Untreated mental illness and health issues across the country result in people acting in unreasonable ways. Unfortunately, many of those charged with criminal offenses have mental health conditions that contribute to or cause them to behave in a certain way.
When this happens, you may be able to avoid some of the harsher penalties associated with criminal convictions. Withheld from an experienced mental health lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group, you can get the professional medical help you need and avoid being labeled a criminal. Contact our office for a free consultation today to find out how to get started on your mental health diversion case.
Incarceration Related to Mental Health
It is more common than you might think for people struggling with mental health issues to find themselves behind bars. When law enforcement officials do not understand certain behaviors or symptoms associated with mental illness, they may take unnecessary steps to place involuntary 5150 holds.
If this happens, you could be involuntarily detained in a mental health treatment facility. Furthermore, you could face charges if your mental health condition caused you to commit a criminal act.
You need a mental health attorney to help you avoid involuntary detainment and the criminal penalties associated with a conviction. Our team at the Simmrin Law Group is here to help you get through these trying times and move on to a brighter future.
Utilize Mental Health Diversion
Individuals with mental health issues do not always need to be sent to prison for criminal offenses. If your mental health condition contributed to or caused you to commit a crime, and treatment would mean you are no longer a threat to yourself or others, rehabilitation may be more appropriate.
Fortunately, you may be eligible for a mental health diversion program. Here, you can get the mental health treatment you need instead of being sent to jail or prison.
Once you complete the terms of your mental health diversion program, the prosecuting attorney will dismiss or drop the pending criminal charges against you. However, failure to meet the terms of your program means the district attorney could move forward with the initial charges.
Mental Health Diversion Benefits
Entering a mental health diversion program differs from being placed on a 5150 or 5250 hold. You must agree to join a mental health diversion program to qualify. There are many benefits to mental health diversion programs that you will not get if you wind up behind bars.
First, mental health diversion aims to treat debilitating mental health conditions. Whether that means curing your condition or alleviating the symptoms of your mental illness, healthcare providers must be able to reduce or eliminate your threat to yourself or others.
If you were sent to jail or prison instead of mental health diversion, you could jeopardize your livelihood. You could be at risk of poor or cruel treatment while in prison and find your entire future turned upside down due to your devastating criminal record.
By completing a mental health diversion program, you can retain your right to vote, drive, keep professional licenses, collect government benefits, and own a firearm. You could avoid the traumatic collateral consequences of a conviction if you get the mental health treatment you need.
Specific Requirements of Mental Health Diversion
Once you enroll in a mental health diversion program, there are specific criteria you must meet. These requirements can vary on a case-by-case basis based on the type of crime you were charged with, your type of mental illness, your treatment plan, and more.
For example, some mental health diversion participants may be required to participate in inpatient or outpatient treatment. Others will be expected to participate in group therapy or mental health counseling. You may be ordered to maintain a medication treatment regimen, attend psychotherapy, and remain in a treatment facility until further notice.
Generally, mental health diversion programs can last between six months to two years. This means you must be prepared to remain in the mental health diversion program for the determined amount of time before you can get discharged and move forward with your life. Even if you can not afford to pay for your mental health diversion program, you may qualify for a low-income program depending on your financial status and case details.
Qualifying for Mental Health Diversion
You must meet specific requirements to qualify for mental health diversion programs. These include:
You Must Have a Qualifying Mental Illness
Only those diagnosed with mental illness contained within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be eligible for mental health diversion. Some examples of medical conditions that could qualify include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Certain types of anxiety disorders
You should be prepared to undergo an extensive psychiatric evaluation so healthcare providers can determine your mental health status now and at the time of your arrest.
Your Mental Illness Must Have Impacted the Crime
Your mental illness must have affected why you committed the alleged offense. Your mental health attorney will gather the evidence we need to prove your mental illness caused you to commit the crime by introducing witness testimony, forensic evidence, and medical records.
Agree to Waive Certain Rights
You have the right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment. However, you must waive this right if you hope to enter a mental health diversion program.
Danger to Society
Court systems will not approve mental health diversion programs if they believe the defendant is a risk to themselves or the public. You can rely on your mental health lawyer to argue your progress after treatment and the steps you will take to ensure you remain healthy upon completing your treatment.
Who Does Not Qualify for Mental Health Diversion
Not everyone will qualify for mental health diversion programs. You may be eligible for mental health diversion if:
- You have been charged with certain types of violent or sex crimes
- The specific circumstances of your case warrant criminal charges
- You are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, pedophilia, or borderline personality disorder
- You have multiple criminal convictions on your record
Get Help from a Mental Health Lawyer Today
When your mental illness contributed to or caused you to commit a criminal act, you need professional medical attention, not incarceration. Get help protecting your future and physical well-being when you contact an experienced mental health lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group for support. Get started on your defense today by filling out our secure contact form or calling our office.