Mental Health Courts

Southern California Mental Health Courts Lawyer

The California Mental Health Court System

Criminal defense and mental health may be separate legal issues for some, but for others they are entirely intertwined with one another. When a person meets the criteria listed in the definition of insanity, then any criminal offense for which they are charged could be due in large part to their mental incapacitation. Therefore, sanity hearings and mental health courts have been established in order to provide mentally ill persons with judicial supervision as well as mental health treatment within the community.

The first mental health court was implemented in California in 1999, and since then several have been introduced in the state, including Ventura's Mental Health Court and Department 95 which can be found in Los Angeles.

  • Within the felony/ misdemeanor unit of the Ventura County District Attorney, mental health cases are handled. The county court works to initiate Murphy Conservatorships for those who have been deemed mentally incompetent to face the criminal proceedings in store for them. In addition, the Ventura court handles the assessment, review, and drafting of petitions used to legally commit mentally ill individuals to a recommended state hospital.
  • If you are in or around the Los Angeles area and you need to address the legal issues of a mental/ criminal offense, then you will likely find yourself in the mental health department of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, also known as Department 95. Daily proceedings are held within the department in which a Supervising Judge for Mental Health will preside over issues of commitment extensions, sanity hearings, and mentally disordered offenders.

Whether you need your petition instated or extended, a Southern California mental health attorney from our firm can help you do so at one of these county courts or at any of the state's other mental health courts.

Mental Health Court Attorney Serving Ventura and Los Angeles

It is important to keep in mind that one's participation in the mental health courts is completely voluntary. Consent must be given by the defendant in order to participate in the program. However, it can be difficult to rely 100% on your decision making abilities when you suffer from any kind of mental illness or you are plagued by bouts of insanity. Therefore, a lawyer from Lessem & Newstat, LLP could help you maintain the rights you are legally entitled to under the statues provided to mental health disability patients.

It is the ultimate goal of the mental health courts to provide the criminally accused that suffer from mental illness with fair and just treatment and representation. This often means trying cases somewhat differently than a normal criminal offense. Instead, pleas of not guilty by insanity and commitment to a treament vs. jail are commonly practiced. If you are considering taking your case to one of Southern California's mental health courts, then you should not wait to contact an attorney from our firm. The earlier we are able to intervene in your case, the better able we will be to support and defend you against the allegations that have been made in your name.

Learn more about how the mental health court systems operate. Contact a Southern California mental health lawyer from the firm today.

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