California mental health courts (MHCs) are alternatives to traditional options. In a criminal case, an MHC can offer services and support to help a defendant cope with a mental illness. At the same time, an MHC can help a defendant improve their quality of life.
At Simmrin Law Group, we can teach you everything you need to know about California mental health courts and how they may apply to your criminal case. Reach out to a California mental health courts attorney from our team. When you do, we can review your case and help you determine if it can be beneficial to pursue help from an MHC.
California Mental Health Courts Definition
A mental health court promotes problem-solving. It provides a defendant dealing with a mental health issue access to rehabilitative services and support. If the court is successful, it can simultaneously reduce the risk that the defendant will engage in future criminal activities.
For defendants that want services and support from a California MHC, they must meet various criteria, including:
- Have a mental illness that can be connected to the defendant’s illegal behaviors
- Provide consent for voluntary participation in a mental health court program
- Undergo a mental health screening
- Receive a referral
- Have their case managed by a team of professionals that includes mental health providers, members of the justice system, and others
Research suggests California MHCs can have a positive impact on defendants. It indicates that defendants are less likely to get arrested after participating in an MHC program than they would if they received standard penalties. Also, research shows defendants are more likely to spend fewer days in jail if they join an MHC program in lieu of jail or prison time.
How to Determine if You Should Participate in a California Mental Health Courts Program
If you are facing criminal charges in California and there is a possibility of involving a mental health court, you need legal help. At this point, you can hire a California mental health attorney. This allows you to work with a lawyer that advocates for you and helps you understand the ramifications of any legal decisions you make.
A mental health lawyer in California knows the ins and outs of criminal defense cases. The attorney can explain the pros and cons of going through a California mental health court. In addition, the lawyer can review your case and offer personalized legal recommendations.
It is important to select a mental health attorney in California who responds to a client’s questions. This attorney can give you insights into MHCs and how they work. From here, you can make an informed decision about what to do in your criminal case.
What to Expect When You Partner with a California Mental Health Courts Lawyer
Your attorney makes no assumptions regarding your criminal case. Rather, your lawyer commits the time, energy, and resources necessary to understand your case and the charges you are facing. Next, your lawyer considers the impact of your mental well-being on your litigation.
Based on your mental health, your attorney may ask the court to provide you with a psychiatric evaluation. Next, the evaluation can be used to assess your mental well-being. It may ultimately prove that you are not capable of understanding the charges against you and are incompetent to stand trial.
In this scenario, you may be able to submit an insanity plea. This indicates you were unaware of the crime you were committing as it was happening or aware of what you were doing but did not realize it was wrong. With an insanity plea, you may be able to get mental health treatments and therapies and avoid a lengthy jail or prison sentence.
How a California Mental Health Courts Lawyer Builds Your Argument
Your attorney encourages you to provide as much information as you can about your case. This allows your lawyer to understand your case and review potential options for defending you in court. Plus, your lawyer can build a defense designed to help you get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
In instances where a defendant’s mental health is in question, an attorney may look for a wide range of medical evidence. For example, your attorney may ask you to provide any medical records that indicate if you were diagnosed with any mental health issues. These records may help your attorney show the court that you are dealing with mental health issues and the severity of these problems.
There can be times when an attorney is unable to show the court that their client’s mental health had no impact on this individual’s criminal charges. At these times, a lawyer remains flexible. The lawyer will reevaluate the case and consider new ways to help the client achieve optimal results.
When to Reach Out to a Mental Health Courts Lawyer in California
If you are facing a criminal charge in California, reach out to a mental health lawyer right away. The lawyer can take a look at your charge and begin the process of contesting it. If it is in your best interest to request a psychiatric evaluation from the court, your attorney will make sure this is done immediately.
As you look for a lawyer to represent you in your criminal case, consider the following factors:
- The lawyer’s experience in cases involving California mental health courts
- The lawyer’s willingness to communicate and collaborate with their clients
- The lawyer’s dedication to helping their clients in any way possible
An initial meeting with a mental health lawyer is a valuable learning opportunity for you and the attorney. You can ask questions and get insights into how the lawyer will approach your case, and the lawyer can learn from you as well. Following the meeting, you can decide if the lawyer can handle your criminal case.
Get Started with a California Mental Health Courts Attorney
Simmrin Law Group is available to help you with your criminal case. To learn more or request a free consultation, contact us today.