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What Are the Benefits of California Mental Health Diversion Programs?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose, CA criminal defense attorney

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, which can vary in the degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Mental illness is a factor in many criminal cases, and the State of California recognizes that mental health assistance may often be a more effective response than incarceration for those facing charges. Under California law, many criminal defendants are eligible for a pretrial mental health diversion program that allows them to get the treatment they need to manage their mental illness.

Who Is Eligible for Mental Health Assistance in California?

Mental health assistance may be available to defendants facing a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges, with the exception of some offenses including murder, rape, and sexual abuse. To be considered, defendants must have a diagnosed mental disorder that significantly contributed to the crime of which they are accused, and a mental health expert must attest that the defendant is a good candidate for treatment.

How Does Mental Health Diversion Help Defendants?

If you are facing criminal charges, pretrial mental health diversion can help in several ways:

  1. Postponement of prosecution: If you are admitted into a mental health diversion program, you can avoid the stresses of a lengthy public trial, at least for a period of up to two years during which you are receiving mental health treatment.

  2. Dismissal of charges: If you successfully complete the mental health diversion program, your charges can be dismissed and you can avoid conviction. This may protect you from paying high fines or serving time in prison, and it also prevents a conviction on your record that could impact future job opportunities or repeat offender charges.

  3. Access to quality treatment: Participation in a diversion program allows you to receive quality mental health treatment that can help you cope with your mental illness and lower the risk of detrimental behavior recurring. Your treatment program may also help you establish a plan for long-term care that puts your mental health in good hands well into the future.

If you are a candidate for a mental health diversion program, your criminal defense attorney can help you obtain the evidence and testimony you need to demonstrate your eligibility to the court so that you can start working toward a long-term solution.

Contact an Alameda County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, you need skilled legal counsel to advocate on your behalf and help you navigate the system for the best possible outcome. At the accomplished Fuller Law Office, we are committed to providing quality defense representation for clients facing all manner of criminal charges. We will pursue every possible approach to help you avoid conviction or reduce your sentence and give you the opportunity for a second chance. Contact our tenacious Fremont criminal defense attorney today at 408-234-7563 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1001.36.&lawCode=PEN

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

 

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