Learn about criminal law, how a criminal history can impact VA benefits, and how to find help for your criminal case.  


The Stateside Legal Advocate Tool Kit

Below are several toolkits and resources that will help you assist a veteran in need. They include links to specific laws, regulations, and veteran resources. Please contact us if you know of a helpful tool that is not included here. 


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Getting Help With Criminal Cases

In the United States the law is generally divided into two categories – criminal and civil. 

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A Veteran's Guide to Criminal Law

This resource provides answers to Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs) when a veteran is facing criminal charges or conviction.

Criminal Law?


I'm an Air Force Veteran looking for a lawyer to help with a criminal case. I do not trust the public defender's office to represent me or any lawyer associated with the County. Can you refer any Veteran friendly lawyers who will listen and assist in my case?


Jim's Reply:

I get this request from time to time and the best I can tell you is that you should look local and ask for a referral from someone who has used a local criminal defense lawyer. All criminal defense lawyers are 'veteran friendly' although that doesn't mean you'll get a break on the fee. 

In broad terms that you're a veteran won't make any difference in a criminal case...depending on the severity of what you're up against. If you are where a veterans court may accept you into their program, that's likely your best option. Otherwise, do your research on your home turf and hire the right lawyer for your needs. Good luck.


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Fugitive Felon Status and its Impact on VA Benefits

Read here about how having warrants issued for your arrest can affect your VA benefits, including the potential of having to repay benefits you've received.

Incarceration and Benefits


Hi Jim,

My husband is in jail now. He’s not being convicted but in process of his preliminary hearing. I read on the VA website that his compensation is not being affected until the 61st day of his conviction. My question is, during the trail process, if he is still incarcerated, can he keep receiving his disability compensation normally until he is convicted? Or do I have to start an apportionment process? Thank you.


Jim's Reply:

This article by VA will explain the process of establishing benefits for the dependents of an incarcerated veteran. Good luck.


Domestic Violence and Alleged Abusers

Despite the need to access weaponry, servicemembers who have engaged in certain acts, such as perpetrating domestic violence against an intimate partner or being convicted of a felony, may be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.