Millions of Californians suffer from mental health concerns that can dramatically influence their actions. Individuals who manage an illness in normal circumstances may experience a mental health crisis and commit crimes while in distress. If you have been charged with an offense that you feel is a result of your disorder, you need guidance from a mental health attorney in Arcadia.
The Simmrin Law Group has helped thousands of clients who have been misunderstood and charged with a crime. We are ready to defend you or your loved one and discuss options such as diversion into a treatment program. Do not wait to contact us for a free consultation today.
Common Mental Disorders
People with mental illness may or may not be diagnosed and receive treatment. Even when a condition is usually controlled, individuals can experience manic episodes or psychotic breaks. They are not always in control of their actions during these episodes and may not recognize what is real and what is not.
Many disorders can negatively impact a person’s cognitive abilities and decision-making skills, such as:
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
If someone is lower-income and does not have access to diagnosis and treatment options, they may be at higher risk of interacting with the police. Those officers may not realize the person needs help and could perceive the person as a threat. People who are having a mental health crisis may be arrested and charged for a crime they did not mean to commit.
For a free legal consultation with a mental health lawyer serving Arcadia, call (310) 928-9347
California’s Mental Health Diversionary Program
When arrested, individuals may be evaluated for mental health issues by a psychologist. §1001.36 of the California Penal Code creates a diversionary path to send anyone identified with certain disorders into a treatment program. To be eligible, you must receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or PTSD, as pronounced by an approved physician.
You cannot enroll in the program until you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor. In addition, a judge must determine the following conditions:
- Your actions resulted primarily from your disorder, as determined by a doctor.
- You agree to treatment through the program and to comply with its requirements.
- Upon completion, you are no longer deemed an unreasonable risk to society, as determined by a doctor.
Because the program can last up to two years, you must waive your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. If you do not complete the treatment or voluntarily leave the program, you can be recharged with the original offense. Finally, you will not qualify for the diversion option if you are diagnosed with pedophilia, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.
Arcadia Mental Health Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Mental Incompetence vs Mental Insanity
Facing criminal charges is difficult at any time but is especially trying when you have experienced a crisis and did not know what you were doing. Another situation is when an individual commits a crime but is not mentally competent enough to stand trial. The burden of proof of insanity or incompetency lies with the defendant and their lawyer.
When you are evaluated for psychological issues, the doctor will render a judgment on whether you are competent to stand trial and whether you were legally sane at the time of the offense. These are two very different considerations:
- Mental incompetence: You do not understand what you did was wrong, you do not understand that you are being tried for the crime, and you cannot aid in your own defense.
- Mental insanity: You were unable to determine right from wrong at the time of the action and were not legally sane. You may have recovered when the trial begins and be considered competent.
You can be found incompetent, insane, or both, such as if you experienced a crisis episode and were insane while committing the crime, then become mentally incapacitated after being arrested. In contrast, you may have been legally insane during the crime and recover before trial.
How an Arcadia Mental Health Lawyer Can Help You
California provides additional options for those who are incompetent to stand trial. You will enter a psychiatric treatment facility for care until you are found competent. If your recovery takes longer than three years, you will attend a hearing to discuss your long-term housing and care options.
A mental health lawyer in Arcadia can assist you from the moment you are arrested throughout your treatment. Our attorneys can advise you on what options to accept and represent you for the duration of your state-sponsored care. We ensure your rights and your dignity are protected throughout your case.
If you are found competent to stand trial, our team will compile evidence and testimony. We will request your charges be reduced or dismissed based on your mental state at the time of the crime. We will engage our own psychologists and experts to support a claim of erratic behavior associated with your disorder.
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Speak with an Arcadia Mental Health Attorney Today
The state of California recognizes the tremendous impact of mental health on its population. It also works to avoid bringing those who need treatment into the criminal justice system. A skilled mental health attorney in Arcadia will work with you to create a full picture of your diagnosis and its relationship to your actions.
At a time of incredible stress and confusion, you need a trusted advisor with knowledge of how mental health and the law intersect. Simmrin Law Group is ready to protect you and get you the help you need. We will litigate and negotiate aggressively to seek the best overall outcome for you and your family.
When you need help fighting a criminal charge related to your mental health, contact us for a free consultation right away.