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When Mental Illness Leads to Criminal Charges in California

 Posted on March 25, 2024 in Criminal Defense

CA defense lawyerPeople who struggle with severe mental illnesses may be unable to control their behavior when they are in an emotionally escalated state. It sometimes happens that a concerned loved one will call 911 in an effort to get help for someone who is having a psychotic break or threatening suicide, only for the mentally ill person to get arrested instead. Fortunately, in California, Laura’s Law provides an opportunity for people who engage in criminal behavior as a direct result of their serious mental illness to get help instead of jail time. A San Jose, CA criminal defense attorney can work to get you into a mental health diversion program.

Do I Qualify for Treatment in Lieu of Punishment Under Laura’s Law? 

If you qualify for a mental health diversion program, you will be required to commit to and regularly attend an assisted outpatient treatment program. These programs are designed to rapidly stabilize individuals who are suffering from serious mental illnesses. You may be relieved of your charges and sent to treatment if you are an adult and meet these qualifications:

  • You have a mental health condition that is getting worse, 
  • You have recently been admitted to a psychiatric hospital or received mental health care in jail or prison, or you have threatened or carried out violence towards yourself or others within the past two years. 
  • You have failed to take advantage of opportunities for mental healthcare, a common issue for people with psychotic disorders, 
  • A qualified mental health or medical professional determines that you cannot safely live in the community unsupervised, 
  • You need to be in a mental health treatment program, or your condition will probably deteriorate, causing you to harm yourself or others, 
  • You will likely benefit from these services and see improvement in your condition, 
  • An outpatient care program is the least restrictive option for keeping you stable. 

Attorney Nick Fuller is experienced in working with criminal defendants who need mental health services, not jail time. He is dedicated to helping people whose mental illness has led them to commit a crime and understands how serious mental illnesses can prevent a person from complying with the law. If you qualify for assisted outpatient treatment under Laura’s Law, he will file a petition on your behalf and do all he can to get you into this intensive mental health care program.

Contact a San Jose, CA Mental Health Diversion Lawyer 

Fuller Law Firm will work to help you get the mental health care you need to become stable and live a more normal life. Dedicated Santa Clara County, CA mental health diversion attorney Nick Fuller will work to limit your involvement with the criminal justice system. Contact us at 408-234-7563 for a free consultation.

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