There are many current and former military members who reside in Southern California. If you have been arrested for DUI and you are a current or former military member, you may have a few questions about the process of a DUI. The DUI law is complex as it applies to civilians, however, that complexity increases when the person arrested for DUI is a military member. There is a special area of law within DUI for a military member that is known as the Military Diversion Program. This program enables eligible military members, and veterans facing criminal misdemeanor charges to put those charges on hold as they complete the “diversion program.” When an individual successfully completes the program, the charges the individual was facing will be dismissed and the arrest will be seen as if it had never occurred. This is why being eligible for a military diversion program can be beneficial for a military member facing DUI charges. If you are a current or former member of the military and have been charged with DUI, we advise you to contact the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.
The following information will give you a general overview of the Military Diversion program as it applies to DUI. This article will also give you specific information that regards members of the military.
Military Diversion Program
Courts and District Attorneys have compiled the following information regarding the military diversion program. The following information will serve as an article that informs you of the practices, and should not be interpreted as strict rules or guidelines to entering the program. If you think that you may be eligible for the program after reading this article, we advise you to call our law firm to consult with one of our attorneys.
- You have only been charged with a misdemeanor or have been charged with multiple charges that are only misdemeanors.
- You are a currently serving member or were a former member of the United States military.
- You must be currently suffering from, or have had illnesses regarding post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual trauma, a traumatic brain injury, substance abuse with alcohol or drugs, or a mental health disorder that stem from your military involvement.
- You must waive your right to a speedy trial and are required to give permission and consent to be assigned to the military diversion program.
- You could not have been accepted into the program or have gone through the military diversion program for any other case.
Conditions Making an Individual Ineligible
- If you have been previously convicted of a similar or same charge, it may be better if you were referred to a post-conviction Veteran’s Treatment Court, instead of the military diversion program. The Veteran’s Treatment Court can provide a better program and supervision for individuals who are eligible. This program can also get criminal convictions dismissed.
- If you have been accepted into the military diversion program numerous times already, you may be unable to seek the better treatment that may be available to you through the veteran’s treatment court. Thus, military diversion can only be granted once.
The Admissions Process
- The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm can help you file a military diversion program request, as well as Advisal and Waiver of Rights that will be referred to as the military diversion in this article.
- When the court receives the military diversion request that the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm files, the court will then set aside any court dates that were previously set for your case and set a hearing for your case on the military diversion calendar. The court will also send a copy of your military diversion request to the prosecuting party apprising them of the new court date.
- The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have to file and serve the prosecution with a motion for military diversion that includes all of the alleged facts that support why you are eligible for the program at least 15 days before the military diversion hearing. This motion will also include several supporting documents. These documents can include proof of military service and an assessment of your condition by a mental health or other professional will accompany the filing of the motion. The attorneys at our law firm can help you develop a specific treatment plan with a recommendation from a mental health provider. If the prosecution opposes this proposal they must serve it back to our firm five days prior to the military diversion program hearing.
- If the court finds that you are not a valid applicant for this program, or if the military diversion program is not appropriate for your case, your request to be admitted to the diversion program will be denied and the court dates that the court had previously set-aside will be reinstated. If you are denied your request, your case will go forward as a regular criminal case.
- If the court determines that you are eligible at your hearing, and you have met the requirements for the military diversion program, you will be accepted into the diversion program for no more than a 2-year period. During this time, your criminal court dates will be postponed as you are going through the program. After the hearing, the court will then impose the terms and conditions you will need to adhere to during your military diversion program. These terms and conditions include treatment programs being selected, and scheduling hearings for the purpose of ensuring that you have been enrolled and complying with the diversion program. The court will also schedule a date where your case will be dismissed and adjudicated, conditioned upon your successful completion of the diversion program.
Common Conditions of a Military Diversion Program
- Enrollment in a treatment program for twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) months.
- If your case involved a domestic violence incident, a program condition will include Form JC CR-160 for the entirety of the program
- Enrollment into a family recovery program for fifty-two (52) weeks or a certified DV recovery program.
- If your charge was a first offense DUI, you may be required to attend MADD classes and a first conviction program.
- You may also be subjected to random drug and alcohol screening by a court approved treatment facility.
- Required completion of drug and/ or alcohol treatment through a treatment center where you will be assessed by an evaluator during your treatment plan.
- A care or treatment provider will complete a written evaluation report every 90 days.
Successfully Completing the Program
- If you successfully complete the military diversion program the court will dismiss all of your criminal charges.
- Also, the arrest will be determined as if it never occurred, with one exception. The Department of Justice will be apprised of the adjudication of the case, the nature of the arrest that your diversion program stemmed from can also be disclosed to the Department of Justice if you apply to become a law enforcement officer, and you must still answer a question truthfully about the arrest if you are answering a question in an application to become a law enforcement officer or peace officer pursuant Penal Code 830.
Failing to Complete the Military Diversion Program
The court may motion to dismiss the defendant from the program if it determines that the defendant is not performing to the court’s 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.
Other Issues – Punishments for Military Members
As a member of the military, if you are convicted of a DUI, you can face other penalties handed down by your command, as well as those imposed by the California Court. The punishments imposed by your command can vary depending on what branch of the military you are a member of, as well as your rank. If you have been previously been found guilty of DUI or related charges, your punishments can be increased based on the specific circumstances of your case. Some common punishments that a military member may face are:
- Adverse performance reports;
- Participation in drug and/ or alcohol abuse evaluations and/ or treatment;
- Restricted access to your base;
- Jail sentence;
- Stripping of any security clearances;
- Reduced compensation and possible demotions;
- Stripping of pension rights;
- Dishonorable Discharge.
Remember, the following punishments are not comprehensive, and the punishments imposed on you will vary from case to case. Also, you need to acknowledge that if a military member has been convicted of multiple DUIs, it is common for them to be discharged. Some exceptions can be made if the military member can show that the member is a very important asset to the armed forces).
Possible Punishments from the Criminal Court
If the court finds that you are not a valid candidate for the military diversion program, and have been convicted of a DUI in a criminal court in California, criminal penalties will be imposed on you. DUI penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis, but punishments can often include:
- Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID);
- A probation of five years or more;
- Suspension of Driver’s license;
- Mandatory completion of drug and/ or alcohol classes;
- Fines; and
- Sometimes, jail time.
As stated above, the possible punishments for a DUI conviction can be very serious, and can have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. If you are facing DUI charges in Orange County, we recommend you consult with an attorney right away to give yourself the best possible chance at avoiding any punishments.
The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm can help you navigate the complex DUI process. If you are facing DUI charges, we encourage you to contact our firm for your FREE DUI consultation.
It is important to consult with an attorney if you are a current member of the military and are facing DUI charges. The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm has attorneys with extensive experience arguing for the rights of those facing DUI charges. Our attorneys can help you determine if the military diversion program is the right choice for you and if we determine that it is, we will help you enroll in the program. If you are not eligible for the program, our team of attorneys can still help get your DUI criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We have decades of experience of obtaining plea bargain offers and can also represent you at your DMV hearing to ensure that you do not lose your driving privileges.
The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm understands that a DUI arrest can be a stressful process. If you are a member of the armed forces this process can be even more stressful. Having one of our attorneys at your side can help alleviate the stress of this process and provide you with competent representation throughout this entire process.
Call our office today at 949-377-2280 to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.