This Minnesota Law Can Help Minnesota Veterans Who Commit Low-Level Crimes
Veterans day is coming up, and not all veterans handle being out of the military the same way. Often times those who have left the service struggle with the life that follows. Sometimes that struggle is short-lived other times their tours of duty bring them home with emotional baggage. A recent Minnesota law offers assistance to those veterans who find themselves on the wrong side of the law, for committing what's considered 'low-level' crimes.
The Minnesota Veterans Restorative Justice Act, passed in 2021, allows judges to "defer criminal convictions on lower-level crimes committed by veterans who have proven PTSD, sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, or other mental illnesses connected to" their time spent during military service.
The law doesn't give military members and veterans a 'get out of jail free' card it does, according to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, "offer access to programs and treatment for a service-related condition which lead or contributed to a criminal offense, and opportunities to collaborate with a County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to maximize benefits and services available to the Veteran."
The law, which was passed in 2021, causes the veteran or military member to "enter a guilty plea, but the Court does not accept that plea, and then places the defendant on probation for a period not to exceed the maximum sentence provided for the offense."
If the offender has done everything required of them at the end of the probation period, "the charges against them are dismissed" according to an online educational tool explaining the new law.
If you are a veteran and are wanting to learn more information about this law, talk with your local County Veteran Service Officer for more assistance.
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