The Mental Health Diversion allows certain criminal offenders to receive mental health care rather than typical criminal proceedings. This is a form of pretrial diversion that is only available to select individuals who can prove that their mental health disorder contributed significantly to their crime. If you believe you fit this criterion, contact an Alhambra mental health lawyer to learn if you are eligible for the Mental Health Diversion program.
Pretrial diversions circumvent traditional criminal proceedings. A cornerstone of most pretrial diversion-related programs is that defendants must submit themselves to a program that features supervision and the administration of services, like mental health treatment. If you are successful in the program you are ordered to participate in, your charges should be dismissed.
Though, individuals who do not find success in the program are eligible to be prosecuted.
What Is the Point of Pretrial Diversions?
The purpose of a pretrial diversion is to keep people from continuing their criminal behavior. It is believed that normal criminal proceedings can influence one’s ability to stop engaging in criminal behaviors. Therefore, pretrial diversions work to prevent undesirable outcomes.
Pretrial diversions also free up criminal judicial resources that should be saved for the prosecution of more serious crimes. If your crime was not extreme, consider asking a mental health lawyer in Alhambra for help getting a pretrial diversion.
For a free legal consultation with a mental health lawyer serving Alhambra, call (310) 896-2723
Qualifying for a Pretrial Diversion Due to Mental Health
Several conditions must be met in order to qualify for a pretrial diversion related to mental health. In California, these rules are stated in Penal Code 1001.36. The conditions that must be met include:
- A serious mental disorder has been diagnosed in the defendant;
- The diagnosed mental disorder is the root cause of the commission of the crime the defendant is charged with;
- Health care professionals agree that the defendant can recover with appropriate treatment;
- The defendant agrees to participate in the pretrial diversion program;
- Treating the defendant in the community will not result in any danger to the public;
- The charges the defendant faces do not include murder or sex with minors.
Alhambra Mental Health Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
You Can Still Be Convicted if You Are Offered a Pretrial Diversion
Although a pretrial diversion does suspend criminal prosecution during the period of the Mental Health Diversion program, you can have your criminal trial reinstated if certain events occur. This is because the pretrial diversion is only a postponement of prosecution rather than a dismissal. Your case will not be dismissed until you successfully complete the treatment program you have been ordered to participate in.
People who engage in further criminal conduct are subject to have their pretrial diversion offer rescinded and their criminal cases reinstated. Similarly, people who perform poorly in the Mental Health Diversion program can have their criminal proceedings reinstated.
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Pretrial Diversion for DUI Offenders
If you are currently charged with a DUI in California, you will not be eligible to receive a pretrial diversion. This is because Vehicle Code Section 23640 prohibits courts from ordering any pretrial diversion for DUI offenses. Therefore, people who were caught driving drunk in California are not eligible to have criminal proceedings suspended, stayed, or dismissed through the Mental Health diversion process.
So, if you are not a DUI offender, reach out to an Alhambra mental health attorney to have your case considered for a pretrial diversion.
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Only Certain Mental Health Disorders Are Relevant
There are some mental health disorders that do not qualify you for a pretrial diversion. The three primary conditions that are excluded include:
- Antisocial personality disorders
- Borderline personality disorders
Some conditions that do qualify include:
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Bipolar disorder
To find out if your mental disorder qualifies you for a pretrial diversion, speak to a mental health attorney in Alhambra.
Mental Health Disorders Must Be Proven
To be eligible for a Mental Health Diversion Program, you must provide evidence that a severe mental disorder led you to commit the crime you are charged with. Such evidence is difficult to falsify, making the system very trustworthy. Your legal team must present the court with any of the following forms of evidence:
- Examinations performed by a mental health expert
- Medical records that show the mental disorder and the effect it has had on the defendant’s life
- Police reports that display the defendant’s lack of mental clarity or control
Finding a medical expert to examine you can be difficult without the right network. That’s why you should work with an Alhambra mental health lawyer to help you source expert testimony.
Additional Hearings Following Pretrial Diversion
Once the pretrial diversion has been ordered, you are not completely out of the woods. You still need to complete the program to have your case dismissed. If you are unsuccessful, you risk being subjected to further criminal proceedings.
To ensure that you are performing well in the treatment program, your treatment provider will submit regular reports to the courts, the defense, and the prosecution. The content of these reports will determine whether you are asked to submit to a hearing. These hearings can have several outcomes, including:
- Your treatment program being modified
- Criminal proceedings being reinstated
- Conservatorship proceedings being requested
The worst thing to do while participating in a Mental Health Diversion program would be to engage in criminal activity. If you are caught, a hearing will definitely be requested. This hearing will likely end in you having your pretrial diversion status rescinded and criminal proceedings reinstated.
You Need Help, Not Time in Prison
If mental health was the primary factor contributing to the commission of your crimes, do not hesitate to reach out to an Alhambra mental health lawyer. They will help you determine if you are eligible for a Mental Health Diversion Program, then fight for the courts to order one for you. This could save you from facing severe criminal penalties, such as jail time and fines.