After serving in the United States military, you deserve support as you reconnect with your civilian life. In Collin County, the Collin County Veterans Court services combat veterans who have suffered injuries during combat that later result in a criminal offense.
Veterans go through a lot when they're deployed, and may see or do things they'd never imagined. When returning to civilian life, it can be difficult to manage and cope with the physical, mental and emotional scars. In some cases, these wounds can result in criminal activities including assaults, family violence and drug offenses.
The goal of veterans court is not to penalize veterans for the hardships they face, but instead to help them overcome the troubles they face. Support and rehabilitation opportunities are offered to qualified criminal defendants.
To participate in the veterans court program, a veteran must abide by certain guidelines, including:
- Working with a case manager
- Attending bi-monthly compliance hearings
- Participating in the program for six to 24 months
Additionally, a defendant needs to show that he or she was or is a member of the United States Armed Forces. This includes individuals who serve in the State Guard, National Guard and Reserves. There must also be a connection between military service and the specific offense. For example, if a veteran has post-traumatic stress disorder and violates a law, it must be proven that his or her PTSD played a role. Finally, a defendant in Veterans Court must have been discharged under Honorable or General Under Honorable conditions.
Why is it a good idea to seek alternative court assistance?
Veterans are granted this special alternative to the traditional criminal justice system to protect them against unfair treatment if they've suffered physical or mental injuries as a result of protecting their country. Veterans who enter into the program develop individualized treatment plans for recovery. There is a phase system in place, too, which helps measure how quickly a participant is progressing through the program. Outside agencies are also part of the program, providing services for counseling, education and other needs.
After serving in the U.S. military, veterans deserve support as they attempt to rebuild their civilian lives. For veterans who encounter problems that lead to criminal charges, veterans court can provide a means to get the help they need to cope with and overcome challenges so they can move forward with their lives.