If you are accused of committing a serious crime, one of the things you may be interested in is a mental health diversion. The Mental Health Diversion is a statute and law that came into effect in June 2018 through California Senate Bill 215. This allows certain defendants to go through mental health treatments and diversion from the traditional sentencing process.

The court is able to look at the positions of both the prosecution and defense, to allow for pretrial diversion and to allow the defendant to seek treatment. To be able to use this diversion, the court will need to be satisfied that the individual has a serious mental health condition. The court also has to agree that the person’s condition was a significant factor in the commission of the charges.

A qualified mental health expert must be able to state that the criminal behavior would respond to mental health treatment, and the defendant has to agree to waive the right to a speedy trial in exchange for diversion. The defendant would be expected to comply with treatment as a condition of the diversion from the traditional court track.

There are some cases that cannot be diverted, such as those involving voluntary manslaughter or murder, rape, assault with the intent to commit rape, oral copulation or sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts on children under 14 and several others.

For people who truly have mental health disorders that have affected the way they act, this can be an excellent way to get them the health care and support that they need and to reduce the likelihood of a re-offense. Your attorney can talk to you about this process if you think it may be right for yourself or your loved one who has committed an offense.