Ventura Veteran’s Court Defense Attorney
Nobody takes more pride in service than those who have risked their lives in the line of duty, especially those who serve and protect our democracy in the U.S. Armed Forces. If you or a loved one is a military veteran convicted of a felony, you may be able to avoid jail time.
At the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our Ventura veteran’s court defense lawyers can help. To discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your case in a free, confidential consultation with one of our lawyers, call our offices today at (805) 643-5555.
Veteran’s Treatment Court in California
The Veteran’s Court or Veteran’s Treatment Court (VTC) is a specially designed court that takes cases involving those people who have served in the military. The primary purpose behind the creation of this particular court is to help veteran felons reintegrate into society and find an alternate solution to incarceration.
In other words, the VTC exists to help veterans whose qualifying conditions have led them to commit a felony or misdemeanor. The court must act pursuant to California Penal Code 1170.9, which says that “qualified veterans” can receive treatment for conditions related to their military service instead of spending time in prison.
There is an important distinction related to Penal Code 1170.9. This alternate method to incarceration is a post-conviction benefit granted to qualified veterans. This means a veteran charged with a felony or misdemeanor has to go through a trial first. Once you have been convicted, Penal Code 1170.9 takes effect.
Not all veterans can qualify for this benefit, however. This means that you will not get this benefit based solely on the fact you are a veteran. To get to the VTC, you must go through a qualifying process, which we discuss below.
How to Qualify for Veteran’s Court
Qualifying for Veteran’s Treatment Court requires applicants to meet specific requirements. It is essential to know that, in these cases, judges have ample discretion to either admit or reject VTC applications. However, some criteria are commonly required for these cases. Some of the requirements to qualify for VTC in California include:
- Military service – If you are requesting a VTC, you must have served in the military. Military service includes time spent in any of the various branches, including the Navy, Army, Marines, Coast Guard, and other entities. Keep in mind that this court is not available for standard civil cases, but are specifically aimed at dealing with veterans convicted of a criminal offense.
- Participation in a court-ordered program – Part of the VTC requires the participant to agree to be part of a particular application process, which can take up to 18 months. During this time, the veteran must make frequent visits to the court and submit himself or herself to drug and alcohol screenings.
- Qualifying condition – Part of the process requires showing that the veteran requesting VTC consideration suffers from one of several qualifying conditions. Some of these conditions include PTSD, substance abuse, military sexual trauma (MST), and other qualifying disorders.
- Guilty plea – In order for your petition to advance, you must have pleaded guilty of your charges. This then will serve as the initial – and one of the most important – components of your VTC application.
These are just examples of the requirements you need to meet to qualify for VTC access. Our Ventura, CA, veteran’s court defense attorneys can help you understand the complete process and make sure you know your rights.
What Happens at the California Veteran’s Court
Once accepted into the Veteran’s Court, the veteran will have to go through a probationary period. The probation can take several months to complete, and it requires the veteran to comply with several rules. For instance, at first, the veteran will need to go through an evaluation to determine their condition and give the court a better understanding of the situation.
During this first step, the veteran must go to different meetings with their designated probation officer, along with random drug tests. Over the course of 9 to 10 months, the vet will go through similar steps to complete their probation. Once completed, the court will commence a transition period in which the veteran will be reinstated back to their normal life. While the court will work to help the veteran reach their goals, most of the work must be performed by the veterans themselves. For instance, throughout the entire process, a veteran must be able to show a commitment to completing the VTC process.
Noncompliance with any terms or conditions of the probation can have severe consequences, including the dismissal of the case. This process can be confusing and stressful for those who have never been part of a VTC process. Our Ventura VTC defense attorneys can guide you through the entire process and make sure you understand your rights.
Veteran’s Court Defense Attorneys Handling Cases in Ventura, CA
At the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our veteran’s court attorneys can help you with your VTC petition. Thanks to our many years of experience handling veterans’ court cases, we are able to offer high-quality legal counsel and representation from beginning to end. We understand the difficulties that the brave men and women of the armed forces have to endure after returning home from military service. That is why we dedicate our practice to aggressively and strategically upholding your rights and making sure you are treated fairly. To speak to an attorney about your case in a free, private consultation, call our offices today at (805) 643-5555.