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Orange County Military Criminal Defense Lawyer

Helping Accused Servicemen & Women

In California, many veterans and active members of the armed services are eligible to have their misdemeanor offenses dismissed without any plea of guilty upfront. What this means is you can avoid a conviction if you are found eligible for the military diversion program. It is critical that you speak to me prior to accepting any type of plea-bargain that requires you to plead guilty to any type of misdemeanor offense.

Call an Orange County military criminal defense attorney for a free initial consultation after you have been accused or arrested.

Military Diversion Program

In order to be considered for the Military Diversion Program pursuant to Penal Code §1001.80, you must obtain documentation from the Veteran’s Administration or, if you are active duty, your on-base substance abuse treatment center, indicating in writing that you have been assessed and determined to suffer from certain conditions.

The military diversion program can offer veterans relief for misdemeanor crimes. This includes:

  • California DUI
  • Possession of narcotics
  • Misdemeanor assault and battery
  • Other misdemeanors

Note that for a DUI, even if the charges are dropped, the DMV still maintains the right to take administrative action against the individual's driving privileges.

Additionally, if you have been charged with a felony that is considered a "wobbler," the court may reduce the charges to a misdemeanor according to California Penal Code § 17(b). This would allow you to pursue the Military Diversion Program even if you were initially charged with a felony. Guidance from a knowledgeable military criminal defense lawyer is vital for navigating these situations and increases the likelihood of obtaining a favorable resolution.

  • Conditions include any of the following:
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Suffering from sexual trauma related to military service
  • A substance abuse problem
  • Traumatic Brain Injury ("TBI")
  • A mental health problem related to your military service

Active duty members and/or veterans of the United States Military must request that an assessment be completed by the VA Behavioral Assessment Center or, for active duty members, the substance abuse treatment center on base, in which a therapist psychologist, or some other type of treatment professional meets with you, and conducts relevant testing to determine whether or not you suffer from one of the three above qualifying conditions.

The documentation must state that the identified issue is “…related to your military service.”

If you are a U.S. service member, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Alan Castillo for assistance.