Picture this…you are a young man or woman raised in Michigan. You have has chosen to join our armed forces after high school. Maybe you made this decision because you are a patriot. Maybe because it’s what your father did before you. Or maybe you just wanted to get away from home for a while, experience something new, and see a different part of the world.
Whatever your reasons, you join the military. You train. You are sent halfway around the world from Michigan into a war zone. It’s terrifying. Your friends suffer and die around you. You kill people, because whether you like it or not, this is war and you have little choice. You live in constant fear and when you sleep, your nightmares allow you little rest. All you want is to go home.
Once you get back home to Michigan, you discover that “home” isn’t the same anymore. Or maybe it’s you that’s changed. It’s impossible to resume life as you knew it. You have seen things, and perhaps done things, that make restful sleep a thing of the past. You struggle with physical pain from wounds you suffered and even greater psychological pain from losses you endured. In this new life you find that you have new enemies – bright lights, sudden loud noises, darkness, even your own thoughts. You struggle to fit in, to assimilate back into “normal” pre-military life.
Alcohol helps to take the edge off your turmoil. At first just one or two drinks to help you relax. Then you discover you need three, possible four, just to get to sleep. Later, you need another one with lunch, just to keep the flashbacks at bay. Five leads to seven, leads to nine, and one day you wake up in a jail cell, having crashed your car into an embankment because in your fight to survive, you lost control of everything.
This is a frighteningly common scenario for soldiers returning from war. Look through Michigan’s jails and you will discover that an alarming number of the men and women behind bars for drunk driving are veterans whose attempts at self-medicating to manage their pain finally got out of hand. However, just because one is in a dark place, doesn’t mean you have to stay there. There is hope. In Michigan, for many, that hope comes in the form of our Veteran’s Courts.
Veteran Courts – a great solution to a troubling problem!
The Great Lakes State gets bragging rights. Michigan is home to more Veteran’s Courts than any other state in the U.S. With a total of 25 Veteran Courts located around the state to serve and assist struggling veterans, our’s is a state that proudly offers many of our wounded warriors a new future. But what exactly is a Veteran Court, and how does it help Michigan’s veterans?
The purpose of the Veteran’s Court is to address the specific needs and issues of veterans. This means putting the focus on sobriety, recovery, therapy, and often reduced sentences in exchange for treatment. These courts work with specialized treatment programs offering possible alternative legal consequences for veterans and service members who are involved in the criminal justice system.
Similar to the state’s sobriety and drug courts, Veterans Court emphasizes stability and recovery for veterans who have been arrested for crimes that stem from their struggle with recovery from war. In return for lighter sentences, or even deferred sentences, Veteran Courts help veterans to receive what they need to get back on their feet. This includes group and independent therapy, substance abuse counseling, stable employment, housing, and partnering with mentors.
The Veteran Court offers struggling soldiers an opportunity to turn their lives around. To make friends and overcome their difficulties. To work through their substance abuse issues without incurring a criminal record, so that they can go on to live productive lives. All in all, this court offers new hope to those who have fought for our future, which is no less than they deserve.
We are deeply grateful to the men and women who fought for our nation’s freedom, and we look forward to the day when they are afforded all of the necessary respect, assistance, and care that they deserve. If you are a veteran who has been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan, call and talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney at the Kronzek Firm immediately at 866-766-5245. We are here to help you.