March 3, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

Orange County Collaborative Courts are specialized courts that cater to specific underlying issues that may be present in individuals who come before the court. These courts offer judicial monitoring and a team approach to decision making, including the participation of different agencies. One of these Collaborative Court programs is known as Veteran’s Court.

The mission of the Veteran’s Court is to provide a treatment program for combat veterans in the criminal justice system. To be eligible, the defendant must be a combat veteran. Also, the crime alleged must have been the result of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and/or a psychological problem stemming from the defendant’s service in combat. Veteran’s Court does not admit individuals charged with sex crimes or violent crimes. Each individual is evaluated on a case by case basis.

In order to get the case to Veteran’s Court, the attorney may request the judge to transfer the case. The request may be done orally. It is recommended that the attorney bring any and all documentation to support the request, such as evidence indicating defendant is a combat veteran, any history of substance abuse, or that defendant suffers from PTSD. If the judge grants the request, the defendant will receive a hearing at Veteran’s Court.

At the Veteran’s Court hearing, the judge will make a determination of whether or not defendant is eligible for the Veteran’s Court Program. The judge may also continue the matter if more information is needed either from the district attorney or from Veteran Affairs. It is also possible that the defendant may be interviewed by health professionals to determine defendant’s eligibility.

Once the defendant is eligible, he or she is immediately entered into the program, which lasts 18 months. During this time, the defendant will be required to attend regular meetings and receive treatment. There are a total of 4 phases which the defendant must successfully complete. These 4 phases are similar to the drug court model. Upon successful completion of the program, the defendant’s entire case can be dismissed or certain charges will be dismissed.

If you or a loved one are a veteran and has been charged with a crime, you should call the experienced Southern California defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys have the skill and expertise to provide you with the best possible defense. Our experience with Veteran’s Court is invaluable to your defense. For this reason, it is important to hire an experienced attorney from Wallin & Klarich. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 1-888-280-6839 or through our website We will be there when you call.

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