Penal Code 1170.9 PC | Veterans Treatment in Lieu of Jail


Penal Code 1170.9 PC | Veterans Treatment in Lieu of Jail

In California, Penal Code 1170.9 PC allows military veterans who commit certain crimes to undergo treatment instead of incarceration. This law aims to provide rehabilitative services to address conditions like PTSD, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

Let’s take a closer look at how PC 1170.9 works, who qualifies, the treatment programs available, and how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help veterans take advantage of this law.

What is Penal Code 1170.9?

The key portions of California’s law regarding veterans treatment state:

Upon conviction of a defendant for a criminal offense, the court may order the defendant into a pretrial diversion program for veterans if the defendant was a member of the United States military and suffers from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, or mental health issues as a result of that service.

If the defendant successfully completes the diversion program, the criminal charges shall be dismissed.

In simpler terms, PC 1170.9 allows the following:

  • Eligible veterans can enter a treatment program instead of jail/prison
  • Their sentence is suspended while completing the program
  • Charges may be dismissed if they finish the program

This provides an alternative to incarceration for veterans suffering from service-related conditions.

Who is Eligible for Veterans Diversion Under PC 1170.9?

To participate in veterans diversion, the following conditions must apply:

  • Served in the U.S. military
  • Suffer from PTSD, TBI, substance abuse or mental health issues from that service
  • Charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense
  • Do not have a serious or violent felony conviction
  • Deemed suitable for treatment by the court

Prosecutors have discretion on whether to allow diversion in each case. Factors considered include criminal history and the circumstances of the offense.

How Does Veterans Diversion Work?

The process for veterans treatment under PC 1170.9 involves the following steps:

  1. A clinical assessment to determine suitability for diversion and recommend a treatment program
  2. Court approves diversion instead of sentencing if deemed appropriate
  3. Veteran enters and completes the treatment program
  4. Charges are dismissed and record cleared if program finished successfully

Treatment can last up to 2 years. Participants must comply with all terms of the program and remain arrest-free.

Types of Treatment Programs Available

PC 1170.9 authorizes a range of rehabilitative treatment programs for eligible veterans. These can include both inpatient and outpatient programs to address conditions like:

  • PTSD – Counseling, exposure therapy, medication management
  • Drug/alcohol addiction – Detox, residential rehab, 12-step programs, counseling
  • Mental health – Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups
  • Traumatic brain injury – Cognitive rehabilitation, speech therapy, medication

The court will refer the veteran to an appropriate certified treatment program based on a clinical evaluation of their needs.

Benefits of Completing Veterans Diversion

The main benefits of successfully finishing a treatment program under PC 1170.9 include:

  • The criminal charges are dismissed
  • The arrest is deemed to have never occurred
  • Records of the arrest and diversion program are sealed
  • Avoids impacts of a criminal conviction

This gives veterans an incentive to fully commit to treatment and turn their lives around.

How a Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial for getting access to veterans diversion. An attorney can:

  • Advise if you are eligible for diversion under PC 1170.9
  • Gather records to demonstrate your military service and conditions
  • Negotiate with prosecutors to approve diversion
  • Refer you to approved treatment programs
  • Help you comply with all requirements of diversion
  • Make sure charges are dismissed upon completion

Don’t leave this to chance. An attorney can maximize your chances of getting this beneficial treatment alternative.

Treatment Offers Rehabilitation and a Second Chance

Penal Code 1170.9 provides a rehabilitative pathway for veterans suffering from service-related trauma and conditions. Successful treatment allows avoiding a criminal conviction and turning your life around.

But you need an experienced guide to navigate the complexities of veterans diversion. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you take full advantage of this law.