As I was reading about the shootings at Fort Hood this weekend, I remembered a serious Stamford domestic violence case I handled a few years ago. The case involved a young war veteran who was suffering from PTSD after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he quickly found himself facing several serious domestic violence charges that would never have occurred but for his PTSD. After nine months of fighting the Taliban, he was expected to return to his life in America, and get back to “normal” after just a few months of debriefing and psychological counseling that the military offered. But what is “normal” after surviving the front lines in Afghanistan? And how can a war veteran be expected to defend themselves against serious Stamford domestic violence charges like CGS 53a-223, 53a-182 and 53a-61?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—also known as “PTSD”—is a serious psychological disorder. It is a mental health condition that is a consequence of a traumatic, terrifying event such as war or being the victim of a vicious assault. The symptoms include nightmares, extreme fear, paranoia, flashbacks, severe anxiety, insomnia and depression. PTSD can be common in war veterans who have survived high-risk and dangerous wartime conditions such as hand-to-hand combat, gun-fighting, and missile raids. PTSD can also be common in victims of physical or sexual assault, or those who have eye-witnessed a vicious assault.
The United States military offers post-tour of duty psychological resources, sometimes even in the form of mandatory counseling and re-orientation retreats for several months immediately following a tour of duty abroad. However, we have seen some veterans who have declined these services and re-orientation camps in order to return to their families and jobs, even though they were still suffering from PTSD symptoms. While they recognize they may need these services, they also need to return home to their families who they have not seen for nearly a year, and they need to start making money again after being away from their jobs and careers. The problem with leaving the re-orientation camps, however, is that the transition from wartime to regular life can be extremely challenging, especially when faced with tension and emotionally charged situations with family members.
Occasionally veterans and other non-veteran victims of PTSD can find themselves in a heated argument with their spouses and family members which can sometimes lead to Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut domestic violence arrests for 53a-223 Violation of Criminal Protective Order, 53s-61 Assault in the Third Degree, or 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct. The irony of this scenario is that our country’s military trains and encourages many veterans to aggressively fight and defend our country, asking them to engage in very dangerous and violent situations. Yet when these veterans return home, these same veterans are expected to flick an internal switch and act peacefully and calmly in situations that would require aggression and violence if they were at war. It is a lot to ask of an individual battling the traumatic effects and symptoms of PTSD.
A top Stamford and Greenwich domestic violence criminal lawyer attorney can help PTSD victims and veterans by working closely with mental health professionals, as well as the judge and prosecutors, to get veterans the medical help they need and also try to get the criminal charges dismissed. In many cases, these veterans and sufferers of PTSD should not be branded with permanent criminal records for domestic violence charges. That’s why it is critical for PTSD patients to consult a top Stamford and Greenwich domestic violence criminal attorney to learn how PTSD can be used as an effective defense.
As the best domestic violence lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, and elsewhere in Connecticut have learned, Connecticut legislators have enacted a special first-time offenders’ program specifically for war veterans, called the Veteran’s Accelerated Rehabilitation under C.G.S. 54-56e. In passing this law, Connecticut lawmakers have finally appreciated that veterans should be given additional considerations and services in the criminal court system. If you are admitted into the Veterans Accelerated Rehabilitation (Veterans AR) program, then you will be asked to comply with various court-ordered conditions such as counseling, therapy, and/or community service. Once successfully completed, all charges against will likely be dismissed. The Veterans Accelerated Rehabilitation program is therefore a great way for a veteran to wipe his criminal arrest charges clean and get a second chance.
So if you are veteran or PTSD patient charged with 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct, 53a-223 Violation of Criminal Protective Order, 53a-61 Assault in the Third Degree, or any other domestic violence charge in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield, or Westport, call a Stamford criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today to learn more about the Veterans AR program, or alternatively, PTSD defenses. Our law firm combines a commitment to compassion and results. We work hand in hand with mental health professionals to help you get the best results we possibly can. Call us today at (203) 358-4700 to learn how we can help you.