The Courts in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles County, as well as the City attorney and the Public Defender’s Office have compiled information regarding the military diversion programs for the purpose of assisting the members of our armed forces who are facing misdemeanor charges. The purpose of this article is to explain the optimal practices and procedures regarding eligibility for the program; this should not be construed as the decisive guide. If you feel you meet the requirements to be eligible to the military diversion program, contact one of the many skilled attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm immediately. There are numerous benefits to entering into the Military Diversion Program rather accepting a plea deal, or facing potential conviction for a DUI.
IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM, AN INDIVIDUAL MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
- Eligibility is restricted to people facing misdemeanor charges. This means you are eligible, even if you are facing a large number of charges, provided they are all misdemeanors as opposed to felonies.
- You must be a current member of the United States armed service, or have been previously enlisted in the armed forces.
- You must currently be suffering from PTSD, sexual trauma, a brain injury, mental health problem that was caused by your service in the military, or suffer from addiction involving drugs or alcohol.
- You must waive your right to a speedy trial, and consent to enrollment in the Military Diversion Program.
- You must have not have been enrolled in a Military Diversion Program previously.
EVENTS THAT MAY EXCLUDE YOU FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM
- If you have had a previous conviction for an offense that is similar to the misdemeanor you are currently facing, it is recommended that you seek out a post-conviction appearance before the Veteran’s Treatment Court. The Veteran Treatment Court has the capacity to provide more supervision, and structure, to armed service members who qualify for their diversion program. Participation in this program has the possibility of resulting in your criminal conviction being dismissed.
- If you have entered into the Military Diversion Program multiple times, this may prevent your ability to obtain the higher degree of treatment options that would be an option if you utilize the services of the Veteran’s Treatment Court. It should be noted that there is a possibility that you will only be able to enroll in the Military Diversion Program once.
HOW TO BE ADMITTED TO THE MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM
- If you believe you qualify for the Military Diversion program, you should inform your attorney at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm immediately, so that they can submit the proper paperwork for entrance into the Military Diversion Program, as well as the required Waiver of Rights Form; this will be referred to as a Military Diversion Request; this should be filed as soon as possible, and prior to a final determination on the charges against you.
- Once the court receives the Military Diversion Request from the attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm, they Court will remove future court dates that you were previously ordered to attend, and instead set a date for a hearing to determine your eligibility. In addition to the Court receiving the Military Diversion Program Request, the District Attorney’s Office will also receive the request, along with the date of your hearing.
- The attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm must serve the District Attorney with a Motion for entrance into the Military Diversion Program, along with a statement proving your eligibility for admittance into the program. Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm will provide all supporting document required by law; this includes evidence of your service in the armed forces, a professional evaluation that you suffer from one of the required maladies, and a treatment plan from an approved healthcare provider along with that healthcare provider’s recommendation for inclusion in the program. All of this will be provided within 15 days of the hearing date, which the Court set to determine your eligibility for the military Diversion Program. It is uncommon to occur, but if there is an objection to our admission to the Military Diversion Program, the District Attorney must file their opposition within 5 days of the hearing date.
- In the event that the court determines that you do not meet the requirements for admission into the Military Diversion Program, or in the alternative, that the Military Diversion Program would not be beneficial to you, the Court will deny the motion and reinstate all previous dates for the charges against you.
- In the event that the court determines that you are a proper candidate for the Military Diversion Program, and the Court further determines that the Military Diversion Program would be beneficial to you; the court will grant you request for admission for a period of up to 2 years. In addition to granting the motion, the Court will also postpone the criminal charges against until your completion of the Military Diversion Program. If you are granted admission to the program, the Court will generally attach certain terms and conditions to your admission into the program; as well as set hearing dates to confirm that you are enrolled and in compliance with the terms of the diversion program. Finally, the Court will set a date to dismiss the charges against you, provided you have completed the diversion program. At Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm, we understand the pressures associated with serving in our military, and take pride in our years of service to those who have served us. We understand that upon returning to civilian life things can become complicated, and look forward to helping you enter into the diversion programs instead of face unnecessary, and unhelpful criminal penalties. It is essential that you complete all he conditions of your admission to the diversion program however, as failure to comply can have significant consequences on your life, and your future eligibility for other benefits.
THERE ARE ANY NUMBERS OF CONDITIONS THE COURT MAY IMPOSE ON YOUR ADMISSION TO THE DIVERSION PROGRAM, BUT THERE ARE SOME CONDITIONS THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN OTHERS:
- One to two years in a treatment program that has been approved by the court.
- If your case involves domestic violence, the court may require compliance with Form CR-160.
- If the charges against you involve DUI allegations, the court may impose participation in a “first conviction program” as well as “classes with MADD”.
- The court may impose, as a condition of your admission into the Military Diversion Program that you submit to random testing for the presence of drugs or alcohol.
- The court may require that you enroll in, and complete, a drug/alcohol treatment program, at an approved treatment center. Additionally, the Court may require that you are overseen by a treatment evaluator to ensure compliance with a treatment plan.
- The court will likely require an evaluation from the treatment provider, detailing your progress every ninety days
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM?
- If you are able to comply with all of the terms and conditions the Court places on your admission to the Military Diversion Program, and complete the entire program, the Court will dismiss all charges against you after the hearing to determine your compliance with the terms of the program.
- For the most part, in the eyes of the law, the arrest for the offense will have never occurred there are certain exceptions to this however; the Department of Justice will be informed of your successful completion of the Military Diversion Program, as well as of the arrest. The Department of Justice may disclose this information in the event you apply to become an officer. Further you are still obligated to disclose your arrest in the event there is a direct inquiry regarding prior arrests in connection with an application to become a peace officer.
In the event that you are not performing to the expectations of the Military Diversion Court, the Court may file its own motion to remove you from the program. This can occur for a number of reasons: Failure to comply with the terms of your admission to the program, a determination that you are not benefitting from the program, or any other number of reasons that indicate that participation in the Military Diversion Program will not benefit you in the manner intended by the Court when the granted you the right to enroll in the Program.
If after reviewing all the information in this article, you believe that you would be a candidate for enrollment in the Military Diversion Program, contact an attorney at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm immediately. Specifically, you must meet the requirements that: (1) you have been charged with a misdemeanor, (2) you are an active, or previously active military member, (3) you suffer from a disorder caused by your service in the military; and (4) you are willing to comply with the terms and conditions the Court may impose on you as a prerequisite for enrollment. If the list set forth above sounds like you, we are eager to help you avoid the burden of a criminal conviction on the record of an armed service member, and look forward to assist you in rebuilding your life as a civilian. The staff and attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm respect and appreciate your commitment to our nation.