Clarence’s Story

Clarence served in the Army for eight years until his discharge five years ago. During his service he deployed four times, including a grueling combat deployment. He struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he tried to deal with by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Clarence was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest. He already had several speeding tickets so he was facing potential jail time.

He was assigned a public defender. As they reviewed his case, Clarence expressed a strong desire to confront his drinking problem and get his life on track. He and his lawyer asked the court if Clarence’s sentencing could be modified to involve court-approved treatment and  community service, rather than jail time.

It was at that time that the judge asked if Clarence had ever served in the military. Once his military service was revealed, the judge decided to utilize a new behavioral health track option that provided alternate sentencing for veterans with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Ultimately, Clarence got into a substance abuse treatment program and has maintained sobriety and a perfect driving/legal record since then.

It is a good thing the judge asked Clarence if he had served in the military– otherwise he may likely have gone to jail and not received the treatment he needed and deserved.

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