Military Members Accused of DUI in Orange County
Many members of the military and the veteran population from all branches of the military reside in Southern California. If you have been arrested for DUI, then you may have many unanswered questions. A DUI can be a complicated process for civilians. But if you are a current member of the military, it makes the process a bit more confusing because there are special laws that apply in your case. The Military Diversion Program is one of these special laws that make a military personnel’s DUI more complicated. The Military Diversion Program puts criminal misdemeanor charges on hold for any current or veteran members of the military if they complete a “diversion program.” If the program is completed successfully, the charges once held against them will be dropped and it would be as if the arrest never happened. As one can see, being admitted to this program can be very favorable. If you have been arrested for DUI and are a current or former member of the military, we encourage you to call our office so that the attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm can explain all of your options to you at your FREE DUI consultation.
The following information will provide you with more knowledge about the DUI process and how it applies to members of the military. This article will also shed some light about what the Military Diversion Program involves.
Penalties for a DUI for Military Members
As a member of the armed forces, if convicted for a DUI, you may face not only California criminal penalties, but you may also face penalties from your command. The penalties you will face from your command rely heavily on what branch you are a member of and what rank you are. If this is not your DUI or if you have any other criminal convictions, your chances of receiving more severe penalties are higher. The most common penalties military personnel face are:
- Adverse performance reports;
- Drug or alcohol abuse treatment and/ or evaluation;
- Limited base access;
- Stripping of security clearances;
- Financial penalties;
- Demotions or reduced compensation;
- Pension loss;
- Dishonorable discharge.
It is important to understand that the punishments listed above are not comprehensive and will vary with each case. Also, you must know that military members are usually discharged for having several DUI convictions. Exceptions can be made with a showing that the individual is an important asset to the military.
Criminal Court Punishments
If an individual is convicted of DUI in a California criminal court and is not a candidate for the Military Diversion Program, the individual will face criminal punishments. Criminal punishments for DUI range in degrees of severity that is determined by the specific circumstances of the individual’s case. The most common punishments are:
- Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID);
- A minimum of 5 years probation;
- Suspension of driver’s license;
- Mandated participation of alcohol and/ or drug programs;
- Fines; and
- Sometimes, incarceration.
As you can notice, the punishments for a DUI conviction are serious and can have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. If you were charged with DUI in Orange County, we recommend consulting with an attorney immediately to have the best chance possible to reduce the severity of punishments imposed on you.
The Military Diversion Program
The Orange County Court has worked the program out with the District Attorney of Orange County and the City Attorney of Orange County. The Public Defender’s office has compiled the information that explains the Military Diversion Program. The material is meant to provide information about what usually occurs. It is not a hard set of rules that is always followed when entering the program. If you read this material and believe that you may qualify for the program, we encourage you to call our firm for your FREE consultation.
Standards for measuring eligibility
- The individual is only charged with a misdemeanor or a series of misdemeanors.
- The individual has or is currently serving in the United States Military.
- The individual has to be suffering or exhibit symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse regarding alcohol or drugs, mental health stemming from his or her military service.
- The individual is required to waive his or her right to a speedy trial, as well as give consent to be placed in the Military Diversion Program.
- The individual must not have previously participated in a Military Diversion Program for any other case.
Conditions That Disqualify An Individual
- If the individual has been convicted of the same or similar offense, the individual may be better off with a post-conviction referral to the veteran’s Treatment Court, rather than entering a military diversion program. This route would ensure the individual has more structure and supervision if the individual qualifies for the program. In taking this route, it may also lead to a dismissal of the individual’s criminal conviction.
- Being accepted into the Military Diversion Program various times may preclude an individual from receiving the better level of treatment necessary to help them that is available in the veteran’s treatment court. For this reason, Military Diversion Drogram can only be granted once.
- The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm are here to help you file a request for Military Diversion, including the waiver of rights, at the quickest possible time before the judgment of the case.
- After our attorneys file the military diversion request, the court will then vacate any subsequent court dates and will schedule a hearing on the military diversion calendar. A copy of the military diversion request will be sent to the prosecutor by the court, as well as the new hearing date.
