There can be instances when a person is charged with a crime in Lakewood, despite the fact that they are dealing with a mental health issue. In these instances, authorities may try to punish an individual to the fullest extent of the law. However, this individual may be able to avoid jail or prison time based on their mental health problem.
At Simmrin Law Group, we offer legal assistance to people involved in criminal cases. If you are involved in a criminal case in Lakewood and need an experienced lawyer to represent you, we can help. Get in touch with our law firm, and we can connect you with a Lakewood mental health lawyer that can review your case.
The Role of Mental Competence in Criminal Cases in Lakewood
Questions can arise about a defendant’s mental competency in a Lakewood criminal case. For example, a defendant may not understand the criminal charge against them or be unaware that they actually committed a crime. In either of these instances, the defendant may be deemed mentally incompetent.
To be found mentally incompetent, an individual must undergo a psychiatric evaluation. If the evaluation shows this person is mentally incompetent, they may be placed in the care and supervision of a California mental health facility. You may remain in the facility’s care for years, depending on your treatment results.
A Lakewood mental health attorney can represent those who may be mentally incompetent. The lawyer can help a defendant undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if they are mentally competent. This attorney also advocates for their client and makes sure they receive any mental health treatments they need.
For a free legal consultation with a mental health lawyer serving Lakewood, call (310) 896-2723
When an Insanity Plea Can Be Submitted in a Lakewood Criminal Case
A “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea can be submitted in a criminal case in Lakewood. If a defendant uses this plea, they must provide sufficient evidence to show they were legally insane at the time a crime was committed. To be considered legally insane, the defendant must prove they did not know the nature of the crime they committed, understand the crime, or have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong when the crime was committed.
Following a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, a court or jury may find the defendant is sane, which can lead to a punishment. Comparatively, the defendant may be deemed legally insane, and this individual may then be placed in a mental health treatment program. The defendant may remain in this program for the same amount of time as the maximum sentence for their crime.
A mental health lawyer in Lakewood can help a defendant determine if it is worthwhile to submit a not guilty by reason of insanity plea. The attorney can answer a defendant’s questions about a criminal charge and the penalties associated with it. Most importantly, the lawyer can work with the defendant to determine the best course of action to argue against any charges against them.
Lakewood Mental Health Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
How the Mental Health Diversion Program in California Works
California offers a Mental Health Diversion program that allows someone accused of a crime to undergo mental health treatment as needed. The program is defined under Penal Code 1001.36 as a form of “pretrial diversion.” Upon successful completion of the program, a defendant may be able to have any criminal charges against them dismissed.
You can request to join California’s Mental Health Diversion program at any point prior to sentencing in a Lakewood criminal case. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder (excluding antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or pedophilia) and received diagnosis and treatment of it within the last five years
- Show the court that there is no clear and convincing evidence that indicates your mental health disorder was a motivating, causal, or contributing factor to your alleged offense
- Have a qualified mental health expert state that they believe you would respond well to mental health treatment
- Consent to diversion and give up your right to a speedy trial
- Agree to follow through with treatment under diversion
- Show the court that you will not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety
A mental health attorney in Lakewood can teach you about the diversion program and help you figure out if you are a good candidate for it. If so, your attorney can work with you to build a compelling argument to show the court you deserve to join the program. If your lawyer succeeds, you may be able to have any criminal charges against you dropped.
What to Expect if You Begin Mental Health Diversion in California
At most, mental health diversion in California lasts two years. You may require inpatient or outpatient treatment in the program. You may be required to pay for the costs of your treatment.
As you complete mental health diversion, regular reports will be created to track your progress. These reports will be shared with you and the prosecutor in your case. Based on your reports, the court may determine if a hearing will be held to determine if your treatment program should be modified, criminal proceedings should commence once again, or if you should be referred for conservatorship proceedings.
The court may request a hearing while you are involved in mental health diversion if you commit a crime during the program. It may also request a hearing if a mental health expert finds your progress in the program is not satisfactory or that you are gravely disabled. In any of these scenarios, your attorney can review any charges against you and help you build your case.
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What to Look for in a Mental Health Attorney in Lakewood
A Lakewood mental health lawyer should take the time, energy, and resources necessary to learn about you and your criminal case. The lawyer makes no assumptions. Rather, the attorney gets as much information as possible to ensure they can represent you properly in court.
Also, it is important to partner with an attorney that has plenty of criminal case experience. The lawyer understands California’s Penal Code and can teach you about it. Plus, the attorney knows how to navigate the legal system and help you dispute any criminal charges against you.
Simmrin Law Group is ready to help people in need of a qualified mental health lawyer in Lakewood. To connect with our Lakewood mental health attorney, please contact us today.