Courts that specialize in drug rehabilitation and juvenile crimes are quite common, but courts that specifically deal with treating veterans are still a relatively new concept.
These courts often target the causes behind veteran criminal behavior and try to resolve cases through treatment and support rather than incarceration.
Why veterans often need their own courts
More than half of the 2.6 million veterans who returned from Iraq have severe conditions that impact their everyday lives. Whether it’s addiction, PTSD or other types of mental illness, these circumstances can make it difficult for service members to adjust to post-military life. Unfortunately, a veteran’s mental health status can sometimes lead them to unemployment, homelessness and even criminal charges. The justice system in the U.S. has traditionally relied on punishing veterans for crimes in hopes of improving their behavior, but that has not always worked. By putting veterans charged with crimes through their own court system, it can provide them alternatives to jail or prison. It can also help them gain access to benefits, treatments, volunteer and educational services they’ve earned through their sacrifices.
To qualify for Veterans Court in the state of California, applicants must:
- Have served in the military.
- Plead guilty in a criminal case.
- Be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, substance abuse or other forms of trauma.
- Agree to participate in a 15-18-month program.
Veterans deserve the right to receive treatment
Countless veterans have sacrificed their lives to protect the United States. Unfortunately, they have not always gotten the proper care for their service. If you are a veteran charged with a crime in California, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help assess your qualifications and get you the treatment you deserve.