- Our attorneys are required and will file and serve the motion for military division, at least 15 days prior to the military diversion hearing. This motion must include all the facts that show why the defendant is eligible and should be admitted to the military diversion program. This motion will also include various other documents, such as proof of the individual’s military service, evaluation and assessment of the individuals condition by a mental health professional. The Orange County DUI Law Firm will assist you in building a treatment plan from a proper mental health provider, as well as a recommendation for the treatment plan by the provider. If the prosecutor opposes the motion, he or she is required to file and serve us the motion at least 5 days prior to the military diversion program hearing set by the court.
- If the court determines that the defendant does not qualify for the Military Diversion Program or if it would not be in the defendant’s best interest, the court will deny the request and will reinstate the court dates that the court set aside when the military diversion program request was made. This means that if the court denies the request the case will go forward as a normal criminal DUI case.
- On the other hand, if the court decides that the defendant qualifies and is entitled to participate in the Military Diversion Program, the court will postpone any criminal court dates and will grant the defendant military diversion for a period of time that shall not exceed two years. The court will then implement the defendant’s military diversion program conditions. This can include, choosing the defendant’s treatment programs, and schedule review hearings where the defendant will have to show evidence that he or she has participated and adhered to the diversion program. The court will also schedule a hearing where, if the defendant has shown that he or she has completed the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and judgment will be entered.
Possible Conditions of Military Diversion
- Mandatory participation in an agreed treatment program for 12 to 24 months.
- Form JC Cr-160 for the program’s entirety where the case involved domestic violence.
- If your charge was for DUI, attendance of MADD classes and First Conviction Program is required.
- Submitting to random drug or alcohol testing at an approved treatment facility.
- Admittance to an alcohol and/ or drug treatment center for an approved treatment plan to be assessed by an assessor agreed upon by the court.
- Submitting to a treatment provider’s written treatment assessment every 90 days.
Successfully Completing the Program
- A court will dismiss the criminal charges against the individual if the individual successfully completes the military diversion program.
- The defendant’s arrest will be treated as it had never happened, with the following exception: the Department of Justice will be informed of the case and the circumstances of the defendant’s arrest. The arrest where the military diversion stemmed from may be disclosed by the Department of Justice when responding to the defendant’s application to become a police officer. The defendant is also required to disclose the nature of the arrest if he or she is answering a direct question in a questionnaire or filling out an application for the purpose of becoming a law enforcement or peace officer pursuant to Penal Code 830.
Failing to Complete the Program
The court may motion to dismiss the defendant from the program if it determines that the defendant is not performing to their standards or is not showing adequate effort to complete the program. Additionally, the court can decide if the defendant is benefitting from the program. If the court determines the defendant is not benefitting from the program, it can reinstate the criminal charges the defendant was facing and the criminal court dates, and dismiss the defendant from the military diversion program. The defendant will then be facing the criminal charges against him or her.
If you think that you may be eligible for the Military Diversion Program, we encourage you to call the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can begin reviewing the circumstances of your arrest. The Military Diversion Program is still regarded as a very new program and the attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have special training to ensure that you come out of your case with the best possible result that you can. Our attorneys will assert every legal defense that is appropriate to get you the best possible result. Call our law firm today.
The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm can assist you in this stressful process. If you have been arrested for DUI and believe that any of the information discussed above applies to you, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.
If you are a current or were a member of the military and have been charged with a DUI, it is highly encouraged that you consult with an attorney. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have nearly three decades of experience protecting the rights of defendants facing DUI charges. We can help you decide if attempting to get admitted to the military diversion program is in your best interest, and if we determine that it is we will assist you at every step of the process. If we determine that you are not an eligible for the military diversion program, the attorneys at our law firm will devote themselves to argue for your best interest to give you the best chance at getting your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We have enjoyed a great deal of success in getting our clients plea bargain deals from the District Attorney. Moreover, we will be at your side, and arguing at your DMV hearing to ensure that we give you the best chance at retaining your driving privileges while your DUI case is pending.
At the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, we acknowledge that going though the DUI process can be a stressful and frightening experience. These emotions may be amplified if you are a member of the military who may be facing additional punishments other than criminal charges. Our attorneys are experienced in defending DUI cases and will be at your side arguing for your best interest in order to improve you chances at beating the charges against you.
Call the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm today at 949-377-2280 to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.