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Intro to Criminal Justice Resources for Veterans Video

Veterans & Military

This video explores the legal options veterans have after being accused of a crime.

Here, in this video produced by the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition, learn more about veterans' legal options after being accused of a crime. These include special Veterans Treatment Courts that consider veterans' unique circumstances, removing or hiding criminal incidents on records, and obtaining a limited-use driver's license.

Where can I learn about criminal justice resources available for veterans?

Watch this Intro to Criminal Justice Resources for Veterans video produced by the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition. This video provides brief information on veterans' treatment courts, expunctions and nondisclosures, and driver's license restoration.

Intro to Criminal Justice Resources Video

What are veterans treatment courts?

Veterans treatment courts are designed to meet the distinct needs of veterans in the criminal justice system and provide an alternative to incarceration. These special courts offer treatment, accountability, and structure while connecting a veteran to VA benefits they may have earned. These courts are designed to provide veteran specific treatment and give a veteran an opportunity to get their life back on track. For more detailed information about the importance of veterans treatment courts and the opportunities they provide, watch this Veterans Treatment Court Explained video produced by TakePart.

Is there a veterans treatment court in the county my case is pending in?

TEXVET provides a map with a complete list of veterans treatment courts in Texas. Click here to find out if a veterans treatment court is available in the county your case is pending in. 

How do I know if I am eligible for veterans court?

Eligibility varies from court to court. Some of the typical eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Veteran or current servicemember
  • A connection between the offense and trauma caused during military service
  • Honorable or "General Under Honorable Conditions" Discharge
  • The criminal offense must be eligible (usually no sexual offenses or crimes against children, elderly, or disabled)

Visit the TexVet map and click on the county your case is pending in to determine the exact eligibility requirements for that county. 

What is an expunction?

An expunction is a court-ordered process where information about an arrest, charge, or criminal conviction is removed from your permanent record. 

Am I eligible for an expunction?

Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the arrests and offenses which may qualify for expunction. Not all individuals with records eligible for expunction qualify to receive an expunction. If you are eligible for an expunction, but you fit into an exception, then your expunction may be denied. Use the Texas Fresh Start app to check if you may be eligible for an expunction. It's also a good idea to meet with an attorney about your situation. For legal resources, check the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition website and contact the organizations that serve your county. 

What is a nondisclosure?

A nondisclosure order is the sealing (not removal) of your criminal record. A nondisclosure order seals your record from most private entities and databases, but public and government agencies can still access and view your record. 

Am I eligible for a nondisclosure?

If you are ineligible for an expunction, it's possible you might be eligible for a nondisclosure order. Texas Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter E-1 sets out eligibility requirements. There are different sections you can request a nondisclosure under and each section has specific requirements and procedures that you must satisfy in order to obtain a nondisclosure. Determining eligibility can be complicated.

Use the Texas Fresh Start app to check if you may be eligible for a nondisclosure. It's also a good idea to meet with an attorney about your situation. For legal resources, check the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition page and contact the organizations that serve your county. 

My Texas driver's license is suspended due to unpaid Class C tickets. What should I do?

Review this Ticket Help Texas: A Toolkit to Resolve Your Unpaid Fines & Restore Your Driver's License. This toolkit was published by the Texas Fair Defense Project and Texas Appleseed and is a resource for Texans who are unable to pay fines.

What is an occupational driver's license (ODL)?

An ODL is an essential need license. It allows you to drive a non-commercial vehicle for work, school, or to perform essential household duties. If your driver's license is suspended or revoked, you may still be allowed to drive with an ODL. 

Am I eligible for an ODL?

Before asking the court for an ODL, check your license eligibility at www.Texas.gov/driver. Click on “Drivers License Reinstatement and Status.” This free site will tell you if you can drive with your current license and, if not, what you need to do to become eligible.

You cannot get an ODL if:

  • You lost your driving privileges because of a mental or physical disability.
  • You lost your driving privileges for failure to pay child support.
  • You need it to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The judge thinks you do not have an essential need.
  • The judge is worried about public safety.
  • You have received two ODLs in the past ten years after a conviction.
  • Due to a prior DWI arrest or conviction, you have a “hard suspension” waiting period.

Where can veterans find more videos that discuss legal issues?

Where can I get legal help?

The Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition is comprised of thirteen legal aid organizations that provide a variety of legal services to veterans in Texas. To search for legal aid organizations serving your county, visit the Legal Help Directory

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