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Valor Act in Massachusetts and Dismissal of OUI Charge for Active Duty Military

The Valor Act in Massachusetts could result in a diversion and ultimate dismissal of an OUI charge if you are in the military. It is important for you to understand this because the Valor Act assessment should happen at your arraignment of the case; if you have already been to court, feel free to contact our office we may still be able to obtain this pretrial diversion for you.

Who is Eligible for the Valor Act?

If you are a military veteran or are currently serving in the United States military and have recently been arrested and charged with an OUI or any other criminal charge, it is important that you are familiar with and understand the valor act and how it can impact your case.

The Valor Act was passed in 2012 in recognition of the service of military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The act permits someone who has been honorably discharged and has seen active duty to have a criminal charge of a misdemeanor, if the individual has no other record, dismissed under a diversionary program. Too frequently, veterans of the United States military are coming home and often find themselves engulfed in the criminal justice system; as the government recognizes the lack of services and recourses for veterans upon their arrival home, the valor act was created as a way to help veterans through the criminal courts should they find themselves in this situation.

Not all veterans qualify for the special diversion program that the valor act provides. Who exactly is eligible to use the valor act? To be eligible for the valor act, the defendant must:

  1. Be a veteran or currently enrolled in the military. This applies to people that have a “military history”: someone who has been honorably discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces;
  2. Be charged with an offense that may result in imprisonment;
  3. Not have any prior adult convictions of a crime;
  4. Not have any warrants, continuances, appeals, or open criminal cases pending.

Once probation determines that an individual qualifies, the court continues the arraignment for 14 days to allow the individual to receive a recommendation from the Veteran's Administration that they meet the eligibility requirements for the pretrial diversion program. Once the evaluation is successfully completed, you can expect the court to refer you to a diversion program and you may be subject to follow some special conditions that will be set and ultimately monitored by the probation department.

Can the District Attorney Object to a dismissal under the Valor Act?

In regards to veterans facing an OUI charge, the Massachusetts SJC recently held in that the Valor Act permits a judge to dismiss a first or second offense OUI even if the Commonwealth objects to this. The intended reason for this is so that the judge has discretion in dealing with veterans.

If you or a loved one is a veteran and is facing an OUI or any criminal charge, you should consult with an experienced defense attorney at DelSignore Law today to see if you qualify for the valor act. Attorney DelSignore can help assist you in getting the help you need and can thoroughly walk you through the process and what to expect.

To learn more about the court process and what you can expect if you do not qualify for the valor act read here.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire