Veteran's Court, an Alternative for a Veteran who is Charged with a Criminal Offense

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Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Blog:  Veteran’s Court

            Slowly but surely, counties across the State of Indiana are starting to see the benefit to having courts that focus on the root problem of criminal behavior, and attempt to get the offender help and/or treatment.  Many counties have already started mental health courts or drug treatment courts.  Those courts have worked to identify defendants with lower level criminal conduct and place them in the appropriate court to try to address the underlying issue the offender is having a problem with.
In recent times our country has engaged in long term military efforts in the Middle East.  These conflicts combined with the history of veterans from the World Wars, Vietnam and the Korean War, has increased the number of veterans that are living civilian lives after their military career.  Many of these veterans experienced unimaginable traumatic events while serving our country.  In some instances this has led to mental disease such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety or a litany of other mental disorders.  For some of our veterans, they have suffered traumatic brain injuries that affect how they process and react to different situations.  Yet other veterans, have turned to abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with their experiences.
Many times, veterans have been caught up in criminal conduct that can be tied, at least in part, to the affect their years of service has had on them.  That is where a veteran’s court can step in and make a difference.  The methodology of conviction and incarceration is not only ineffective but seems inappropriate for the minor offender who sacrificed so much for our country.  The newly established veteran’s courts are attempting to fill the void. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower support the use of courts like Veteran’s Court and take a closer look here.
What the exact parameters of the courts will be, are in many instances, still being developed.  However, normally problem solving courts, like veteran’s court, typically deal with offenders that commit low level misdemeanors and low level non-violent felonies.  The goal of the veteran’s court will be to give the minor level veteran offender the option to take advantage of services and get on the right track without having to have a criminal conviction.  Many times, veterans struggle to rejoin the workforce after their stint in the military.  Adding the burden of a criminal conviction to their background is only going to make things work.
So, how is a veteran’s court likely to work?  Well, it will work much like the other problem solving courts.  Obviously, to qualify, you will have to have been a veteran from one of the armed services.  Additionally, you must have been involved in a crime that is allowed into the veteran’s court program.
Once you are allowed into the program, an evaluation will be made to see what services you can benefit from.  This could include drug treatment, mental health counseling, anger management, job coaching or vocational training.  It may also include parts of all of these things.  Additionally, in some veteran’s court programs, the court will match the veteran offender with a mentor.  When appropriate, a mentor(usually a veteran themselves) will be assigned to the veteran offender and help the veteran by relating to their background, assisting them with obtaining services, and generally serving as someone the veteran offender can rely on.
Additionally, US veterans qualify for a number of benefits and opportunities through the VA, GI Bill, and other benefits from a variety of non-profit organizations.  The veteran’s court can help identify these opportunities and benefits due to the veteran offender and help them receive and enroll in the same.
In conclusion, if you are a veteran and have been charged with a crime in Indiana, make sure you discuss the possibility of veteran’s Court with your attorney.  A veteran who successfully completes their obligations in veteran’s court, may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.  The opportunity afforded by these courts is a tremendous one to the veteran offender that also acknowledges and recognizes the sacrifice the veteran made for our country.
Banks & Brower is a law firm with offices in Indianapolis and Noblesville that handles cases throughout the state of Indiana.  If you are a veteran charged with a crime in Indiana, give the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower a call at 317-870-0019 today to see how we can assist you and to see if you qualify for entry into veteran’s court.