Military Diversion (Penal Code 1001.80)

What is California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion?

Our nation’s men and women in uniform experience a unique set of personal and physical challenges.  The California court system recognizes this and has authorized military diversion as an available sentencing alternative for some veterans and active military men and women.  If you are a man or woman in the military and you are distressing from psychological problems, then you might qualify for military diversion.  In simple terms, you would be subject to the rules and conditions of military diversion instead of being sentenced to jail or prison.  Military diversion is codified in the California law books under Penal Code 1001.80.  It is considered a type of pre-trial diversion.  In other words, instead of going through the normal criminal procedure process, you will be required to obtain mental health treatment.

California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion is only available for those who are facing misdemeanor charges.  In addition, you must be either a veteran or an active duty man or woman in the military.  Under California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, you are not required to make a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.  Instead, the court will push back your criminal hearings while you complete the terms and conditions of your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program.  This usually consists of drug or mental health treatment or educational programs. 

If you finish all the terms and conditions of your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program, the charges you faced will be discharged.  However, if you do not complete the terms and conditions of your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program, the criminal hearing process will unfreeze and you will face criminal charges as before.

How do you qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion?

You may qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion if, due to your time in the military, you experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sex related distress, brain damage, drug abuse, or other psychological issues.  It is important to note that the problems you are facing must have arisen from your time in the military.  Also, you only qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion if you have never been convicted of a crime in the past.  If you have a previous conviction on your criminal record, then you will probably be directed to Veteran’s Court, which is discussed at length below.  Veteran’s court is a more regulated and supervised process than California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion.

Remember, to qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, you must be charged with a misdemeanor(s) only.  If you are charged with a felony, then you do not qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion.  Offenses commonly seen with California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion include, but is by no means an exhaustive list, the following: driving under the influence, possession of illicit substances, battery, and/or assault.

To get California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, your California Criminal Defense Attorney will have to make a formal request with the judge.  In many cases, the judge may require a formal review of the situation to help them determine whether or not to grant California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion.  If the judge decides that you qualify for California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, then you will be submitted into the pretrial diversion program.  For a maximum of two years, the criminal hearing process will be frozen while you complete the terms and conditions of the California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program.  Again, this typically consists of medical or psychological treatment.

What treatment plans are available under California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion?

The judge will decide whether or not you should be subjected to a federally based or a locally based treatment plan.  The judge will consider programs that have a high success rate in treating veterans or men or women in the military.  The programs may be sponsored by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  If not, they might chose a program that could be collaborating with these departments to make sure you get the best possible services and opportunities available to you.  There is also a chance the judge might direct you to the local mental health governmental unit.  This will only happen if the local mental health governmental unit consents to oversee your medical and psychological treatment, to communicate and coordinate with your local veteran’s service manager, and to file periodical reports with the court handling your case.

In your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion treatment plan, the court can require you to meet all sorts of terms and conditions.  Some examples of California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion terms and conditions include, but are not limit to, the following: attend regular treatment meetings, meet with a counselor or therapist, drug or alcohol testing, and turning in regular progress reports from the agencies or organizations overseeing your care.

Usually, a California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion treatment plan can take an average of one to one and a half years.  However, they could go up to two years.  California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion does not allow the diversion to take longer than two years.

Keep in mind that the judge has the option of prematurely ending your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program.  They will review the periodical reports sent to the court and make a determination whether to terminate your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program based on the following: You are not satisfactorily completing the terms and conditions of your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion or you are not improving from the treatment that is being provided for you.  In the situation the judge decides to prematurely end your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program, the criminal hearing process will unfreeze and you will face the criminal charges as before.

What happens to your arrest history under California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion?

As discussed above, if you complete all the terms and conditions of your California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program, then the charges you originally faced will be discharged.  Also, if you successfully complete the California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, the arrest related to the charges against you cannot be used to deny you a job, license, or certificate.  You will be able to honestly say, to a question asking about your criminal history, that you were never arrested or diverted for the relevant charges/offense.  However, there is an exception if you are applying to be a police officer.  In this case, you are required by law to reveal the arrest on an application if it were to come up.  Furthermore, the federal justice department is allowed to reveal the arrest to an agency supervising the hiring process for policemen or policewomen. 

Also, if you are facing charges related to driving, successfully completing the California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion program may not affect your standing with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  The DMV has the power to suspend or restrict your driving privileges outside the power of the criminal justice system.  Hence, if you are charged with driving under the influence, you might still lose your license.  However, your California Criminal Defense Attorney can help represent you at an administrative DMV hearing.  At this hearing, your California Criminal Attorney can fight for your driving privileges to be reinstated as quickly as possible.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A California Criminal Defense

If available, your California Criminal Defense Attorney can argue Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a full legal defense to the charges you face.  It falls under the insanity defense.  Additionally, your California Criminal Defense Attorney can be utilized to reduce the sentence you faced if you are convicted of a crime.  The judge will consider the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a factor in reducing the punishments he might issue.

