Do Veterans Get Special Treatment in Georgia DUIs?

If you are a veteran in Georgia, the nation owes you a debt of gratitude – and this debt may provide more positive outcomes after DUI charges. First, it is important to understand that veterans struggle with substance abuse (including alcoholism) at a very high rate compared to the rest of society. The experiences of combat can easily lead to mental health issues like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and this may cause veterans to self-medicate. The United States also has an established history of leniency toward veterans as a matter of course. But can this really help with your DUI charge in Georgia?

The Veterans Treatment Court

If you live in Georgia, you may qualify for a diversionary program called “Veterans Treatment Court.” This diversion program is only available for legitimate veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, reserves, or National Guard. The purpose of this program is to prevent veterans from having their lives ruined by the criminal justice system – instead guiding them toward treatment and more lenient sentences. 

You should know that this program specifically targets those struggling with substance abuse, and there are only a few qualifying offenses that make you eligible. Aside from possession and prescription drug offenses, you may also qualify if the major factor surrounding your criminal charge involves drug use. Additionally, you can qualify if your criminal charge involves some form of mental illness. Finally, you can potentially become eligible for this program if law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other parties specifically recommend it. 

A DUI may lead to a diversion under the Veterans Treatment Court, assuming that certain factors exist. The most obvious example involves a DUI with some kind of drug intoxication, as this would immediately make you eligible. You might also pursue the Veterans Treatment Court if you can show that you are struggling with a substance-abuse-related mental illness like alcoholism. Finally, a prosecutor, judge, or even your own defense attorney could recommend this diversionary program on your behalf – even if your DUI offense did not involve drugs or alcohol-related substance abuse disorders. 

Leniency Toward Veterans is an Unspoken Rule in the Criminal Justice System

Aside from specific programs like the Veterans Treatment Court, the criminal justice system is inherently lenient toward veterans for a number of reasons. In 2009, the Supreme Court noted that America has a tradition of being lenient toward veterans, “especially those who fight on the front lines.” This suggests that your specific actions during your term of service may become relevant – including any acts of heroism or bravery on the front lines. Furthermore, judges and other legal professionals are well aware that jurors may see veterans in an inherently positive light – making it very difficult to convict these heroes. 

Find an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Georgia

If you have been searching for an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Georgia, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous DUI defendants pursue positive outcomes. While taking advantage of your military service record to pursue leniency is certainly a possibility, there may be many other defense strategies to consider. Book your consultation today to discuss your unique situation in more detail. 


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Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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