Veterans and active military members go through many experiences that are entirely foreign to those who have never served. Unfortunately, some of these experiences can negatively affect veterans, leaving them with different forms of trauma. While some receive help to heal the trauma, many veterans lack access to such programs. Military diversion allows for certain veterans to receive pretrial diversion in cases of misdemeanor crimes. As such, they can receive the treatment they need, instead of jail time.
However, there are various levels of eligibility an individual must satisfy such that their lawyer can request military diversion. Those who were or still are active members of the military, suffer from trauma and currently face a misdemeanor charge can be eligible. According to California Penal Code 1001.80 the trauma must be related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health, sexual trauma, drug addiction, or brain injury. Furthermore, diversion is only possible for misdemeanor crimes, and not felonies.
The military member does not have to plead guilty in order to receive diversion. Their lawyer must request it on their behalf. If the defendant completes the diversion program, the charges against them are dismissed. While the defendant is participating in the program, the trial is postponed. However, if the defendant refuses to finish the program, they will have to return to court and continue with the misdemeanor trial.