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Adjusting to civilian life is never easy for veterans, especially if they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans with PTSD can have difficulty securing benefits, keeping therapy ducks, and, sadly, staying out of trouble with the law.
So where can veterans turn if they need legal help? Fortunately there are criminal defense attorneys and courts that can help.
In an effort to help veterans dealing with substance abuse, mental health issues, and criminal charges, many jurisdictions have been setting up Veterans Treatment Courts. Veterans courts can have more flexibility when dealing with criminal charges, and may be able defer harsh punishments like jail time in lieu of a defendant's participation in programs to treat the underlying issues connected to their criminal misconduct.
There are currently veterans courts in 33 states nationwide, but access to veterans court services may be limited. Additionally, many jurisdictions only allow alternative sentencing for minor crimes and misdemeanors, and veterans accused of felonies or violent crimes may not be eligible for services.
Transitioning from military to civilian law, or understanding each can impact the other, can be complicated. And veterans may not always know how civilian criminal convictions can have military repercussions.
For veterans and for military personnel, navigating military law and civilian criminal law can be a challenge. Service members can face unique legal challenges, so FindLaw has extensive military law resources, including information on military DUIs and double jeopardy laws.
Anyone accused or charged with a crime should consult with an attorney. Criminal charges are serious and there are things a criminal defense attorney can do that you probably can't.
There are also military lawyers that may have experience handling veterans with PTSD, substance abuse, or other mental health issues who will be able to better represent a veteran's interests.
If you're a veteran who's been charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced military attorney today.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.