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Boston Criminal Lawyer James G. DeGiacomo
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The BRAVE Act allows veterans who have been honorably discharged and diagnosed with a condition such as PTSD as a result of their service to avoid being prosecuted if they have been charged with certain criminal charges. Some of the biggest differences between the VALOR Act and the BRAVE Act is that a veteran must have a diagnosis as a result of their service, certain crimes are excluded from diversion, and they can only utilize the BRAVE Act once.

While the steps involved in utilizing the BRAVE Act tend to differ from court to court, typically they are as follows:

  1. The veteran requests that the court entertain an evaluation for the BRAVE Act.
  2. The veteran meets with a specialist at the VA.
  3. The VA informs the court if the veteran qualifies for the BRAVE Act, and if so, determines a treatment plan.
  4. The veteran begins treatment and follows the plan for 60 to 90 days.
  5. The court dismisses the charges based on the veteran’s compliance with the treatment plan.

While these steps seem somewhat uncomplicated, it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side to ensure that the VA and the court are doing what they are required to under the BRAVE Act. This is especially important now that more courts are implementing a specialty court under the name of a “Veterans’ Court.” Veterans’ Court should be treated similarly as Drug Courts, which are now found in most Massachusetts District Courts. The purpose is to allow veterans who do not qualify for the BRAVE Act and find themselves facing harsh sentences an alternative to jail time with intense court monitoring. Simply put, this differs greatly from how a veteran should be treated if they qualify for the BRAVE Act. However, as these new courts have begun to pop up, more and more veterans will find themselves in them in order to boost the initial involvement numbers. An experienced attorney will be able to show the court the difference between the two and ensure that the veteran’s rights under the BARVE Act are protected.

If you are a veteran, and have been charged with a crime, contact Attorney James G. DeGiacomo today for a free consultation on your case and an initial BRAVE Act evaluation.