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Legal Help and Advocacy

 

There are several legal aid organizations that are focused on providing veterans with services and assistance on civil legal matters. This help can include assistance with tickets and warrants, eviction assistance, clearing criminal records, as well as assistance with veterans benefits and discharge status upgrades.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Veterans Legal Services Project can connect veterans with lawyers and also frequently hosts workshops on various topics.
 

The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) has a Veterans Justice Center that provides free legal assistance to veterans living in Los Angeles County. The legal help is available to anyone who servied in the United States military, regardless of discharge status, length of service, or era of service. Assistance may also be available to family members of veterans.
 

The Veterans Initiative at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County work to address veterans' legal needs and increase their access to VA benefits and support services.
 

Public Counsel's Center for Veterans' Advancement provides legal representation to veterans and their families at both the local and national levels.
 

Inner City Law Center throught their Homeless Veterans Project has a specific focus on both homeless veterans as well as women veterans.
 

The VA's Office of General Counsel can connect veterans with non-VA legal service providers. Click the link to review their resources.
 

Sometimes veterans may need assistance with family law, including child support, child custody and other issues. The agencies below focus on family law.

Levitt and Quinn's Veteran's Project assists veterans who are homeless or low-income with their child support and other family law issues. The services provided can include advice, referrals and direct representation in court.
 

Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law can also assist with family law issues. They help families solve legal problems involving custody of children; spousal and child support, paternity and restraining orders.
 

Veteran statutes are designed to help military and veterans by taking into account their military service. Tell your attorney you are a veteran. Make sure the criminal statutes which relate to military personnel and veterans are invoked to help you if they apply.


Veteran Statutes
  • Penal Code Section (PC) 1170.9 Alternative Sentencing
    • Statute allows for treatment instead of incarceration. Options include different kinds of restorative relief including reducing felonies to misdemeanors, dismissing of fees and fines, and the sealing of records.
  • PC 1170.91 allows for conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to be used for mitigation in sentencing.
  • PC 1001.80 Misdemeanor Pre Plea Military Diversion
    • Allows some veterans and military to do treatment programs instead of incarceration. If successfully completed cases will be dismissed.
  • PC 858 mandates the court notify veterans about veteran statutes so they can be used to help veterans.

In criminal cases the court will appoint an attorney to represent you at your first court appearance if you can't afford an attorney.
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VJOs and JOWs can visit veterans in jail. They can verify veteran status and benefits, get records, arrange treatment, and provide other services. Attorneys, family members, and others, can also contact them for assistance with veteran cases.

See below for contact information for Veterans Administration Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) or a Jail Outreach Worker (JOW) in the Los Angeles area.

gregory.cain@va.gov (JOW) – (310) 597-5016

delbert.thompson@va.gov (JOW) – (310) 864-1292

raymond. adams@va.gov (JOW) – (310) 709-7302

james.egler@va.gov (JOW) – (310) 597-3542

pamela.davis1@va.gov (VJO) – (213) 253-2677 ext 24786

sergio.antoniuk@va.gov (VJO) – (310) 597-3495

The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative – Legal and ReEntry Working Group has put together a printable pamphlet with this information.

Law Project LA has workshops and information to help with clearing your record (also known as expungement)
Click the button to visit their site


LA Law Library offers clinics and assistance with criminal record expungement. Click SEARCH for more info.
For discharge statuses Other Than Honorable (OTH), discharge status upgrades may be available. Each branch of service has a review board and a clearly defined procedure to follow. An upgrade in status may mean that health and other veteran benefits are available. There are organizations that can help with this process. Keep in mind that there is free assistance available through Veteran Service Offices, and organizations that charge fees cannot guarantee any particular results. Search for local resources near you below.

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‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) affected the discharge status of many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) soldiers.  Since it was repealed in 2011 an upgrade in status may be available. Outserve SLDN is an advocacy group that can provide free assistance with the process.

 

There are local agencies that can assist people that find themselves at the risk of being evicted. Tenants have rights and it is important to reach out for assistance in understanding the process and what protection there may be for you and your family. Search for local resources near you below.

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For veterans that own their home, the Homestrong USA program can provide mortgage payment assistance. The Homestrong USA program can also connect military families with home purchase as well. Click the button below for information on how to connect with the program. 

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