Veterans Court for DUI Arrests in California
As a veteran of the United States military that has been charged with driving while under the influence in the state of California you have a handful of specific rights that you can take advantage of that are not afforded to average civilians.
Veterans that have been diagnosed with psychological and emotional trauma stemming from their time in the US military also have specific protections if they are charged with driving while under the influence, with both these types of veterans able to take advantage of pretrial military diversion programs rather than having to face traditional misdemeanor charges.
This new diversionary program was established by the California state legislature as part of amendments made to the Penal Code under Section 1001.80. These specific amendments are designed to provide US military veterans that are facing misdemeanor DUI charges to move forward with pretrial diversion programs that allow them to avoid traditional prosecution.
To better help you understand how this pretrial diversionary program is established we’ve put together this quick guide.
What exactly is a pretrial diversion program, anyway?
For starters, the new amendments to Section 1001.80 of the California State Penal Code specifically declare pretrial diversion programs to be an alternative method that either temporarily (or permanently) suspends and avoids individual prosecution of US military veterans that have been accused of driving while under the influence.
This program is set up similar to a probationary program or a deferred adjudication program, working in conjunction with the California State Veteran’s Court program that has been established by the state legislature.
Individuals that are moved into this pretrial diversionary program have an opportunity to move forward with a variety of different treatment protocols in lieu of prosecution. Those that are able to successfully move forward through those treatment protocols (and report that successful completion back to the court in a timely manner) will find that they are no longer subject to any criminal charges whatsoever.
This diversionary program was established specifically to help military veterans that have given so much to our nation and have come back from their service with physical, psychological, and emotional scars.
Veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, suffering with substance abuse or mental health issues, as well as those that have been subjected to sexual and physical trauma are all prime candidates for this kind of diversionary approach when they have been charged with a DUI.
Are all military members able to take advantage of the pretrial program?
As highlighted above, only military veterans that have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, substance abuse or mental health issues, or sexual and/or physical trauma will qualify for this kind of program.
Active duty, reserve duty, and US military veterans that do not have these kinds of records are not going to be eligible for the pretrial diversionary program at all under this specific section of the California State Penal Code.
At the end of the day, if you have been arrested or charged with a DUI as a US military veteran it’s important to speak with your lawyer about whether or not you are eligible for this kind of program and how to best forward if you are.