Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed Senate Bill 725, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D – Santa Barbara), clarifying that current and former members of the military who suffer from service-related mental health issues may be diverted to a treatment court in lieu of incarceration when charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Prior to this bill, the law allowed for diversion for misdemeanor violations, but was unclear and perhaps contradictory on whether this included DUI violations.
To qualify for diversion, the individual must be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma or other trauma resulting from their military service. The bill also allows that, if the treatment is completed successfully, the arrest will be removed from the offender’s record.
Despite opposition from the California District Attorneys Association, with broad support in the veteran community, the bill easily passed in the State Assembly and unanimously passed in the State Senate.