Atlantic Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court
To operate a Veterans Treatment Court that engages a community collaborative to link veterans with trauma related disorders and/or substance abuse disorders to community-based treatment and services and reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system.
• Individuals charged with felony/misdemeanor offenses. (Misdemeanor charges must have a twenty-four month probation.)
• Honorable and Dishonorable discharged veterans from all branches of the military.
• Veterans suffering from combat-related PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injury), mental health issues, and substance abuse problems, all of which resulted in criminal activity.
• Veterans who honestly want help, and are willing to submit to a lifestyle of total sobriety.
Certain legal factors may exclude one from being eligible for the Veterans court program. These factors include:
• Conviction of a violent offenses as defined by the federal government;
• Felony firearm charges;
• Sex offenders;
• Illegal Alien Status;
• Individuals with any gang affiliation; and
• Pending felony charges in other jurisdictions.
Some other factors may exclude certain individuals from being eligible:
• Certain Prior felony convictions;
• A severe physical or mental handicap that would prevent program participation, though an appropriate referral must be made; and
• Being in active reserves of any branch.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is VTC a Mental Health Court or a Drug Court?
It is both. Our team treats and monitors whatever the Veterans’ needs are, but in a majority of the cases it is both.
2. Do you have to be a Veteran to participate in this court? Yes, you have to be a Veteran to be a participant or a mentor assigned to those Veterans. But not all Veterans are eligible to be defendants or mentors in the program.
3. How long is the program? The Veterans Treatment Court program is a 24 month track depending on treatment need and severity of crime. The program is broken down into 4 phases with each phase lasting up to 6 months. Progression in the program depends upon compliance with conditions. We’ve had Veterans that were in the program longer than 24 months because of sanctions.
4. Who do I contact to make a referral into Veterans Treatment Court? You can contact any member of the VTC team to obtain a copy of the referral or you can obtain a referral form inside this website (see VTC Referral and VTC Flyer).
5. What is the referral process into VTC? Once a referral is received by our team, your background will be ran, a VA search will be done and staffing held to determine if you are eligible to enter into the program. The District Attorney’s office must approve of the participant charges before moving forward. If you are eligible, you will have to meet with our treatment team for assessment and further evaluation. If you are accepted into the Veterans Treatment Court, you will be invited to come in and sign your contract and began the program.
6. What kinds of sanctions does the Court use? Writing Essays for the action and having behavior contract assigned to the participant are some sanctions commonly used. Having to attend more frequent Court Appearances, completing more Community Service hours, and Evaluations for specific programs with the recommendations of Treatment, and short stay jail incarcerations. If a veteran exhibits a pattern of noncompliance, some VTCs return him or her to an earlier stage of the program and or termination from the program.
7. Who makes up the treatment team? Included in the treatment team are the Judge, Court Coordinator, District Attorney, Public Defender, Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator, Treatment Provider, Community Surveillance Officers, and Probation Officer.
8. Will I be drug tested? Yes, this is an Accountability Court Program, which you are subject to being drug tested no less than twice a week and they will be random, so you will not know ahead of time when you will be ask to drug test. You will be provided details of the drug testing procedures after you sign your AJC Veterans Treatment Court Contract and begin treatment.
9. How often will I be drug tested? Drug testing is done randomly but, you will be screening while in the program not less than two times per week the entire 24 months you are in the program. You could receive urine drug screenings up to 4 times a week by the treatment provider if deemed necessary.
10. Does it cost anything to be in Veterans Treatment Court? Yes, Program Fees are paid over a period of the 24 months while in the program so it doesn’t have to be paid all at once. The total fees are $2,000, which are used for sustainability of the VTC Program.