Every veteran should be proud of their service to our country. At Law Office of Michael L. Fell we appreciate the sacrifices that have been made. Unfortunately, one of the sacrifices that is too often required is a serviceperson’s mental health. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often not taken seriously or treated properly. It can lead to a variety of issues – some of which could come with criminal cases.
The good news is that if you are a veteran who has been accused of criminal activity, you may qualify for the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) which may be a better option for you than a California criminal court. Keep reading to learn more and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you would like a free legal consultation.
The Veterans Treatment Court is a Special Court for Service Members
The VTC is a special court that handles criminal cases of current and former service members. The VTC works as a team to look at the violation and find a solution that will actually help the defendant – without incarcerating them. There is a rehab program that may include health counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, regular court evaluations, and drug and alcohol testing.
VTCs are overseen by judges who specialize in this unique process. These judges understand the unique needs of service people and how the VHA, VBA, and State Department of Veterans Affairs can help, along with other veterans service organizations.
Not Everyone is Eligible for Veterans Treatment Court
There are a few factors that must be in place for a person to be eligible for VTC. First, you must have been an active member or reservist in a United States military branch. You must plead guilty in a criminal case in which you are eligible for probation, the crime cannot have been gang-related or a sex crime, you must have one of several diagnosed mental illnesses, you must have been honorably discharged from the military.
If you meet the above requirements and are eligible then you must agree to be part of the program for 15 – 18 months.
Applying to Have Your Case Heard by a VTC
There are 33 Veterans Court in California in nearly 30 counties. Every court has its own process for requesting that the case be heard by them. After you have applied, you may be required to get an evaluation by a mental health professional or another specialist. The judge may request to meet with your defense attorney.
It is important to remember that VTC is not right for everyone. Remember that you must plead guilty for the crime. If there is another way to defend yourself and be found not guilty, that may be the best option. VTC is meant to change the sentence you face – not the crime you face. If you are wondering what your best options are then we strongly recommend you contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free case evaluation.