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Veterans May Qualify for Treatment Court

Posted on in Criminal Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_513221947.jpgThe justice system allows for a number of alternatives for offenders who, rather than serving jail time, can make amends for illegal behavior by taking part in a diversion program. One specific type of program is the Veterans Treatment Court, which was created to for those who served in a branch of the military who find themselves facing drug charges or a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest.

An Alternative to Incarceration

Set up similar to that of a drug treatment or mental health treatment court, the very first veterans court began hearing cases in 2008 in Buffalo, New York. These veterans courts have since been established throughout the country, including Illinois. These courts were designed specifically to hear cases involving United States veterans after it was determined that many offenses were the result of battles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

  • Advocates for the veterans court system insisted that providing mental health support would prove to be more effective than jail sentences in preventing future offenses. 
  • Honorably discharged veterans are given access to substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment, along with an intensive probation period, when they plead guilty to the offense. 
  • Upon completion of the probation period and treatment programs, the veteran can apply to have their record expunged.
  • The judicial circuit typically determines which offenses are eligible to go before the veterans court, but they generally involve arrests for low level felonies.

Some Relevant Data Regarding the Program

  • Lake County officials report a success rate of more than 65 percent for the program.
  • Between 2012 and 2015, Cook County reported a 63 percent graduation rate.
  • DuPage County started its program in 2015 and reported no repeat offenses among its participants.
  • In Will County, only two of the 26 veterans who entered the program did not graduate since it began in 2012.

Currently, veterans courts exist in all the collar counties with the exception of Kane County. With the start of 2018, a new Illinois law will take effect that mandates the creation of a Veterans Treatment Court in every jurisdiction in the state.

Take Steps to Retain a Knowledgeable Illinois Defense Attorney 

If you served in the Armed Forces, you may be eligible to have your case heard by a judge in a special court system established for veterans. However, before that determination is made, you should seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the details of your case. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, offers the knowledge and resources necessary to determine the appropriate path for seeking a resolution to your case. To set up an initial conference with an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyer, please call 847-253-3400 today.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-veterans-court-law-20171017-story.html

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/community/keeping-PTSD-vets-out-JS.asp

http://www.ncsc.org/Topics/Alternative-Dockets/Problem-Solving-Courts/Veterans-Court/Resource-Guide.aspx

 

 

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