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Committed Criminal Defense Team Focused On Your Freedom

Salinas Lawyers Defending Veterans

Defending Veterans & Current Members of the U.S. Military

Few clients touch our hearts as much as current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, whose livelihood and benefits are endangered by a pending criminal case, or who face legal problems as a result of a mental health issue or substance abuse problem stemming from their time in the service. American Flag

At Law Offices of William V. Pernik, we believe in taking special care of courageous men and women who put their lives at risk by serving in our nation’s Armed Forces. Over the years, our Salinas criminal defense lawyer has represented dozens of current or former members of the U.S. military, and have the knowledge and experience to repay our veterans for their selfless service by providing them with exceptional legal representation even in the most difficult situations.

In particular, it is our mission to educate our military clients about preferential treatment programs that apply to misdemeanor and felony cases involving current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, or other mental health problems as a result of their service.

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Penal Code Section 1001.80 Diversion

Under the newly enacted Penal Code section 1001.80, eligible veterans or current servicemen or servicewomen may now avoid the adverse consequence of suffering a criminal conviction by entering into a pretrial diversion program for a period of time to not exceed two years. In that diversion program, clients receive services from treatment providers such as the V.A., or local mental health agencies, and upon successful completion of the program, the criminal charges would be dismissed. If the diversion was not successfully completed, the criminal charges would be reinstated, and the defendant would be returned to the same place he or she was in before the diversion, able to present the same arguments and defense to the court or jury.

Penal Code Section 1170.9 Felony Sentencing Alternatives

Although official pretrial diversion pursuant to section 1001.80 does not apply to felony cases, there may be other ways to mitigate the most harmful consequences of your conviction. One such avenue is the recently-amended Penal Code section 1170.9, which requires the court to determine whether the defendant about to be sentenced is a current or former member of U.S. military, who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, or other mental health problems as a result of his or her service, and if so, to use it as a factor in favor of granting probation. The statute further provides for preferential treatment for programs such as those operated by the V.A., and can be used by an experienced defense professional to persuade the court to order the defendant into a treatment program in lieu of additional further incarceration, as well as to grant restorative relief, including a reduction to a misdemeanor, and granting relief under section 1203.4 of the Penal Code.

Law Offices of William V. Pernik Is Here to Help

If you, or someone you care about, is a current or former member of the U.S. military who is now facing a criminal charge, please call our Salinas veteran defense attorney right away to get help. We know firsthand the pain of seeing our friends and loved ones go through the difficult process of adjustment to civilian life, especially after deployment in combat zones, and know how humiliating and depressing the experience of being prosecuted could be for those who have served our country with honor and distinction.

Over the years, it has been our privilege to represent many veterans who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes. In many such cases, we were able to negotiate dismissals or reductions of charges, avoid further incarceration, and help our clients get enrolled in much needed mental health or substance abuse counseling, including through the VA.

As a small token of our profound appreciation, we also offer special discounts to our military clients, starting from $500 on misdemeanors and $1000 on felony cases.

We are truly here for you – please call us at (831) 273-3152 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation!

Law Offices of William V. Pernik serves the entire Monterey County, including the cities of Salinas, Marina, Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove. We also accept cases from the nearby counties of Santa Cruz and San Benito. Upon request, we will also take on selected cases from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • “He is an active listener, dedicated to his profession and his community.”

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  • “William stood out as the most honest, hard working and compassionate.”


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  • “William was very friendly and checked on the status of my file for free.”

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