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is a selfless act that not many people are willing to make. While both active duty members and veterans typically take great pride in their service, these men and women often endure traumatic events.
Suffering extreme trauma can influence a person’s behavior and actions, which on occasion manifests in criminal behavior. The Military Diversion program might be an option for those who are facing misdemeanor charges in California.
Military Diversion gives service members and veterans the option to receive necessary medical care in lieu of further criminal proceedings. Charges are dismissed upon successful completion of the program, which includes a number of treatments and requirements. This program is not appropriate for everyone, though, and only applies to individuals who are facing misdemeanor charges, not felonies. Individuals who were previously convicted for the same or a similar charge may be more appropriately served by the Veteran’s Treatment Court, which occurs post-conviction rather than before.
To qualify for Military Diversion, a person must meet several criteria. In addition to being a former or current member of the military who is only charged with a misdemeanor, he or she must also be suffering from trauma related to service, consents to waive rights for a speedy trial and must not have utilized Military Diversion for another case. Examples of service-related trauma include post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma and more.
This process for securing a Military Diversion is time sensitive, so defendants should be sure to file as early in the process as possible. After filing, all planned court dates will be vacated. If approved, he or she must adhere to specific conditions relevant to the situation. This could include receiving treatment for between 12 and 24 months or undergoing random alcohol and drug testing. Counseling for mental health issues, substance abuse and PTSD are other examples of possible conditions.
There is no guarantee that filing for Military Diversion will yield favorable results. Even those who qualify might mistakenly miss a deadline or undergo an assessment with the incorrect entity. For these reasons, service members and veterans who are facing misdemeanor charges should consider speaking with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney. Doing so can not only provide clarity on these complicated matters, but can also ensure that defendants’ rights are upheld throughout the process.