By: Frances Prizzia | Military Defense

For a military member, even when your time at war is over, the effects of combat can stay with you, continuing to hurt you and sometimes having a severe and lasting impact your life. Serving in the U.S. military is a difficult job that few can handle, which is why there are policies in place to protect service members. If a military service member should ever find him or herself facing charges because of a mental health problem caused by military service, there are options besides conviction.

Under the California Penal Code, section 1001.80, active military members facing criminal charges may apply for a diversion as an alternative to facing a criminal conviction. A military diversion program will suspend charges while the military member completes the program, which is designed to enact a positive and effective reform in all participants. One the program is complete, charges will be dismissed and the criminal conviction will not appear on the military member’s record.

Active duty members as well as military veterans qualify for pretrial diversion programs. Besides this qualification, the defendant must be charged with a misdemeanor and must be suffering from some type of health issue as a result of military service.

The following conditions may be considered:

· Sexual trauma

· Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

· Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

· Substance abuse

· Mental health problems due to military service

By choosing to participate in a military diversion program, the defendant waves his or her rights to a speedy trial. Additionally, the defendant must not have participated in the military diversion program for another case. Medical records and documentation proving the heath issues in question are vital in qualifying, and should be obtained without delay.

If you face a more serious charge than a misdemeanor but you are an active military member or veteran, there are still options for you besides conviction. California law aims to protect U.S. military members suffering trauma or mental health issues and has alternative sentencing options for those who qualify.

To determine if you qualify and if a pretrial diversion program is best for your particular situation, it is always best to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Prizzia at The Law Office of Frances Prizzia is familiar cases involving military members facing criminal charges and she is committed to working in your best interest. Don’t trust your case to just anyone, see a competent, award-winning lawyer who knows how to defend you and will work hard to help you avoid a criminal record and conviction.

For a free consultation, contact at The Law Office of Frances Prizzia, about your military criminal defense case today!

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