California Criminal Procedure: Conviction of Veterans

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious problem for veterans returning from war. Many residents in California are suffering from complicated mental disorders because of their time spent in stressful and life-threatening situations in war-stricken nations. The state of California has enacted Assembly Bill 674 to handle criminal cases involving veterans differently then those of a regular citizen. Under the new law, the court must hold a hearing to determine if the alleged crime occurred because of a service person’s time spent in war.

California Penal Code Section 1170.9 states: “In the case of any person convicted of a criminal offense who could otherwise be sentenced to county jail or state prison and who alleges that he or she committed the offense as a result of sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States military, the court shall, prior to sentencing, make a determination as to whether the defendant was, or currently is, a member of the United States military and whether the defendant may be suffering from health problems as a result of that service.”

Veterans determined to be suffering from mental health issues because of time spent in combat may be eligible for nonprofit treatment care instead of probation or jail time if they are convicted of a crime.

If your or a loved one has served our country in the military and now faces criminal charges in California, please do not hesitate to call the law offices of Sitkoff & Hanrahan. Our skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations to anyone, including veterans, facing criminal allegations. Call us today at 866-430-8383 to find out how we can help.

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