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DUI: Military

Members of the military, both current and former, may encounter legal consequences just like civilians. However, they have the option to utilize a specialized initiative known as the military diversion program, which can be highly advantageous in navigating their legal challenges. This program is specifically tailored to assist veterans and active-duty military personnel confronting misdemeanor charges, particularly those associated with substance abuse, mental health issues, or other challenges arising from their military service. In this piece, we will elucidate the nature of a military diversion program, its functioning, and the potential advantages it can offer in the context of a criminal case.

What Constitutes a Military Diversion Program?

A military diversion program is an exclusive initiative accessible to individuals who are current or former members of the United States Military facing misdemeanor criminal charges. The primary objective of the program is to present an alternative to the traditional criminal prosecution process, aiming to help veterans and active-duty military personnel evade incarceration and receive support for addressing underlying issues, such as substance abuse, PTSD, or other mental health concerns.

Under California law, military diversion is applicable to eligible defendants diagnosed with mental health disorders, including PTSD, substance abuse, or psychological challenges linked to their military service. The program extends to certain misdemeanor offenses like drug-related charges, DUI, domestic violence, and other crimes commonly associated with substance abuse or mental health issues.

Functioning of Military Diversion

The mechanics of military diversion closely resemble other diversion programs. Eligible defendants can submit an application to participate, and the court assesses whether they meet the eligibility criteria. If approved, the defendant is obliged to fulfill specific requirements, which may encompass counseling, therapy, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, or other activities designed to address the root causes of the criminal charges.

The court typically establishes a deadline for program completion, and the defendant must make periodic court appearances to report on their progress. Successful completion of the program results in the dismissal of charges, enabling the individual to sidestep a criminal conviction.

Advantages of Military Diversion

Engaging in a military diversion program offers several advantages. Foremost among them is the opportunity for defendants to access the assistance required to tackle underlying mental health or substance abuse issues. By completing the program, individuals can avail themselves of treatment and resources that facilitate overcoming these challenges and averting future legal complications.

Another significant benefit is that military diversion aids veterans and active-duty military personnel in avoiding a criminal conviction. Such convictions can have severe repercussions for military personnel, including the loss of security clearance, employment termination, and other adverse outcomes. Through participation in a diversion program, individuals can circumvent these negative consequences and safeguard future opportunities.

Lastly, military diversion assists veterans and active-duty military personnel in avoiding incarceration. Many individuals facing misdemeanor charges may receive jail sentences, a situation that can be especially burdensome for military personnel currently in service or recently returned from deployment. By opting for a diversion program, defendants can steer clear of jail time and maintain connections with their families and communities.


Military diversion stands as a valuable resource for veterans and active-duty military personnel grappling with misdemeanor criminal charges. This initiative opens avenues for participants to access treatment and resources vital for addressing underlying mental health or substance abuse issues while averting criminal convictions and incarceration. If you find yourself, as a current or former military member, facing misdemeanor charges, consulting with a criminal defense attorney is advisable to explore the viability of military diversion for your situation.

H Law Group Online

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