Military Diversion, established in January 2016, is a pre-plea diversion program for current or former members of any branch of the United States Military charged with misdemeanor crimes. This program is a collaboration of the San Mateo County Superior Court, Private Defender Program (PDP), District Attorney’s (DA) Office, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Probation Department. Participants attend court review hearings and work towards successful completion of the program by completing counseling and/or treatment and making full payment of victim restitution.
Program eligibility criteria include:
- Must have a prior or current membership in the United States Military (preferred eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, as the majority of services are provided by the VA).
- Must have been discharged from the military as honorable, general, or other than honorable.
- Charged with misdemeanor offense(s) only
- Must have a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Alcohol abuse, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), sexual trauma and/or substance abuse or other mental health issue that stems from military service.
- Current or prior criminal history cannot include serious offense(s) or those requiring sexual or gang registration. Those individuals not considered a danger to the community.
Program benefits include:
- Case management services (including assistance linking clients to health care)
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I refer myself or someone to Military Diversion?
Referrals for Military Diversion are typically received from the arraignment calendar; however, a defendant can make a request at any point of the judicial process prior to entering a plea. The case is set for a Military Diversion intake hearing approximately three to four weeks out and the defendant is referred to the PDP. An assessment is completed by BHRS, with a copy emailed to the DPO. The assessment includes a summary of the interview BHRS had with the individual along with their recommendations. Also received from BHRS is a signed HIPPA/release so the Military Diversion Team can freely discuss all matters pertaining to the defendant’s case. The case is added to the Military Diversion court calendar for consideration.
Do I have to be eligible for VA benefits?
No. Participants who are not eligible for VA benefits will be encouraged to apply for health insurance such as Medi-Cal or use their private insurance. If unable to meet with the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) specialist for their treatment plan, the participant will have their treatment needs assessed by a BHRS Assessment Specialist/Case Manager and a treatment plan will subsequently be created.
How long is the program?
The program is approximately 12—24 months long, which may be altered based on case specifics.
When graduating from the program, is my record sealed?
Yes. The case is dismissed, and record is sealed and other than victim restitution, outstanding fines & fees are waived.
How often do I return to court for reviews?
Typically, participants return to Court for reviews every two—three months and meet with their probation officer every four to six weeks. The frequency may change throughout the period of supervision based on case specifics.
If you have questions about a court case, contact the San Mateo County Courts.
If you want to know which Deputy Probation Officer is assigned to your case, call (650) 363-4244.