Veteran's Treatment Program
The Bucks County Veterans Treatment Program is established by the Bucks County District Attorney's Office to more effectively address the needs of veterans cycling through the county court, probation and parole, and prison system. The treatment court represents a collaborative effort between the Criminal Division of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, The District Attorney's Office, The Public Defender's Office, the Bucks County Bar Association, the County Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The mission of the Veterans Treatment Program is to enhance public safety and reduce recidivism of criminal defendants who are veterans by connecting them with VA benefits, treatment services and veteran services supports and to find appropriate dispositions to their criminal charges by considering the defendant's treatment needs against the seriousness of the offense(s) and the impact of the crime on the victim and the community.
- Connect veteran defendants with appropriate mentor who will guide the Veteran in getting appropriate VA benefits, treatment, and support services. (Veteran-specific resources)
- Reduce the amount of time the Veteran will be exposed to the criminal justice system.
- Reduce the amount of time the defendant will spend in custody by moving them expeditiously into appropriate treatment settings.
- Promote employment and other services provided by veterans' services.
- Re-establish veteran defendants as productive members of their communities.
Program Definition of Eligible Veteran
An eligible veteran is defined as a Bucks County resident who is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces who meets the eligibility criteria delineated on the following pages. The veteran must submit, along with their application, a certified copy of their DD Form 214.
The District Attorney's Office will review all applications for eligibility, subject to a case-by-case review. Eligibility assessment includes a review of the defendant's criminal history, consultation with the victims of the defendant's crimes, legal eligibility, and a review of eligibility of the offender (including a review of applicant's veteran status and documentation that the defendant suffers from a service related disorder). An application must be submitted to the DA's Office for every eligible Veteran interested in entering this voluntary program.
The Veterans Treatment Program is limited to defendants who are eligible for VA benefits, as determined by the Veteran's Administration.
In order to participate in Veterans Treatment Program, the defendant must be a veteran who is diagnosed with one or more of the following service related ailments:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
- Psychological and/or substance abuse problems requiring treatment
- Veterans with substance abuse disorders may also be evaluated and eligible for placement into the county Drug Treatment Program. Defendants will access the full range of services available through the United States Veterans Affairs Office.
While each case is to be considered individually, the following offenses will typically be excluded from the program:
- Felony sex crimes
- Felony Crimes of violence
- Crimes committed with a Firearm
- Felony Drug Offenses
- Defendant with any unresolved out of county charges are not eligible. It is the responsibility of the offender and his counsel to resolve these matters before admitted into the Bucks County Program.
- Homicide in any form will not be considered under any circumstances
Application & Referral Process
- Participation in Veterans Treatment Program is voluntary.
- Informed consent will be obtained for evaluation and consideration into the program by the District Attorney. Applications for the Veterans Treatment Program will be available at all Bucks County Magisterial District Courts, The Bucks County District Attorney's Office and online at the District Attorney's Office website.
- All parties will share the common goal of helping
- Participants be successful in treatment and in avoiding future criminal recidivism.
- All Applications and referrals must be directed to the District Attorney's Office
Upon receiving an application from a veteran defendant, the District Attorney's Office will contact the defense attorney for that veteran and make arrangements for that defendant to be assigned a volunteer mentor from the local Veteran's Administration. Should the defendant/veteran not have defense counsel, the District Attorney will contact the Office of the Public Defender and/or the Bucks County Bar Association to advise them that a defendant/veteran interested in entering the program is in need of counsel.
The District Attorney and the veteran defendant will agree to continue the defendant's preliminary hearing one time, pending evaluation of defendant's application. Once accepted, defendants will be required to waive their preliminary hearing.
For more information on the program, or to submit an application please email Veterans Court or call 215-348-6344.