You served us.Let us serve you.

“It is in the interests of justice to restore a defendant who acquired a criminal record due to a mental health disorder stemming from service in the United States military to the community of law abiding citizens”

Are You a Veteran or Current Military Service member?

Are You Facing Criminal Charges? We Can Help!

Veterans are afforded certain criminal law protections, allowing their service to be considered as part of their case. That is why it is crucial for the court to be informed about your service. If they apply, there are several possible ways a veteran can use his or her service when facing criminal charges:

• Military Diversion: for veterans charged with a misdemeanor and who have PTSD, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, substance abuse or mental health problems as a result of their service. If granted, military diversion allows the defendant to participate in a treatment program instead of being incarcerated. If the program is successfully completed, the case will be dismissed and the record can be sealed.

• Veteran’s Treatment Court: for veterans charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and whom the court believes will benefit from a treatment program. The veteran must suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, psychological challenges, or substance abuse as a result of their service. The program is at least 18 months long and allows each veteran to receive mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, gain connection to social, medical and housing services, and be mentored by a combat veteran mentor.  Upon successful completion, the veteran as the opportunity to have the case dismissed, received a reduced charge, and/or have the conviction expunged.

• Penal Code Section 1170.9: Requires a judge to consider the fact of a veterans military service at sentencing, particularly when determining whether probation is an appropriate result. The prior requirement that a veteran have combat experience or exposure is no longer required.

• Post-conviction relief: clean up your misdemeanor and/or felony record by pursuing a Proposition 47 resentencing, Expungement (i.e. Penal Code section 1203.4 dismissal), a Certificate of Rehabilitation, or a Pardon.

Did You Know? Staggering Statistics

Veteran Mental Health Disorders
Since 2004, the number of veterans being treated for mental illness and substance-use disorders has increased 38%.  It is estimated that out of the over 2.4 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 460,000 (20%) suffer from PTSD or major depression.

Veteran Substance Abuse
1 in 6 post 9/11 veterans (about 345,000 people) has a substance abuse problem.  Prescription drug abuse among U.S. military personnel doubled between 2002 and 2005, and almost tripled over the next 3 years.

Veteran Suicide
18 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S.

Military Sexual Trauma
In 2010, over 19,000 sexual assaults were reported in the military and 108,121 male and female veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma.  Over 20% of the women who serve in the military will be sexually assaulted.

Veteran Homelessness
1/3 of America’s homeless are veterans. On any given night 67,000 veterans are on the streets.  Orange County and LA have 2 of the highest veterans homeless and jailed veteran population in the country, and the majority suffer from substance abuse, mental illness or co-occurring disorders.

Veteran Unemployment
The unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans is 10%, which is far higher than the national average.

Tell your attorney you are a veteran.

Make sure that the criminal statutes relating to military personnel and veterans are invoked to help you, if they apply. Use the MIL 100 form to declare your military status. Click the link below to download the form.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/mil100.pdf

The U.S. Supreme Court stated that our country has “a long tradition of according leniency to veterans in recognition of their service, especially for those who fought on front lines.”

Veteran Statutes

Veteran statutes are laws designed to help veterans by taking into account their military service.

Alternative Sentencing
(Penal Code § 1170.9)

  • Available to a defendant who is/was a member of the U.S. military
  • Defendant has traumatic brain injury, PTSD, sexual trauma, substance abuse, or mental health problems
  • Court considers the above conditions a factor in favor of granting probation and in favor of mitigation
  • Court can allow for treatment instead of incarceration
  • Court may dismiss fees and fines, seal records

Military Diversion
(Penal Code § 1001.80)

  • Available to a defendant who is/was a member of the U.S. military and is facing a misdemeanor charge
  • Defendant has PTSD, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, substance abuse or mental health problems as a result of their service
  • Allows the defendant to participate in a treatment program instead of being incarcerated
  • If the treatment program is successfully completed, the misdemeanor case will be dismissed and possibly sealing of court and arrest records
Gavel,Law theme, mallet of judge

“It is in the interests of justice to restore a defendant who acquired a criminal record due to a mental health disorder stemming from service in the United States military to the community of law abiding citizens”

Veteran’s Treatment Court

Goals:

  • To provide a collaborative treatment strategy for veterans in the criminal justice system who suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, psychological problems, or substance abuse
  • To reduce participant contact with the criminal justice system
  • To introduce participants to an ongoing process of recovery designed to help them become stabled, employed, substance-free civilians

For who?

  • Those with misdemeanor and/or felony cases
  • Someone whom the treatment team believes will benefit from the program
  • Defendant has PTSD, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, substance abuse or mental health problems as a result of their service

Benefits:

  • Allows the individual to participate in a program at least 18-months long
  • The program includes mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment
  • Allows veteran to be connected to social services, medical services, and housing
  • Each participant is paired with a volunteer combat veteran mentor to guide and support the veteran
Judges chair in court room

About Proposition 47

For more information: http://myprop47.org

Reduces some felonies to misdemeanors, such as:

  • Shoplifting of goods less than $950
  • Personal possession of drugs
  • Receipt of stolen property
  • Burglary of a commercial business during business hours
  • Forgery
  • Insufficient funds
  • Possibly theft of access cards of account information

For who?

  • Inmate in jail or prison serving a sentence for a Prop. 47 eligible offense
  • Probationers, Parolees, and anyone on AB109 supervision (PCRS and Mandatory Supervision)
  • Anyone whose sentence has completed but conviction is on their record
  • No Super Strikes, (murder, attempt murder, forcible rape, molest) but strike priors are okay
  • Cannot be a 290 registrant

Want to work together? We would love to hear from you.