Anyone who was or is a member of the armed forces knows that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other similar conditions are a very real problem for veterans. The legislature of New Jersey recognizes the gravity of the effect that military service can have on a person, and that veterans deserve our respect, gratitude and assistance. That is why the legislature established the Veterans Diversion Program, to give veterans the help they need when they have a negative interaction with the police that results in criminal charges.
How the Veterans Diversion Program works
The program applies to veterans who receive criminal charges for behavior that was the result of PTSD or another condition that they developed due to their military service. It allows them the opportunity to get much-needed help that the traditional criminal justice system may not provide.
If the accused veteran chooses to take advantage of the program, and if they qualify for it, then they have the option of foregoing criminal proceedings. Instead of a criminal trial, the veteran would begin a program where they receive treatment and education to help them to deal with and overcome their condition.
If the veteran gets all the way through the Diversion Program satisfactorily, then the court will drop all charges against them. If not, then the criminal proceedings will resume.
As part of the diversion program, veteran mentors will assist you with overcoming the effects of your condition, including counseling services for drug or alcohol addiction if necessary. The mentor can also assist you with things such as job placement.
Qualifying for the Veterans Diversion Program
There are certain requirements that you must satisfy in order to be able to take advantage of the program. Obviously, the first requirement is that you must have served, or be currently serving, in the armed forces.
Next, you must prove that you are suffering from PTSD, alcohol or drug addiction, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety or another adjustment or psychotic disorder. The court may request an independent evaluation to confirm your condition and its cause.
It’s tragic when our brave service members suffer adverse effects from their military service. The Veterans Diversion Program is just one way that the state of New Jersey attempts to make life a little bit easier for them, and to help them to overcome their adversities.