• May 22, 2024
  • 7:28 AM

Legal Assistance

Many veterans face a variety of legal issues, or have questions and/or concerns over legal matters. There are many resources available to assist you with this.

American Bar Association

“To serve equally our members, our profession and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession."

The American Bar Association provides a substantial amount of information and guidelines for the public about free legal services. They also provide links to information directories for contacting legal aid offices and legal professionals who participate in pro-bono programs.

Visit the ABA website on www.americanbar.org. Also visit the ABA Home Front website, on www.ABAHomeFront.org, which includes a national directory of state and local legal organizations, including contact information for legal aid and pro bono programs, lawyer referral programs, and local military-specific legal programs.

Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program

The HCRV Program is designed to help incarcerated Veterans successfully reintegrate back into the community after their release. A critical part of HCRV is providing information to Veterans while they are incarcerated, so they can plan for re-entry themselves. A primary goal of the HCRV program is to prevent Veterans from becoming homeless once they are reintegrated back into the community. The Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program is designed to address the community re-entry needs of incarcerated Veterans. HCRV services include:

  • Outreach and pre-release assessments for Veterans in prison
  • Referrals and linkages to medical, psychiatric, and social services, including employment services upon release
  • Short-term case management assistance upon release

VHA may not provide medical services, which are part of care to be provided by correctional institutions.

HCRV provides information to Veterans while they are incarcerated so they may plan for re-entry themselves. Please see state-specific resource guides which identify steps that Veterans can take prior to their release: www.va.gov/homeless/reentry_guides.asp

Justice For Vets

Mission: Veterans fought for our freedom, now it’s our turn to fight for theirs. Justive for Vets enables the creation of a nationwide network of Veterans Treatment Courts that is transforming the way veterans are handled in the criminal justice system. In doing so we will keep veterans out of jail and prison; saving their lives, their families, and their futures, while saving tax dollars for the American public.

Justice For Vets is a professional services division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Alexandria, VA. Justice for Vets believes that no veteran or military service member should suffer from gaps in service, or the judicial system when they return to their communities. As the stewards of the Veterans Treatment Court movement, Justice for Vets keeps veterans out of jail and connect them to the benefits and treatment they have earned; saving their lives, families, and futures, and saving tax dollars for the American public. Justice For Vets will ensure that the criminal justice system effectively identifies, assesses, and responds to all justice-involved veterans appropriately, and will lead the national effort to establish Veterans Treatment Courts within reach of every veteran in need. As the national leader, Justice For Vets will aggressively advocate for Veterans Treatment Courts and mobilize the public to take action to join us in ensuring that no veteran is left behind.

Many organizations exist to provide programs and services to veterans, however service duplication and lack of coordination have created wide gaps in access. Often, justice-involved veteran are excluded entirely from accessing this help. Justice For Vets helps communities bring together local, state and federal resources to directly serve veterans involved in the justice system due to substance abuse, mental illness, or trauma.

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada

“Legal Aid Center is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to providing direct legal representation, counsel, advice, and community legal education to those who cannot afford an attorney. We have a wide variety of programs to help victims of domestic violence and crime, victims of consumer fraud, and children in the foster care system."

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada offers free classes, self-help information, legal resources, direct representations, and an “ask-a-lawyer” resource. For more information visit www.lacsn.org or call 702-386-1070.

Nevada Attorney General's Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA)

Benefit Category: Nevada

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA) provides pro bono legal assistance and representation to active duty, reserve and National Guard service members in a wide area of civil law matters. The OMLA also currently provides assistance to veterans with wills and powers of attorney. The OMLA is the first ever, attorney general-led program offering our military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. Additionally, the program seeks to educate Nevada’s communities and create policy aimed at addressing issues affecting our state’s military families. The OMLA is a comprehensive, statewide program combining the joint efforts of legal aid organizations, private sponsors and the State Bar of Nevada to address the need for affordable legal representation in our military communities.

Nevada Department of Public Safety Criminal Record Repository

This state agency handles all criminal records and can provide resources and information related to obtaining, expunging, reviewing, and/or correcting criminal records. Other services and programs provided by the Criminal Record Repository include: fingerprints, protective orders, sex offender registry, uniform crime reporting, and a variety of helpful public safety links and resources. For more information visit nvrepository.state.nv.us or call 775-684-6262.

Nevada Disability Advocacy & Law Center

“The Nevada Disability & Law Center (NDALC) is a private, statewide, non-profit organization that serves as Nevada's federally-mandated protection and advocacy system for human, legal, and service rights for individuals with disabilities."

The Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center is responsible for several programs supporting and advocating for Nevadans living with a disability. For more information visit ndalc.org.

To find a local office visit www.ndalc.org/contact

Nevada Legal Services

“The mission of Nevada Legal Services is to strengthen the community by ensuring fairness and providing equal access to justice for low-income Nevadans."

Nevada Legal Services works directly with Veterans in regard to benefits and provides legal support and representation. Nevada Legal Services serves those in need across Nevada with offices located in Las Vegas, Reno, Elko, and Carson City. For more information visit their website nlslaw.net

To find a local office phone number visit nlslaw.net/contact/

Nevada Veterans Court

Veterans Court is a multi-jurisdictional court that accepts clients with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony charges. To be eligible the defendant needs to have been, or currently be, in the military. A substance abuse or mental health diagnosis and a relation between the criminal behavior and Military experiences is also necessary.

