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San Jose Mental Health Diversion Attorney for Laura's Law

Palo Alto criminal attorney for AOT petitions and hearings

Santa Clara County Criminal Defense Lawyer for Cases Involving Assisted Outpatient Treatment

Mental health is a significant issue that affects many people throughout the United States. There are a variety of mental illnesses that may impact a person's overall health and well-being while also affecting their relationships with others and the ways they interact with people in their communities. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to receive the proper treatment for these conditions, especially when a person has limited financial resources. Many people in these situations become caught up in the criminal justice system, and they may face criminal charges for a variety of offenses related to mental health issues. Fortunately, mental health assistance and diversion programs are available, including programs that provide assisted outpatient treatment (AOT).

AOT programs in California have been created through "Laura's Law," which has expanded access to mental health services for people who are in need of intervention. This law was passed in response to the murder of a woman by a man who had severe, untreated mental health issues. By ensuring that individuals who suffer from serious mental illnesses will be able to receive treatment when they need it, the law is intended to prevent these types of incidents in the future. At Fuller Law Firm, we work to help people who have been charged with crimes understand their options for participating in diversion programs, including in cases where a person has been affected by mental illness. We can help these individuals or their loved ones determine the best ways to receive mental health treatment while protecting their rights and addressing the criminal charges they may be facing.

What Are the Criteria for Treatment Under Laura's Law?

Assisted outpatient treatment was formerly known as "involuntary outpatient commitment," and it has historically been used in situations where people are required to receive treatment by mental health providers. The passage of Laura's Law has provided government officials with a process for determining when AOT may be necessary and when it may be ordered by a court. Multiple parties may file a petition for assisted outpatient treatment, including family members and mental health treatment providers. When a person is involved in a criminal case, AOT may be recommended by a police officer, parole officer, probation officer, or judge.

To qualify for AOT, a person will need to meet the following criteria:

  • They are at least 18 years old.
  • They are currently suffering from the effects of a mental illness, and their condition is deteriorating.
  • They have either been hospitalized or received services from the mental health unit of a correctional facility twice within the past 36 months or have engaged in at least one act of violent or threatening behavior toward themselves or others within the past 48 months.
  • They have had the opportunity to receive mental health treatment but have failed to do so.
  • A mental health professional or other medical provider has made a clinical determination that they will be unlikely to be able to live safely in their community without supervision.
  • AOT is needed to prevent a deterioration of a person's condition that would likely lead to harm to the person or to others.
  • It is likely that the person will benefit from receiving AOT.
  • AOT is the least restrictive form of treatment that will allow a person to address their current mental health concerns and maintain ongoing stability.

After an AOT petition is filed, a court hearing may be held to determine whether intervention is necessary, and if so, what types of treatment a person should receive. Prior to this hearing, a person may enter into a settlement agreement and consent to treatment. AOT ordered through a hearing or settlement agreement may last for up to 180 days. A person has the right to be represented by an attorney during this process.

Contact Our Fremont Criminal Defense Attorney for Mental Health Diversion

Our firm can provide representation for people in criminal cases or other situations involving AOT petitions, and we will work to protect our clients' rights while helping them make sure they receive the proper treatment for mental health issues. We can also assist family members who are looking to make sure their loved ones will receive the proper care in situations where mental illnesses may affect their safety. To get the legal help you need in cases where mental health is a factor, contact us at 408-234-7563 and arrange a free consultation today. We represent clients throughout Santa Clara County and Alameda County, including San Jose, Palo Alto, Fremont, and Gilroy.

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