When you live with mental illness or experience a temporary mental health crisis and then face some sort of legal action, whether criminal charges or placement under an involuntary mental health hold, you are much more vulnerable to unjust outcomes.
You, and your rights, must be protected from these outcomes. An experienced Ontario mental health lawyer from Simmrin Law Group can give you that protection. With compassion and knowledge of both mental health and criminal law, your attorney will work to bring the healthiest, safest, most appropriate outcome to your situation.
Put Under Improper Hold
Under California’s Welfare and Institutions Code, authorized peace officers and mental health professionals can put a person in mental distress under a 5150 hold. The 5150 is a 72-hour involuntary hold in a mental health facility. If you are placed under a 5150, your consent is not required, and you cannot refuse involuntary placement.
When 5150 Holds Can Be Issued
There are only three specific circumstances that allow for you, or anyone else, to be placed under a 5150 hold:
- You are a danger, or potential danger, to yourself.
- You are a danger, or potential danger, to others.
- You are suffering from a “grave disability” and cannot provide yourself with the necessities of food, clothes, or shelter.
Authorized professionals may put you under these holds after an interaction or altercation with you or when someone else calls for help on your behalf.
Unnecessary 5150 Holds
Sometimes, professionals misinterpret a situation. Sometimes, an angry partner or family member will call authorities and make false claims about you. These situations can lead to unwarranted 5150 holds, and you need a mental health lawyer in Ontario to work for your release.
A 5150 can end before or at the 72-hour mark. However, if facility treatment providers decide you need continued treatment, they can seek additional holds, starting with the 14-day 5250 hold. This longer hold also brings additional long-term consequences.
You have the right to fight any additional holds, and with stakes that high, you need an experienced Ontario mental health attorney on your side.
For a free legal consultation with a mental health lawyer serving Ontario, call (310) 896-2723
Mental Health Conditions and Criminal Convictions
If you are facing criminal charges but also live with or suffered from a mental health episode at the time of the alleged criminal act, a mental health lawyer in Ontario is best equipped to handle your case.
Two key factors contribute to how your case goes through the legal process:
- Are you currently competent to stand trial?
- Were you legally sane at the time you allegedly committed the criminal act?
These two factors are not dependent on each other. In other words, you may have been legally sane at the time of the act but are currently incompetent to stand trial. Or, you may have suffered a psychotic episode at the time of the crime but are now able to stand trial. Your Ontario mental health lawyer will ensure you undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine your present condition and your state at the time of the alleged act.
Incompetency and Insanity
You may be found incompetent to stand trial if you cannot demonstrate understanding of the charges against you and cannot assist in your own defense. Under this determination, you will be assigned to a psychiatric facility until you reach competency. If you do not reach competency after three years, you will undergo a hearing to decide on long-term treatment.
The burden of proving legal insanity falls on your mental health attorney in Ontario, as all citizens are considered sane until proven otherwise. You may be found legally insane if a psychiatric evaluation shows you were either:
- Unaware of what you are doing when you perpetrated the alleged criminal act
- Aware of your actions but unaware they were wrong
Whatever the situation, as a person suffering from or who has suffered from a mental condition, you are especially vulnerable under the criminal justice system. It is critical for you to have representation from an accomplished Ontario mental health attorney.
Ontario Mental Health Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
You May Qualify for a Mental Health Diversion
Jail or prison time is often not the appropriate consequence for criminal acts committed by a person with a mental health issue. California Law recognizes this and has established mental health diversion programs as an option for more appropriate means of rehabilitation, but not everyone qualifies. A skilled mental health lawyer from Simmrin Law Group will pursue every means possible to help you secure your qualification.
To be eligible for a mental health diversion program, you must first show you are not a threat to yourself or others and then fulfill these additional qualifications:
- You have been diagnosed with a mental health issue.
- Your mental health issue played a role in your commission of the criminal act.
- You agree to waive certain rights, such as the right to a speedy trial.
There are disqualifying factors as well. Those charged with certain violent or sex-related crimes, who have multiple prior convictions, or who have particular mental health disorders such as pedophilia, antisocial or borderline personality disorder most likely will not qualify. The court will also consider the specific circumstances of the alleged crime in making their determination.
The Benefits of a Mental Health Diversion Program
Foremost, these programs provide you with opportunities for rehabilitation and treatment. Unlike a harsh jail or prison setting, where you face many dangers and not much support, diversion programs offer evaluation, counseling, and other forms of treatment.
Once you complete the terms of your mental health diversion program, the prosecution will drop or dismiss the charges against you, meaning the charges will not appear on your criminal record. As a result, the charges cannot affect other rights, such as your right to vote or own a firearm, and will not cause the revocation of professional licenses.
Program requirements and duration vary based on the specifics of your situation. Your attorney will make sure you understand all parameters. To have your record cleared, you must complete the program. If you do not, the prosecution can move ahead with the criminal charges.
Help Is Available Today
Simmrin Law Group is dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, especially those most vulnerable to mistreatment under the criminal justice system. When defendants with mental illness fight the system alone or with inferior representation, the system usually fails them.
Reach out to us today and talk to an empathetic and experienced mental health attorney in Ontario. Your attorney will be on your side from day one.