Serving in the United States armed forces often leaves those who served with significant emotional struggles or challenging injuries. For servicemembers and veterans struggling with their mental health, the strain that they experience could lead to stress and strain in their household. If that conflict becomes particularly heated, they may find themselves facing charges of domestic violence.
Studies indicate that mental health struggles contribute to household conflict.
Studies indicate that there is a link between the mental health of people involved in domestic incidents. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a panic disorder or alcohol and drug abuse struggles are more likely to act with physical aggression compared to those without these diagnoses, for example.
Given the prevalence of mental health struggles experienced by those currently or formerly serving in the armed forces, it is perhaps unsurprising that reports of domestic incidents are common. In fact, reports of domestic violence are twice as common in the military compared to the general population.
Pretrial military diversion offers an alternative.
While a conviction for domestic violence can have a long-lasting impact on a servicemember’s freedom and their ability to pursue a career in the military, pretrial diversion may allow them to move forward. Pretrial military diversion offers the opportunity to delay charges in favor of treatment for servicemembers who experience mental health struggles as a result of their service.
Under California Penal Code 1001.80, current and former members of the military who suffer from a variety of mental health issues can pursue diversion of misdemeanor charges, including accusations of domestic violence. With the charges diverted, these veterans can pursue mental health treatment and, after a period of time, potentially have the charges dismissed altogether.