If you have been arrested for a crime, you may be worried about facing time in jail or prison, community service, and fines. There may be other options besides the harsh penalties that you would normally face for a felony conviction. If you are a veteran charged with a crime in Ohio, you may qualify for Hamilton County Felony Veterans’ Treatment Court.
Not everyone who wants to enter veterans’ treatment court qualifies. There may be other options to consider in your case. Call our attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP at (513) 338-1890 to discuss your case.
Diversion Courts vs. Traditional Courts
Jails and prisons across the country have become overcrowded, and many defendants will commit new offenses less than one year after release. Diversion courts have been created to help offenders avoid committing similar offenses and reduce overcrowding in jails or prisons. Diversion courts are designed to help offenders by offering treatment rather than punish them so that they can rebuild their lives within their families and communities.
Diversion programs are focused on treatment, but that does not mean that they are easy to complete or a get-out-of-jail-free option. Diversion courts have strict requirements such as meetings, drug testing, counseling and regular appearances in court to discuss a participant’s progress.
In addition to veterans’ treatment courts, some counties have established drug courts, DWI courts, and mental health courts to address some of the special issues that some individuals face which would not be addressed in a traditional court setting.
What is Veterans’ Treatment Court?
Veterans’ treatment court is designed to address substance abuse problems, mental health diagnoses, and other unique problems faced by veterans that are often linked to being charged with a criminal offense.
Veterans who qualify for treatment court may be able to get a second chance through the program by having their charges dismissed. Entry into veterans’ court is possible during many stages of criminal proceedings, before a conviction is entered, or after am offender is placed on probation and charged with a probation violation.
Qualifying for Veterans’ Treatment Court
To participate in veterans’ treatment court in Hamilton County, you must meet several requirements. The prosecutor who is handling your case must consent to your participation. You must not be charged with a sex offense of serious repeat violent offenses.
To qualify for treatment in the veterans’ court program, you must be competent to stand trial and possess the cognitive ability to participate and respond to the treatment program. Individuals who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and related disorders will be eligible to receive treatment. Potential participants in the program must have identified needs that can be met through the program and willingness to participate.
The Hamilton County Veterans’ Treatment Court program is divided into phases:
- Phase 1 – Orientation. The veteran will be assigned to a case manager, probation officer, and peer mentor and will be informed about the program. This phase lasts no longer than 30 days.
- Phase 2 – Treatment Plan Development. The veteran will work with the treatment team to develop an individualized plan based on treatment goals. This may include attending a GED or vocational program, parenting classes, anger management, and any other activities recommended by the treatment team. This phase lasts approximately 90 days.
- Phase 3 – Ongoing Treatment. The veteran will participate in programs, classes, counseling, and activities as directed and will report progress to his or her counselor. Goals will be changed and updated as needed. This phase lasts at least 90 days.
- Phase 4 – Stabilization. During this phase, progress in the program will be assessed, including abstinence from drugs. The focus of this phase is on daily life skills and active participation as a member of the community. This phase lasts at least 120 days.
- Phase 5 – Completion/Graduation. During this phase, participants prepare to transition to the lifestyle they will be expected to maintain after the program has ended. This phase lasts at least 120 days.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Into Veterans’ Court?
Every case is different, and every defendant is different. A lawyer can help you get a much better outcome in your case than you might get otherwise by being your advocate and explaining why you are a good candidate for the program. For example, if you were arrested for drug charges or even a first-time violent offense and you have a history of mental health issues related to your time as a service member that was a factor in the crime, you may be a very good candidate for veterans’ treatment court. We can explain why you would be a good fit to the prosecutor and the sentencing judge based on our discussions with you and your unique circumstances.
Speak to a Hamilton County Defense Attorney Today
Do you have questions about Hamilton County veterans’ treatment court? Our attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP are here to help. We can fully advise you about expected outcomes in your case and help you understand each option available to you. Call (513) 338-1890 or our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.