California recognizes the unique challenges faced by veterans and active-duty military personnel suffering from trauma or mental health issues.
In response, the state has implemented a provision known as ‘military diversion.’ This program allows eligible individuals to receive treatment instead of jail time, and upon successful completion, have their charges dismissed.
Below, we’ll break down how the program works and who is eligible. If you are interested in pursuing military diversion, the best thing to do is contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.
What is Military Diversion in California?
Military diversion is a special form of pretrial diversion, authorized by California Penal Code 1001.80 PC.
It allows the judge to postpone criminal proceedings for misdemeanor crimes, providing you the opportunity to receive treatment for specific conditions that may have arisen from your military service.
This treatment-focused approach doesn’t require a guilty or no contest plea and offers an alternative to jail time.
What Conditions Qualify Me for Military Diversion?
To qualify for military diversion in California, you must be, or have been, a member of one of the branches of the United States military. Furthermore, as a result of your service, you may be suffering from one or more of the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sexual trauma
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Substance abuse/addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Other mental health problems
It’s important to note that these conditions must be directly related to your military service.
What Offenses are Eligible for Military Diversion?
Military diversion is available for a variety of misdemeanor offenses. Some common examples include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Public intoxication
- Driving under the influence
- Drug possession
- Assault and battery
How Does Military Diversion Work?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, your defense attorney will typically request military diversion from the court. Upon approval and with your consent, you’ll be placed in a pretrial diversion program. Your treatment could involve federal or community-based programs, with a preference for those with a proven track record of effectively treating military-related trauma.
The length of treatment can range from 12 to 24 months, during which time you must comply with all conditions imposed by the court or the assigned diversion program.
Will My Arrest Record be Sealed if I Complete Military Diversion?
Yes, upon the satisfactory completion of your diversion program, the charges against you will be dismissed.
Additionally, the record of your arrest or diversion cannot be used in a manner that could result in the denial of employment, benefits, licenses, or certificates. You’re even legally allowed to state that you were never arrested or diverted for the offense in question, greatly enhancing future employment prospects.
How Do I Get Military Diversion in My Case?
Securing a military diversion in your case begins with hiring an experienced California criminal defense lawyer. Robert M. Helfend is a seasoned professional with a track record of helping veterans navigate the complexities of military diversion.
If you or a loved one is a California veteran struggling with PTSD or related issues and facing criminal charges, call Robert M. Helfend today at 800-834-6434. It’s never too early to start building a robust defense strategy, and securing the benefits of military diversion could make a significant difference in your future.