A Veterans treatment court promotes sobriety, recovery, and stability through a coordinated effort to provide treatement for addiction and mental health issues and to maintain regular contact with the court. The Veterans Court utilizes volunteer veteran mentors to encourage, guide, and supoprt the veteran through the Court prcoess.
The Veteran who can benefit from the Veterans Treatment Court Program is a person who has a criminal charge pending and for whom there is an underlying treatment need contributing to the criminal issues. Eligibility typically requires:
A case may be referred to the Vet Court before or after an adjudication of guilt, generally depending on the nature of the charge. In a pre-conviction case, successful completion of the Vet Court Program may result in dismissal of the criminal charge. In a post-conviction case, typically impaired driving (OWI), the court places the Veteran on probation and one required condition of that probation is successful completion of the Vet Court Program. Typically, the district attorney and defense lawyer agree to allow the case into Veterans Court and the Vet signs a contract agreeing voluntarily to participate.
The Veteran applies to the Vets Court (application below). If the Veteran qualifies for VA medical care, the Veteran will be referred to the VA to determine if there is a treatment need (such as mental health or AODA). If there is a need, the defense attorney should consult the assigned prosecutor to determine if a referral to the Vet Court should be made. Once accepted, the Vet will appear before the Vets Court judge on a regular basis. The Vet must follow through on treatment, including random drug testing.
Volunteer Mentors, themselves veterans, are the key part of the Vets Court. Each Veteran is assigned a Vet Mentor who maintains contact with the Vet to encourage, advise and assist the Vet. Communication from the Vet to Mentor is, by law, confidential and the Mentor cannot disclose anything except in an emergency involving harm to someone or a criminal act. Mentor Application Packet
Upon successful completion of the treatment plan (typically 12-18 months), the original charges against the defendant are dismissed or reduced.