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Veterans' Courts in Arizona - What They Are, How They Work, and Who Qualifies

What is Veterans' Court?

Veterans' Court is a specialty program that exists in some courthouses in Arizona. The goal of Veterans' Court is to help former service members become active, contributing members of their community. This program brings together legal counsel, court staff, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and other support organizations to help veteran's facing a criminal legal issue.
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Who is Veterans' Court for?

The Veterans' Court program is for those currently in, or entering, the criminal justice system. Those involved in the program often have issues as the result of:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Anger Issues
Alcohol Abuse
Drug Abuse
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Depending on the issue the veteran is facing, the veteran's support team works to create and supervise a specialized treatment plan. These treatment plans are designed to address the underlying causes of the veteran's behavior and substance abuse issues.

Who is eligible for Veterans' Court?

Unfortunately, not every veteran is eligible for Veterans' Court. Veterans that have cases in a courthouse without a Veterans' Court will not be able to participate in the treatment program.
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Each Veterans' Court is operated differently depending on the community, presiding judge, and support staff. This program is voluntary and the veteran must ask to be placed in the program. Once a veteran requests to be in the program, the prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge may consider the following:
  • The criminal charge that the veteran is facing
  • The veteran's legal history
  • Plea agreements that may exist
  • Recommendations from Adult Probation Departments
  • The veteran being willing to fully participate in the program

How can a veteran remain eligible for a Veterans' Court program?

For the veteran to remain eligible, they have to actively participate and work towards making progress in the treatment program that is developed for them by the court. There may be certain requirements that the veteran has to agree to and cannot violate to remain in the program. If the veteran does not follow the rules or requirements they may be thrown out of the program and returned to the regular judicial process.

What is the process for Arizona Veterans' Courts?

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The prosecutor and the defense counsel evaluate each case and must agree that the case is appropriate for Veterans Court.  The case is then presented to the Judge for final approval.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach specialist then verifies the veterans eligibility for veteran’s benefits and conducts an initial assessment of the veteran’s treatment requirements.  The veteran, if eligible for VA benefits, is then directed to the local VA medical facility for a more in-depth assessment.
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It is from this assessment a treatment plan is agreed on for presentation to the Judge.  Upon approval of the plan by the Judge, the veteran begins the treatment programs called for in the plan.

Progress in the treatment program is closely monitored by the Court.  Non-compliance with the treatment program can lead to penalties which may include incarceration, community service, and reprimand by the Judge.  In cases of continuous non-compliance, a veteran may be removed from Veterans' Court.  The favorable terms of any plea agreement may revoked and a sentence given.

What happens to veterans who complete their program successfully?


Upon successful completion of a Veterans' Court program, diversion eligible veterans may have their case dismissed. Veterans on probation may have their probation successfully terminated.

Veterans in Veterans' Court can expect to be subjected to more frequent reviews by the court to monitor the veteran’s progress in their treatment programs.

 

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Veterans making satisfactory progress may be recognized by the Court and offered words of encouragement.  

Veterans not making satisfactory progress may expect words of encouragement of an entirely different nature and additional penalties may be given. 

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Successful completion of the Veterans Court program will be marked by “graduation” from the program. 

Maricopa County Superior Court Veterans Court

Coconino County Superior Court Veterans Court

Bullhead City Veterans Treatment Court
 

Kingman Veterans Court
 

Lake Havasu City Consolidated Court Veterans Court

Mesa Municipal Veterans Court
 

Phoenix Municipal Court Veterans court
 

Pima County Justice Court Veterans Court
 

East Valley Regional Veterans Court

City of Tucson Veterans Court