/ 5.29.23

What Mental Health Conditions Qualify for Diversion?

Written by: Doug Ridley

What to Know About Qualifying for Mental Health Diversion in California

Recognizing the mental health crisis that is happening across the United States, California courts implemented a diversion program. The program allows individuals who have a diagnosable mental health condition to enter diversion in lieu of a criminal sentence. However, not all mental health conditions are eligible for the program.

At Ridley Defense, we help individuals who have been charged with a crime while suffering from a mental health condition understand their rights including their right to diversion. Founder Douglas Ridley helped to establish the diversion program in Ventura County. He and the entire team at Ridley Defense are well-versed in handling even the most complex cases. 

If you have been charged with a crime that was committed as a result of a mental health condition, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

Conditions that Qualify for Mental Health Diversion in California

To qualify for mental health diversion a person must have been diagnosed with a mental health condition identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The latest edition is the DSM-5-TR, published in 2022.

Qualifying mental health conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizoaffective disorder

The mental health condition must be diagnosed by a qualified health professional and must have played a significant role in the commission of the crime. A qualifying condition must have been diagnosed within the past five years. If you are charged with a criminal offense while having a mental health condition, you need to speak with an attorney. An attorney can help determine whether you would qualify for diversion. 

Conditions that Do Not Qualify for Diversion

Certain mental health conditions do not qualify for diversion by statute. Penal Code Section 1001.36 defines eligibility for mental health diversion in the state, including the conditions that do not qualify.

Mental health conditions that do not qualify:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Pedophilia

In addition to having a qualifying condition, the court must be satisfied that the person would respond well to treatment. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney as early in the process as possible. Early intervention often proves critical in cases.

Other Requirements for Mental Health Diversion

In order to qualify a person must also not pose an “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” The court may consider a number of factors to determine whether a person poses an unreasonable risk of danger including the opinion of the district attorney, defense counsel, and a mental health expert. Furthermore, the court may look at the proposed treatment plan and the person’s criminal history to determine eligibility. 

Contact Our Office for a Complimentary Consultation

If you were charged with a criminal offense while suffering from a mental health condition, you might be eligible for diversion. To determine your legal options, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Get the legal help you need now. Our firm proudly serves communities throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.

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