Some veterans who face charges for non-violent misdemeanor or felony crimes in Hillsborough County may qualify for 13th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court (VTC). VTC is a court-supervised pre-trial intervention or post-plea option that allows the veteran to enter mental health or substance abuse treatment instead of facing significant penalties for their crimes.
VTC is a voluntary program that requires applying to the State Attorney’s Office. Accepted participants enter into a treatment program, have frequent check-ins with a VTC judge, and undergo regular drug tests. After completing the program, the court will dismiss their charges.
Only Some Veterans Qualify for VTC – the State Attorney’s Office Must Approve Your Application
Veterans must meet certain qualifications to apply for Veterans Treatment Court, and only those who receive approval from the State Attorney’s Office can participate in the program. Most are first-time offenders, however, the general criteria for eligibility include:
- Being a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a veteran of any branch of the military, including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, or National Guard and Reserves;
- Face charges stemming from a service-related physical injury or mental issue;
- Face charges that are non-violent and classified as misdemeanors or third-degree felonies;
- Not previously participated in VTC; and
- Undergoing an assessment that shows they will benefit from substance abuse or mental health treatment.
If you meet these qualifications, you may want to discuss applying for VTC with your lawyer. You will need the State Attorney’s approval before you can participate in VTC. If approved, this program could help you get the treatment you need while also avoiding the most significant penalties associated with a conviction.
Successfully Completing VTC Could Get Your Charges Dismissed
The Veterans Treatment Court in Hillsborough County is comprised of a program centered on treatment for mental health issues and/or substance abuse. There are several options for treatment included in the VTC program. In addition to treatment, you will appear in court before the VTC judge once every four to six weeks and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing. VTC lasts for 12 to 24 months, depending on your individual circumstances.
A successful program requires completing treatment and remaining free from drugs and alcohol. If you accomplish this, the benefits of this program become clear:
If you entered the program as a part of a pre-trial intervention, the State Attorney will dismiss the charges against you after you successfully complete the program.
If you entered the program as a condition of your probation after entering a plea in your case, you will either get reduced probation and avoid more significant consequences, they with withhold adjudication in your case, or both.
Goldman Wetzel Can Help You Understand if VTC Is Right for You
If the police arrested you or you face charges in Hillsborough County, Goldman Wetzel can help you fight for a more favorable outcome in your case. The criminal defense attorneys from Goldman Wetzel know what it takes to get the charges against you dropped or reduced. In some cases, VTC is a good option to get the treatment you need while also avoiding the penalties associated with a conviction.
The criminal defense attorneys from Goldman Wetzel always take on every case we handle together. When you hire one of us, you get both of us. This unique approach – combined with Summer Goldman’s background is in the prosecutor’s office and Maribeth Wetzel’s experience as a criminal defense attorney – ensures we always have a well-rounded view of our options.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney in Hillsborough County About VTC
The Tampa-area criminal defense lawyers from Goldman Wetzel can help you understand Veterans Treatment Court in Hillsborough County and determine if the program might be a good fit for you and your best interests. If this is an option in your Hillsborough County criminal case, we will help you apply. We know what the State Attorney’s Office is looking for on these applications and may be able to get you approved.
We serve clients who got arrested or face charges in Hillsborough County. In addition to serving the Tampa area, we also work with clients in Bradenton, Pinellas County, Sarasota, and St. Petersburg. You can reach a member of our team today at 727-828-3900.