DUI and Military Members in San Diego
Thousands of military members, and veterans, from all branches of the armed forces, reside in San Diego. If you are, or were, in the military, and were arrested for DUI, you probably have a number of questions regarding the DUI process. In addition to the complexities of DUI law, as it applies to civilians, there are also special laws that may apply to you as a member of the military. One of these special areas of law is known as the Military Diversion Program. Essentially, the Military Diversion Program allows eligible military members, and veterans, to have criminal misdemeanor charges against them put on hold, while they complete a “diversion program”. Upon successfully completion of the program, the criminal charges against them will be dismissed, and it will be as if their arrest never occurred. For this reason, being admitted into a Military Diversion Program can be extremely beneficial. If you are a current, or former, member of the military, and were recently charges with a DUI, we encourage you to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney to schedule a FREE DUI consultation.
This article will provide you with a general overview of DUI Law as it relates to members of the military. Additionally, it will give an over view of the Military Diversion.
DUI Penalties for Members of the Military
Unfortunately, as a member of the armed forces if convicted of a DUI, you will likely face penalties from your command in addition to the penalties imposed by the California Court. The penalties from your command will vary based on the specific branch you belong to and your rank. If you have prior DUI or related convictions, you can expect you your penalties to increase accordingly. Some of the more common penalties you could face include:
- Negative performance reports;
- Evaluation and/or treatment for drug or alcohol abuse;
- Limited access to your base;
- Loss of security clearances;
- Monetary fines;
- Pay-cuts or demotions;
- Loss of pension rights;
- Dishonorable discharge.
Note that this list is not comprehensive and penalties will vary on a case by case basis. Furthermore, it is important to understand that it is common for members to be discharged if they have multiple DUI convictions (exceptions are made if the member can demonstrate that they are a valuable asset to the armed forces).
Penalties from the Criminal Court
If you are not eligible for a Military Diversion Program and you are convicted of a DUI in a California criminal court, you will also face criminal penalties. Penalties for a DUI will vary depending on the severity of your case. However, punishments commonly include:
- Required installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID);
- Five (5) or more years of probation;
- Driver’s license suspension;
- Required completion of drug and/or alcohol classes;
- Monetary Fines; and
- In some cases, jail time.
As you can see, the potential penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe and can impact your personal and professional life for years to come. If you have been charged with a DUI in San Diego, you should immediately consult with an attorney to give yourself a better chance of avoiding the penalties listed above.
Military Diversion Program
The San Diego Court, in collaboration with the District Attorney of San Diego County, the City Attorney of San Diego, and the public defender's office has compiled the following information with regard to military diversion. This information is a guide as to the best practices and this should not be construed as, or represent, strict rules or guidelines with entering into the program. If you believe that you may be a candidate or wish to consider the program, we encourage you to consult with one of our attorneys at the San Diego DUI Attorney.
Criteria for eligibility
- The defendant in the case is charged with a misdemeanor or combination of charges that are misdemeanors only.
- The defendant is currently serving in or has formerly served as a member of the United States military.
- The defendant must be currently suffering from or have a conditions of a traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse involving alcohol or drugs, or a mental health problem that was a result of his or her military involvement.
- The defendant must waive his or her right to a speedy trial and must give permission and consent to be placed on a military diversion program.
- The defendant cannot have previously been granted or gone through a prior military diversion type program for any type of other case.
- If the defendant has a prior conviction for the same or a similar offense, they may be better served by a post-conviction referral to the Veteran's Treatment Court which is located in Department 16 of the Central Division of the San Diego County Superior Court, as opposed to being granted permission to enter into a military diversion program. The Veteran's Treatment Court can provide a higher level of structure and supervision for those participants who qualify for the program. This program would also potentially earn a dismissal of the criminal conviction.
- Multiple acceptances into a military diversion for the same defendant may prevent them from seeking the higher level of treatment that would be available to them in the veteran's treatment court. As a result, military diversion may only be granted on a one-time basis.
Process of Admission
- The San Diego DUI Attorneys can assist you in filing a request for Military Diversion; Advisal and Waiver of Rights (SDSC form CRM-284) also referred to hereafter as request for Military Diversion, at the earliest possible time prior to the adjudication of the case.
