As with many legal questions, the answer is it depends.
In 2021, Congress signed a bill into law that requires the court to defer prosecution for an “eligible offense” committed by a defendant who was or currently is a member of the United States military and is suffering from an “applicable condition.”
Eligible offenses include any misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, and felonies ranked at a severity level 7 or lower. Applicable conditions include sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and mental health conditions.
If the court finds the defense has proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant suffers from an applicable condition, prosecution will be deferred, and the defendant will be placed on probation. Upon discharge of probation, the court will determine whether to dismiss the proceedings.
As with all legal issues, there are many nuances to the new veterans’ bill. If you are charged with a crime or concerned charges may be coming, reach out to one of our attorneys to discuss your options.