Veterans Court begins in Marshall Co. - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Veterans Court begins in Marshall Co.

Only veterans are allowed in the program. Only veterans are allowed in the program.

A new statewide pilot program is underway in Marshall County, designed to help veterans who come back home only to run afoul of the law.

The new program is similar to drug court, which gives a person a second chance in having their charges dismissed.

The first four veterans facing criminal offenses appeared Wednesday morning for the first Veteran's Court in Marshall County.

Seven counties in Alabama are taking part in the pilot program.

Officials said some veterans who serve are having problems adjusting back to civilian life once they return from active duty. The goal is to help these vets get back to the structured life they once had.

Only veterans are allowed in the program.

They begin by pleading guilty and come back to court each month and are randomly drug and alcohol tested. Unlike standard drug court, a veteran's crime can either be a felony or a misdemeanor.

"Drugs do not even have to be involved with the case.  It can be a simple misdemeanor case of harassment or domestic violence, or if a person just needs services - and we try to provide them with the needs that they are not getting," said Marcheta Shaw, Marshall County Court Referral Services Director.

With no violations, the course can last for up to one year.

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