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Orange County Bar Association

Military Diversion [Penal Code Section 1001.80]

I was arrested and charged with Drunk Driving under Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b). My blood alcohol level was over a 0.30. So, more than 2.5 times the legal limit of 0.08. I also had a small accident; there were no injuries. I have no prior record. I had served several years in the US Military and I had been discharged less than a year when this occurred. While I had not been directly in combat I had been in-theater where combat activity was occurring. I had certainly noticed some mental changes in myself as a result of my military service but I was never diagnosed with a specific ailment such as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I did not receive any disability rating from the VA. However, things happen to me during my service which could have lent themselves to my having those conditions despite never having been officially diagnosed with them.

For example, I had nightmares and other stress related symptoms arising from things I experienced while serving, which I believe contributed to my excessive drinking of alcohol.

When I was looking for a lawyer, even though I initially did not think my case was military related, I felt more comfortable hiring a veteran. As a result I found and hired Attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Marine Major and Judge Advocate (Military Lawyer) who has been practicing law over 30-years. I am very glad I hired him. I just wanted to get the case over with but Mr. Bruzzo insisted I try to get into the Military Diversion Program [Penal Code Section 1001.80].

As such, Mr. Bruzzo went over my military career in detail with me and was able to draw out those events from my military experience which could have lent themselves to the conditions that permit Military Diversion. Notably, an official diagnosis is not needed to get Military Diversion. The law only requires some evidence that the Veteran “may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems … from military service.Penal Code Section 1001.80

Mr. Bruzzo argued my case with the Judge and used a sworn statement from me to point out some of the things that had happen that could have caused me to drink excessively as a result of my military service. While the District Attorney objected to our request that Judge ended up GRANTING me Military Diversion which means the case will be DISMISSED once I complete a course of treatment.

I am very happy with this result, especially given my high blood alcohol level and the fact I had an accident. I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Bruzzo for any Drunk Driving [Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)/(b)] case and or Military Diversion case [Penal Code Section 1001.80]

Dated: 12/08/2023 NJ

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