The majority of referrals come from the Public Defenders' Office. Referrals are also made by law enforcement, judges, pre-trial officers, and jail staff. Family members may also make referrals. For more information and referral forms visit the Second Judicial District Court-Veterans Court web page: www.washoecourts.com/SpecialtyCourts/Veterans

  • Participants must attend court on a regular basis.
  • Hearing frequency is based on participant's needs.
  • Court is held at the Second Judicial District Court, 75 Court Street, Reno, Nevada.
  • Failing to appear will result in the court issuing a bench warrant.
  • The Public Defender is assigned to all clients. Clients on probation will be assigned the same Probation Officer. There is also a Veterans Justice Outreach representative from the VA, a therapist from the VA, and a representative from the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.
  • If the participant is supervised by Parole and Probation, participants are expected to comply with probation and follow all requirements.
  • The Public Defenders' office will work with the defendant through the entire process.
  • The general rule is to attend three treatment groups, counseling, or 12-step meetings per week.
  • All recommendations from social workers, caseworkers, psychologists and/or psychiatrists will be enforced.
  • The Veterans Court program lasts a minimum of one year.
  • There are no fees for Veterans Court. Fees ordered by the original court such as restitution or supervision fees still apply and must be paid in full before graduation from Veterans Court.
  • There are four phases that must be completed to graduate. Each phase has special requirements and will be checked before moving to the next phase. As part of phase four, an aftercare plan will be created. This may include addressing income, housing, treatment, sobriety, and medical and social issues.

Note: Not all counties in Nevada participate in the Veterans Court Program.

Public Counsel – Center for Veterans' Advancement

“Public Counsel's Center for Veterans' Advancement (CVA), a national leader in Veterans' advocacy, is driven by its core mission to uphold our nation's promise to Veterans and their families. CVA provides legal representation to Veterans and their families at both the local and national levels."

The center provides resources and services specifically to assist Veterans overcome barriers of civilian life, reintegrate with family and friends, preventing homelessness and poverty, as well as representing wounded warriors. For more information visit publiccounsel.org/practice_areas/center_for_veterans_advancement or call 213-385-2977.

State Bar of Nevada

The State Bar of Nevada is a governing body to the legal professionals to protect the public interest and ensure that laws and regulations are upheld. Information for public in need of legal assistance, including options to “Find a Lawyer” and a series of contacts for various state provided programs can be found at their website www.nvbar.org

Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program was created in 1992, with a dual mission: to provide assistance to unrepresented veterans or their family members who have filed appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court); and to recruit and train attorneys in the then fledgling field of veterans’ law.

Each appellant who requests Pro Bono Program assistance receives a thorough review of his or her appeal. An appellant whose case is not accepted by the Program receives substantive legal advice about his or her case and an explanation as to why the Pro Bono Program cannot place the appeal with a volunteer attorney.

For volunteer attorneys, the Consortium teaches a one-day class in veterans law. Every attorney who receives training and accepts a case from the Consortium receives an analysis of the case prepared by the Consortium’s veterans’ law specialists. Each attorney also receives extensive research materials published by LexisNexis (including the latest version of the Veterans Benefits Manual and a CD-ROM with an on-line research capability), as well as the assignment of a mentoring attorney to provide advice and assistance during the course of the appeal.

Veterans Justice Outreach Program (VJO)

Benefit Category: National

Veterans can sometimes run into issues with law enforcement and the criminal justice system resulting in incarceration. It is important justice-involved Veterans be familiar with VA benefits. For instance:

  • What VA benefits they may still be eligible to receive while incarcerated
  • What happens to VA benefits they are already receiving, if they become incarcerated
  • What programs are available to assist Veterans with reintegrating back into the community once released from incarceration

The aim of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible, justice-involved Veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, specifically mental health and substance use services (if clinically indicated) and other VA services and benefits as appropriate. VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners.

VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners. Each VA Regional Office has a Homeless Veterans Outreach Coordinator who assists justice-involved Veterans. They are a direct point of contact for veterans to benefit qualifications, applying for benefits, and referral to other organizations and resources that will help with specific needs. To find the local Homeless Veterans Outreach Coordinator, please call VA's National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838. For more information visit www.va.gov/HOMELESS/VJO.asp

VA cannot provide legal services. For legal assistance, visit State Side Legal's help page or contact the nearest VJO specialist, who may know of community legal assistance resources.

Veteran Justice Reintegration Program - NDVS

NDVS supports veterans in the criminal justice system by partnering with government and private organizations. This process is two-fold. The first part is working with federal, state, and local government and community partners to improve processes to improve reintegration. The second part is our veteran service officers working one on one with veterans in the justice system to ensure access to all benefits, making reintegration successful.

The goal of the NDVS Veteran Justice Reintegration Program is to ensure that veterans involved in the criminal justice system have access to services, programs, and resources that will enable them to return to society as productive members with promising futures. This involves formerly incarcerated veterans, and those participating in Veterans Treatment Courts. The program involves a collaborative network of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and concerned community stakeholders, providing wrap-around services to veterans in this special population. Those services include housing, employment, healthcare, counseling, mentoring, VA benefit claims and education.

Late in 2020 the Veteran Justice Reintegration Program collaborated with the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) Veterans Services Coordinator to create a new “Veterans Reintegration Checklist.” That checklist begins the process of matching incarcerated veterans with benefits, services, and resources before their release.

The Veteran Justice Reintegration Program has applied for a federal training program of in-house trainings on how such an approach improves criminal justice outcomes. The NDVS contact person for this program is Tom McCourt, McCourtt@veterans.nv.gov

Washoe Legal Services

“Washoe Legal Services provides free quality legal services and representation to qualified residents to enable them to receive justice in civil legal matters involving human needs and self-sufficiency. Washoe Legal Services also recruits attorneys to provide pro bono services to address unmet legal needs in the community".

For more information visit www.washoelegalservices.org or call 775-329-2727.