Many residents of St. Louis and other parts of Missouri decide to sign up for the armed forces in order to defend their nation and fellow citizens. Sadly, military service sometimes comes with negative consequences, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety and other adverse conditions. If the negative effects of your military service resulted in criminal charges, there is good news for you – in the form of the St. Louis County Veterans Court.
What the veterans court does
The judicial system of St. Louis county has a special court dedicated solely to military veterans in the county who are facing criminal charges. Similar courts exist in counties across the state. If you are not a resident of St. Louis county, verify how your local veterans court works.
The purpose of the St. Louis Veterans Court is to give back to veterans who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. It provides veterans facing criminal charges with an environment in which they can confront their problems and receive the professional help that they require to make lasting progress towards a healthy future – in lieu of the prison sentence usually associated with a criminal conviction.
How to qualify
The veterans court is not open to just anybody. There are specific requirements that you must meet in order to be able to request that your criminal trial be transferred to the veterans court. The first and most obvious requirement is that you must have served or be currently serving in a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
In addition, you must be over 18, and you must not have had a disciplinary discharge from the military. Your criminal charges must be for a non-violent felony. The criminal charges must also be the result of a mental health problem or substance abuse problem that you were suffering from at the time.
Trauma and other negative consequences of military service have the potential to ruin someone’s life forever. Fortunately, by following the veterans court program, you may be able to overcome these challenges and get a fresh start, despite your criminal charges.