Anybody who gets arrested and charged with drinking and driving in San Diego can potentially get in trouble at work over it. You could miss work because you are stuck in jail. Assuming your driver’s license gets suspended, you will have to find another way to get to work or face termination. Or your boss could find out about your arrest and fire you over it.
It’s the same for active-duty members of the military. Besides criminal charges in civilian court, a servicemember could face disciplinary action. Fortunately, California law offers a number of diversion programs that can keep a DUI off your record and avoid serious penalties. One of those programs is reserved for current and former military members.
Who can get into military diversion for a DUI charge?
Only current and former U.S. military members charged with misdemeanor DUI can qualify for military diversion. Other requirements include:
- The defendant waives their right to a speedy trial and consents to the diversion program.
- The defendant may be suffering from a psychological or neurological problem as a result of military service, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, drug or alcohol addiction or a traumatic brain injury.
- The defendant has not already entered military diversion for another case.
Though the law does not prohibit multiple diversions for the same defendant, it discourages it, so getting a second chance at diversion is difficult.
The idea of diversion is simple: if the defendant completes the terms laid out by the court, the DUI charges get dismissed. Those terms are up to the judge, but suggested conditions of dismissal include:
- Addiction treatment.
- Attendance of a First Conviction Program and MADD Impact Panel.
- Random drug/alcohol testing.
- Regular written progress reports from the treatment providers.
Successful completion of the program will cause the charge to be dismissed and the arrest expunged from the defendant’s record. But if the court has reason to believe the defendant is not sticking to the conditions, or that they are not benefitting from them, a hearing will be held to decide if the defendant should stand trial after all.
Military diversion can be very useful after a DUI arrest — if you qualify. Consult a DUI defense attorney to find out if you do.