- Upon receipt of the military diversion request filed by the San Diego DUI Attorney, the court will then vacate any future court dates that were previously set on the defendant's matter and set the case for a hearing on the military diversion calendar. A copy of the request to enter into the military diversion program will also be sent by the court to the prosecuting agency with a notice of the new court date set on the military diversion calendar.
- At least 15 calendar days prior to the military diversion hearing date, the lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney must file and serve on the prosecution a motion for military division, this motion must also include all of the alleged factual basis indicating why the defendant should be eligible for the military diversion program. The motion will also include a number of supporting documents. For example, proof of military service and an evaluation and assessment of the defendant's condition by a mental health or other appropriate professional will be filed along with the motion. Our attorneys will also help you develop a proposed treatment plan from an appropriate mental health provider with a recommendation within the provider's assessment. Any opposition or response to the motion from the prosecutor must be filed and served back upon the defense counsel at least five calendar days before the hearing on the military division calendar.
- If the court rules and finds that the defendant is not eligible for the military diversion program or that the military diversion program is not appropriate, the request for the diversion will be denied and any previously vacated court dates will be reset. Essentially, the case will proceed as a normal criminal case.
- If at the hearing the court rules that the defendant is eligible, and meets the requirements for the military diversion program, the court will grant military diversion for a period of not more than 2 years and temporarily postpose the criminal proceedings for that time. The court will then impose the specific conditions of the military diversion program. For example, treatment programs will be selected, and review hearings, to show proof that the defendant has enrolled and complied with the diversion program, will be scheduled. The court will also set a date upon which the case will be dismissed and deemed successfully adjudicated, if the defendant completes the entire diversion program.
Examples of Military Diversion conditions
- Twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) months of an approved treatment program.
- Form JC CR-160 for the entire time of the program for cases involving domestic violence.
- A fifty-two (52) week Family Recovery Program through the regional Veterans Center (San Diego exclusive) or a certified DV Recovery Program.
- MADD classes (if charge was for DUI) and First Conviction Program.
- Random testing for the presence of alcohol and/or drugs by an approved treatment facility.
- Completion of a drug and/or alcohol treatment center and an assessment by an approved evaluator along with a treatment plan.
- A written treatment evaluation report from a care or treatment provider and must be completed every 90 days.
- If the defendant successfully completes the military diversion program then the court will dismiss all of the criminal charges in the case.
- The arrest will be deemed to have never occurred, with the exception of the following: the Department of Justice will be notified as to the disposition of the case, and the arrest upon which the diversion was based may also be disclosed by the Department of Justice in response to an application or request to become a peace officer, and the defendant is still obligated to disclose the arrest if he or she is responding to a direct question contained in a questionnaire or application for the position of becoming a law enforcement or peace officer as defined in Penal Code 830.
If the defendant is underperforming or not performing to the satisfaction of the Military Diversion Court, the court may file a motion to dismiss the defendant from the military diversion program. Similarly, if the court deems the defendant is not benefiting from the treatment, the court can dismiss the diversion program and reinstate all criminal charges and place the case back on the criminal calendar. The charges will then proceed against the defendant.
If you feel that you may be a candidate for the Military Diversion Program please call the San Diego Attorneys Law Firm immediately for a free, no obligation case evaluation. This program is still considered relatively new and the lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney are specially trained in getting you the best results and outcome in your case. We will leverage every legal defense to get you the best results. Call today.
The San Diego DUI Attorney is here to help you through this difficult process. If you have recently been arrested for a DUI, contact us today for your FREE DUI consultation.
If you are in the military, and were recently charged with a DUI, it is important that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The San Diego DUI Attorney has lawyers with decades of experience advocating the rights of DUI defendants. We will help you determine if seeking admission into a Military Diversion Program is appropriate, and will assist with your enrollment. If you cannot be admitted into a Military Diversion Program, our team will aggressively seek to get the criminal charges against you reduced or dismissed. We are often successful in obtaining plea bargain offers from the District Attorney. Additionally, we will represent you at your DMV Hearing to help preserve your driving privileges during the pendency of your case.
At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we understand that a DUI arrest can be an extremely overwhelming experience. This can be especially true if you are a member of the armed forces. Having an attorney on your side who is experienced and knows the right arguments to make, can drastically improve your chances of avoiding conviction.
Contact our office today at 619-535-7150 for a FREE DUI consultation