During the 2014 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 320 which authorizes criminal courts to establish veterans courts divisions. The General Assembly passed the bill to allow courts the opportunity to address the specialized needs of veterans that sometimes arise. The bill was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal in April and went into effect on July 1.
Court are not required to establish veterans court divisions. However, those court systems that establish a veterans court division will probably find that these specialized division are better equipped to deal with the particular needs of veterans. In particular, veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression as a result of their service will probably be treated more fairly in a veterans criminal court division than they would be in the general state criminal courts.
The bill does provide that veterans charged with certain particular crimes (murder, armed robbery, rape, and child molestation among others) will not generally be eligible to participate in the veterans court division in most circumstances. The veterans court bill and a few other bills affecting veterans that were passed by the Georgia Legislature in 2014 are discussed in more detail in this article on the United State Army website.