How Does Being a Military Veteran Affect My Case?
California veterans and active-duty military personnel suffering from trauma or mental health issues may be eligible for military diversion. This allows defendants to receive rehabilitation rather than serving time in prison, and the charges are eventually dropped.
Typically, the defendant's California criminal defense attorney will request a diversion from the court. Following that, the court may or may not demand an assessment to aid in its decision-making. The defendant will be placed in a pretrial diversion program if the court believes that he or she qualifies – and if the defendant consents. The defendant's criminal case will be postponed for up to two years while he undergoes therapy.
Military diversion is a sort of pretrial diversion made possible under California Penal Code 1001.80 PC, which permits a court to postpone criminal proceedings while the defendant obtains treatment for PTSD, sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury ("TBI"), substance misuse, or mental health difficulties. However, the defendant's military duty must have caused the problem. Furthermore, first-time offenders are frequently given military diversion.
Veterans' Court is mainly reserved for defendants who have been convicted of the same offense before. Military diversion does not provide the same framework or control as veteran's court.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that affects certain people after they have been through a terrible incident such as a fight or a sexual assault. PTSD does not affect everyone who has experienced a stressful event. Some people go through a hard patch but quickly recover. Others experience severe symptoms that last for weeks. This is referred to as "acute stress disorder," or "ASD." If the symptoms persist, the person may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") defines "military sexual trauma" as 38 U.S. Code 1720D. According to 38 U.S.C. 1720D, "psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training" is defined as "psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training."
"Repeated, unwanted sexual verbal or physical contact that is threatening in character" is also what sexual harassment is classified as. Acts that fall under the banner of military sexual trauma include rape, forced oral copulation, object penetration, sexual battery, groping, coerced sex, threatening, unpleasant words about a person's body or sexual activities, and threatening and uninvited sexual approaches. It makes no difference whether the military member was on duty, on base, or off base at the time of the assault or harassment.
Traumatic brain injury, sometimes known as TBI, is a type of cognitive impairment caused by a violent impact to the head or body. A serious fall or an object piercing brain tissue, such as a gunshot, might cause it. Explosive bursts are also a common cause of traumatic brain injury in military personnel. According to studies, the pressure pulse passing through the brain has a significant impact on brain function.
Traumatic brain damage can be caused by penetrating wounds, severe head injuries from shrapnel or debris, and falls or physical collisions with objects as a result of a bomb or car accident. When a military member is on active duty or active duty for training, the VA deems the encounter MST.
In addition to people suffering from PTSD, sexual trauma, or TBI, military diversion is available to those suffering from substance abuse or other mental health issues (including severe depression). The court must determine if the defendant's illness was caused by his military service and whether treatment will benefit him.
The court will decide whether the criminal must participate in a federal or community-based treatment program. Priority will be given to treatment programs that have a track record of successfully treating persons who have suffered trauma as a result of their military service. Such programs include those sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, although they are not the only ones.
The court and the appointed treatment program may work together with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to maximize a veteran's benefits and services. The court may alternatively send the defendant to the county mental health authority if the agency agrees to accept responsibility for all of the following: defendant treatment, coordination of appropriate referral to a county veterans service officer, and submission of reports with the court. The defendant must comply with any and all obligations imposed by the court or the specified diversion program.