Following a national trend of establishing courts that can specially attend to the needs of veterans, San Mateo County now has a Veterans’ Treatment Court (VTC) for current and former members of the United States Military. These courts come in response to ample research showing that imprisonment can severely aggravate PTSD and other mental health conditions military veterans often have and are part of a concerted effort to keep veterans out of jail and prison.
Participants in San Mateo County’s VTC enroll in mental health treatment and therapy and/or substance abuse counseling as well as other services like job training, and receive intensive supervision by probation. Participants may have to agree to additional probation conditions, such as wearing an electronic monitoring device, agreeing to take prescribed medications, or giving up due process rights. Upon completion of an agreed upon program, participants may have fines reduced, probation terminated early, and charges dismissed or expunged.
The eligibility requirements for VTC are:
- Prior or current membership in the U.S. military and be eligible for Veterans’ Administration benefits;
- Have a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), sexual trauma and/or substance abuse or other mental health issue that stems from military service; and
- Be eligible for probation and not considered to be a danger to the community.
Participation is voluntary. Participation may be to your benefit but it may also add consequences and conditions you might not otherwise have, so it’s best to talk to a defense attorney before applying to transfer your case to VTC. The Law Offices of Thomas Greenberg can help by counseling you in this decision and by representing you in whichever court you choose.