At the first appearance of a defendant in court or upon arraignment, and before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court shall ascertain whether the defendant is currently serving in the United States armed forces or is a veteran of such forces. The court shall inform any such defendant that he or she may be entitled to receive mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, or other services as a veteran.
Under current law, the chief judge of a judicial district may establish an appropriate program for the treatment of veterans and members of the military. The bill states that, in establishing any such program, the chief judge, in collaboration with the probation department, the district attorney, and the state public defender, shall establish program guidelines and eligibility criteria.
The bill requires a court, in determining whether to issue an order to seal criminal records of a petitioner who has successfully completed a veterans treatment program, to consider such factor favorably in making the determination.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)