In about 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi
and Enduring Freedom), or in 11-20 Veterans out of 100.
In as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans, or in 10 Veterans out of
In about 30% of Vietnam Veterans, or about 30 out of 100 Vietnam Veterans.
This article from the New York Times looks at the ways that some criminal courts have taken military service into account when choosing an appropriate punishment for a defendant who is also a Veteran:
Many veterans like Mr. Oldani have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq burdened by
post-traumatic stress, drug dependency and other problems. As veterans find
themselves skirmishing with the law, judges are increasingly finding ways to provide
them with a measure of leniency.
“More and more courts are noticing and asserting, in a variety of ways, that
there seems to be some relevance to military service, or history of wartime service, to
our country,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and
an expert on sentencing.
In fact, California's Penal Code Section 1170.9 deals specifically with veterans who "committed ...[an]... offense as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or psychological problem stemming from service in a combat theater in
the United States military." The statute encourages to consider the "needs of the defendant," when assessing whether a defendant should be placed on probation and encourages the court to consider alternatives to jail time (like a drug program or mental health agency).
Additionally, some courts within California have established Veterans Courts to provide:
Cooperative, therapetuic treatment strategy for veterans in the criminal justice system
who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological or substance
abuse problems, as a result of having served in a combat theater.
The Orange County Veterans Court's goal is not to incarcerate Veterans, but to instead, "...give them access to the kind of treatment they need, which is often intense, depending on the circumstances they endured while at war....This newly-designed court does not follow the same procedures that Orange County courts follow, as these men and women who experience symptoms of PTSD need to be tried differently, according to their mental and physical condition."
It's important that if you are a Veteran charged with a crime, that you speak to an attorney so that he or she can defend you to fullest extent that the law allows.