If you’re a member of the military and you were given a DUI in San Diego County, you may be interested in the military diversion program. San Diego County has one of the largest concentrations of active and veteran military servicemen. Diversion has historically been used to help those who faced misdemeanor charges. If it was found that they had psychological or emotional trauma that was a result of their service that may have led to their charges, they could go through this program to get the charges dropped so they would not have a criminal record.
However, DUI charges were often not included in this. If you were pulled over for drunk driving or impaired driving, you may feel that this is unfair to you. The good news is that the state government agreed with you, and they updated the laws to include some DUI charges under this program. The program is not automatic and not easy, but you may be able to use it to get those charges dropped so that they are no longer on your record.
Do all DUIs count?
No. First, driving under the influence has to be a misdemeanor. If there are aggravating situations that turned it into a felony, then it is no longer going to qualify. But if it’s your first arrest for being slightly over the legal limit, for instance, then you may be able to go through the diversion program.
Why is this program used?
This program is in place because veterans may be suffering from various conditions based on their service. This is something that is not necessarily their fault. It is a result of the time they spent in the military, where they experienced things like:
- Military sexual trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS)
- A traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Chronic substance abuse
- Other mental health problems
In other words, someone who is suffering from PTSD may decide to use alcohol or other substances in an attempt to medicate themselves. This can make it more likely that they will be arrested for something like impaired driving. But the diversion program allows them to address the root cause of the issue, which is the PTSD that comes from their time in the military.
The most important fact is that you meet the criteria of military diversion. It is not an automatic process because you served. It is not automatic because you have PTSD or substance abuse issues. You need to get representation that has had success in getting people in and through diversion.
A program like this can be very helpful, although it can also be complex. Be sure you know exactly what options you have and how to use them.