Criminal Offenses Allegedly Committed by Our Veterans

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Before judging any Veteran who is accused of committing any crime or writing him off as a bad apple because he or she was allegedly involved in criminal activity, ask yourself who is a Veteran. "A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.' Remember their Sacrifice!

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 23,440,000 veterans in the United States and approximately 1.7 Million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Approximately one-third of the adult homeless population served in the military and at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans. A 2000 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report found 81% of all involved veterans had a substance abuse problem prior to incarceration, 35% were identified as suffering from alcohol dependency, 23% were homeless at some point in the prior year and 25% were identified as mentally ill.

Southern California is home to almost half of the 500,000 American veterans who have incurred combat-related injuries since 1990. Visible and invisible combat disabilities are linked to high unemployment, relationship conflicts and personal dysfunction. The VA estimates 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] contributes to the problem among veterans because it can interfere with their ability to cope with stresses associated with holding down a job and maintaining personal relationships. Other mental health and substance abuse problems together with a lack of resources and a difficult economy add to the problem. These problems can lead to criminal activity or contact with law enforcement and involve our Vets with the Criminal Justice System.

California has Penal Code § 1170.9, which is a specific statute designed for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other service-related disability who become involved in criminal activity.

Penal Code § 1170.9 provides an alternative sentencing scheme that allows judges to sentence military veterans to treatment instead of prison or jail in cases where those veterans committed their crimes as a result of sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States Military. Not all crimes fall under this alternative sentencing scheme.

If a veteran is accepted into this program, upon successful completion, the charges are often dismissed.

If you are a veteran and are charged with a crime, contact the Madrid Law Firm immediately to determine if your case falls within the purview of Penal Code § 1170.9. If you are represented by other counsel or the public defender's office, make sure that you advise them that you are a veteran, your alleged criminal activity stemmed from a service related injury or disability and wish to avail yourself of Penal Code § 1170.9

If you are looking for an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, call the Madrid Law Firm today.