2009 Texas Code
HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
TITLE 7. MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL RETARDATION
CHAPTER 617. VETERANS COURT PROGRAM  

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE

TITLE 7. MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL RETARDATION

SUBTITLE E. SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO MENTAL ILLNESS AND

MENTAL RETARDATION

CHAPTER 617. VETERANS COURT PROGRAM

Sec. 617.001. VETERANS COURT PROGRAM DEFINED; PROCEDURES FOR

CERTAIN DEFENDANTS. (a) In this chapter, "veterans court

program" means a program that has the following essential

characteristics:

(1) the integration of services in the processing of cases in

the judicial system;

(2) the use of a nonadversarial approach involving prosecutors

and defense attorneys to promote public safety and to protect the

due process rights of program participants;

(3) early identification and prompt placement of eligible

participants in the program;

(4) access to a continuum of alcohol, controlled substance,

mental health, and other related treatment and rehabilitative

services;

(5) careful monitoring of treatment and services provided to

program participants;

(6) a coordinated strategy to govern program responses to

participants' compliance;

(7) ongoing judicial interaction with program participants;

(8) monitoring and evaluation of program goals and

effectiveness;

(9) continuing interdisciplinary education to promote effective

program planning, implementation, and operations; and

(10) development of partnerships with public agencies and

community organizations, including the United States Department

of Veterans Affairs.

(b) If a defendant successfully completes a veterans court

program, as authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code,

after notice to the attorney representing the state and a hearing

in the veterans court at which that court determines that a

dismissal is in the best interest of justice, the court in which

the criminal case is pending shall dismiss the criminal action

against the defendant.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 617.002. AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH PROGRAM; ELIGIBILITY. (a)

The commissioners court of a county may establish a veterans

court program for persons arrested for or charged with any

misdemeanor or felony offense. A defendant is eligible to

participate in a veterans court program established under this

chapter only if the attorney representing the state consents to

the defendant's participation in the program and if the court in

which the criminal case is pending finds that the defendant:

(1) is a veteran or current member of the United States armed

forces, including a member of the reserves, national guard, or

state guard; and

(2) suffers from a brain injury, mental illness, or mental

disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder, that:

(A) resulted from the defendant's military service in a combat

zone or other similar hazardous duty area; and

(B) materially affected the defendant's criminal conduct at

issue in the case.

(b) The court in which the criminal case is pending shall allow

an eligible defendant to choose whether to proceed through the

veterans court program or otherwise through the criminal justice

system.

(c) Proof of matters described by Subsection (a) may be

submitted to the court in which the criminal case is pending in

any form the court determines to be appropriate, including

military service and medical records, previous determinations of

a disability by a veteran's organization or by the United States

Department of Veterans Affairs, testimony or affidavits of other

veterans or service members, and prior determinations of

eligibility for benefits by any state or county veterans office.

The court's findings must accompany any docketed case.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 617.003. DUTIES OF VETERANS COURT. (a) A veterans court

program established under this chapter must:

(1) ensure a person eligible for the program is provided legal

counsel before volunteering to proceed through the program and

while participating in the program;

(2) allow a participant to withdraw from the program at any time

before a trial on the merits has been initiated;

(3) provide a participant with a court-ordered individualized

treatment plan indicating the services that will be provided to

the participant; and

(4) ensure that the jurisdiction of the veterans court continues

for a period of not less than six months but does not continue

beyond the period of community supervision for the offense

charged.

(b) A veterans court program established under this chapter

shall make, establish, and publish local procedures to ensure

maximum participation of eligible defendants in the county or

counties in which those defendants reside.

(c) This chapter does not prevent the initiation of procedures

under Chapter 46B, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 617.004. ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL PROGRAM. The

commissioners courts of two or more counties may elect to

establish a regional veterans court program under this chapter

for the participating counties.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 617.005. OVERSIGHT. (a) The lieutenant governor and the

speaker of the house of representatives may assign to appropriate

legislative committees duties relating to the oversight of

veterans court programs established under this chapter.

(b) A legislative committee or the governor may request the

state auditor to perform a management, operations, or financial

or accounting audit of a veterans court program established under

this chapter.

(c) A veterans court program established under this chapter

shall:

(1) notify the criminal justice division of the governor's

office before or on implementation of the program; and

(2) provide information regarding the performance of the program

to that division on request.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 617.006. FEES. (a) A veterans court program established

under this chapter may collect from a participant in the program:

(1) a reasonable program fee not to exceed $1,000; and

(2) a testing, counseling, and treatment fee in an amount

necessary to cover the costs of any testing, counseling, or

treatment performed or provided under the program.

(b) Fees collected under this section may be paid on a periodic

basis or on a deferred payment schedule at the discretion of the

judge, magistrate, or program director administering the program.

The fees must be:

(1) based on the participant's ability to pay; and

(2) used only for purposes specific to the program.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

840, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

1103, Sec. 17(a), eff. September 1, 2009.

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