Your California Criminal Defense Attorney can win your case on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder defense if they can prove that the crime was committed during a period of time when you were legally insane.  There are two separate facts that your California Criminal Defense Attorney must show to qualify you as legally insane.  At the time of the incident in which a crime was alleged, your California Criminal Defense Attorney must show that you did not comprehend the nature of your conduct.  Secondly, they must show that you could not tell the difference between right conduct and wrong conduct.  This must be proven according to a particular level of certainty.  For California criminal cases, a defense must be proven to the standard of a preponderance of evidence.  This means that a jury must conclude that it was more likely than not that at the time of the incident in which the alleged crime was committed you were legally insane.  If this is shown, this does not mean you get to walk away completely free. The judge will send not send you to jail or prison, but he will require that you be committed into a hospital that treats psychological issues.

Evidence of PTSD can be used beyond just as a legal defense.  At sentencing, it could be used to mitigate the punishment you receive.  Your California Criminal Defense Attorney will need to demonstrate that your psychological suffering lead to the crime that took place.  As a result, the court will lessen the punishment they planned on giving you.  As a result, you may get less prison time, a smaller period of probation, or even the option of getting treatment instead of going to prison at all.

What is California Penal Code 1170.9?

California Penal Code 1170.9 has some aspects that are comparable to military diversion.  However, the major difference is that is applicable to after you have already been convicted of a particular crime.  It applies if you were found “guilty” (by a judge or a jury), if you plead guilty, or if you plead no contest to a particular crime.

Just like California Penal Code 1001.80 Military Diversion, Penal Code 1170.9 gives judges the power to sentence veterans to psychological treatment instead of going to prison.  Again, the crimes must have stemmed from an emotional trauma issue, brain damage, drug problems, or emotional issues sourcing from time spent in the military.  In the past, Penal Code 1170.9 was only applicable for those men or women who fought in combat.  However, Penal Code 1170.9 is now available for all people who served in the military.

If you claim that you fall within the purview of California Penal Code 1170.9 (or your California Criminal Defense Attorney does so for you) the court must hold a proceeding to decide whether or not it’s the case.  The judge will then decide at this proceeding whether or not you should be given mental health treatment in lieu of going to prison/jail.

Under Penal Code 1170.9, your treatment program will not go on longer than the time you would have spent in jail.  If you are sentenced with probation and required to stay in a residential mental health treatment center, then you will gain credit for the time you spent there.

The important thing about California Penal Code 1170.9 is that to qualify, you must also be eligible to serve probation.  Hence, Penal Code 1170.9 is available for many crimes.    For example, most violent crimes are not eligible for probation.  Therefore, if you committed a violent crime, you will not be able to qualify for Penal Code 1170.9.  Furthermore, even though a particular crime might be eligible for probation, if the particular facts of the crime seem violent, then a judge might decide you shouldn’t be eligible for probation.  Again, in these situations, you would also not be to able qualify for Penal Code 1170.9

What is a Veteran’s Court?

Recently, local counties have started specialized Veteran Courts.  Many southern California Superior Court jurisdictions have followed with this trend, including Orange County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County.  California’s Veteran Courts are different philosophically and structurally than most California courts.  Most courts are designed to be adversarial.  This means both sides (prosecutor vs. defense; plaintiff vs. defense) argue and debate each other, in front of a judge or jury, until a determination is made.  However, Veteran Courts are designed to be cooperative.  All the parties work together to try and figure out how to reduce the symptomatic problems that lead to the crime in the first place.  For example, if the defendant is stealing to pay for drugs, all the parties will focus their efforts on trying to reduce the defendant’s drug abuse.  In this way, Veteran’s courts operate similarly to Military Diversion.  However, Veteran Courts provide more observation, administration, and checkups.  Most California Veteran Courts only review the cases of non-violent lawbreakers.  However, Orange County will take up the cases of violent lawbreakers.

If the Veteran’s Court agrees to review your case, then you will be assigned a group of stakeholders that will all cooperate together to help create a holistic rehabilitation program for you.  This group will include a social worker, a judge, a district attorney or city attorney, and your criminal defense lawyer.  If you finish all of the program’s terms and conditions, then the charges against you will be discharged, as per Penal Code 1170.9.  More significantly, you will hopefully have the support network and skills needed to effectively reenter regular life.

If I am a veteran or an active man or woman in the military, what should I do to qualify for these specialized military criminal programs?

The best thing you can have on your side is an experienced, diligent, and caring California Criminal Defense Attorney.  As discussed above, there are a variety of alternative sentencing schemes designed for veterans and men and women in the military.  It is important that you have a strong California Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you take advantage of these programs.  The right attorney can be the difference between spending time in prison and having the freedom to live your life.  It can be the difference between spending many years away from loved ones and getting the treatment you need in a safe, local, and comfortable atmosphere.  It can be the difference between having a harmful mark on your criminal and personal record and walking away from this terrible time completely free.

If you are charged with a crime, feel free to talk with one of our outstanding California Criminal Defense Attorneys.  They will happily review the specific circumstances of your situation.  They will explain to you the charges that you face, what issues are likely to come up, what legal defenses might be available, what the potential punishments might be, and what alternative sentencing schemes you could take advantage of.

You will need a smart and dedicated Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to help you throughout all the stages of a criminal prosecution.  We will be happy to provide a free consultation to help you get started.

Call 424-333-0943 today for a free consultation.

Additional Information and Links

Veterans Treatment Courts
Veteran Family Court
Resources for Veterans

Free Case Evaluation

Call 424-333-0943 24/7 if you want to retain excellent attorneys.

Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Review

Facebook Reviews for Criminal Defense

Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Reviews

Criminal Defense Awards

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

Criminal Defense Reviews

5.0 out of 5.0
Based on 73 reviews
City: Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney