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Military Diversion

Under California Penal Code Section 1001.80, a defendant may be placed on pretrial diversion for a misdemeanor offenses if both the following apply to the defendant:

(1) The defendant was, or currently is, a member of the United States military.

(2) The defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of his or her military service.

In the past, misdemeanor DUI was excluded from this code section. However, the legislature revised diversion statute so that a judge now has discretion to grant military diversion to active military and veterans who have been charged with DUI under V.C. 23152(a) or V.C 23152(b), or charged with a wet reckless under V.C. 23103 per V.C. 23103.5.

If this code section applies to you, the first step will be to gather documents for a motion in front of the judge. You will need documents that prove you have served in the United States military and prove that you suffer from a trauma outlined in subdivision (2). A letter from a psychologist or psychiatrist who is treating you for PTSD is an example of documentation that the court would accept. The trauma you are suffering from must be directly linked to your service in the military. If your substance abuse or PTSD stems from a trauma unrelated to your military service, then you likely will not qualify for military diversion.

If your offense does not qualify for military diversion, or if you have already been convicted of a crime, do not despair. You may still qualify to get your case expunged post-conviction.

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