Fresno Veterans Court

Mar 21, 2018

What is Veterans Diversion?

First, a disclaimer. I’m going to write this page from the perspective of an attorney who does routinely handles these types of cases on a regular basis. I’m going to give you a “meat and potatoes” explanation of how it works in the real world. If you're looking for all the legal jargon, you can do further analysis down the road.

In California, if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, including DUI, and you are a veteran, you may be able to benefit from recent changes in the law. Under penal code sections 858, 1001.80, and 1170.9, you may be able to participate in an approved veteran’s court diversion program under certain conditions. Some offenses are excluded from participating, including but not limited to sex offenses and offenses that could only result in a prison sentence (see PC 1170.9 for a full list of excluded offenses.) In Fresno, California, and many other counties, a court is set up just to deal with veteran diversion cases.  On misdemeanor cases, at least in Fresno, veterans are not sent to a different court; their cases are handled in the original court where the charge was filed. 

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The first step in the process is to fill out a form, called an MIL 100 form. It puts the court on notice that you are a veteran and that you want to participate in the veterans court diversion program. This form also advises you that the VA will, obviously, find out about your pending legal matter because the court will be sending them information regarding your case via the form MIL100.

Once this step is completed, the court will set your case over for a month or longer (generally), for you to go to the VA and be assessed for treatment. The treatment could be for a drug or alcohol problem, PTSD issue, or some other issue related to your military service. If the VA accepts you into one of their programs, they should send the court an update of what the process will entail with the VA to complete the program. As a practical matter, the VA often does not send the update and then the court has to continue the case again to get the information. A practice tip for the client- if you can get the update directly from the VA at your appointment, it's best to do that and then bring it to court. Technically, the information is supposed to be placed under seal in the court file and be sent directly from the VA, but if you bring it in, the court will often accept this at the initial stage.

On felony cases, the process is often more involved. A full psychological analysis from an independent psychologist is may be done in connection with the VA assessment. Once the initial assessment is done, whether for a felony or misdemeanor, the court should decide whether there is a “nexus” between the condition caused by your military service and the crime (see PC 1170.9). For example, your anger is caused by PTSD from your military service, which resulted in a domestic violence offense. Or your alcohol abuse was caused by military service, which resulted in your DUI charge. If the court decides the nexus exists, the court will allow you to continue with the treatment and grant relief under (PC 1170.9 for felonies or 1001.80(c) for misdemeanors.). If your case is a felony, the court will reduce the offense to a misdemeanor and grant a set-aside and dismissal of the charge under Penal Code section 1203.4. If the case is a misdemeanor the case will be dismissed.

If you're looking for a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Fresno, who has experience handling criminal charges for veterans, contact the Mitchell Law Group at 559-222-2424 to arrange a free initial consultation. 




Category: Criminal Defense

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.


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334 W. Shaw Avenue, Suite A Fresno, CA 93704
Phone: 559-222-2424

Fresno Criminal and DUI Attorney
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.  Testimonials displayed on this website do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter

Michael E. Mitchell, at the Mitchell Law Group, Inc., is one of the top DUI defense attorneys in Fresno, California. He has over a decade of experience handling DUI cases throughout the Central Valley, including in Clovis, Madera, Tulare, Visalia. He is a certified field sobriety instructor and practitioner under the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association. His advice and knowledge is, routinely, sought after by other attorneys practicing in the area of DUI defense. He is an expert in the area of DUI defense in both Federal, State, and on the Appellate level. If your looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Fresno to handle your case, give us a call today to see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.