Mental Health Diversion Available Before Sentencing or Start of the Trial?

Sep 14, 2022


Mental health diversion is a pretrial program in California that diverts individuals from the criminal justice system into mental health treatment in lieu of facing a criminal trial or conviction. This is an alternative, created for individuals where mental health played a significant part in their alleged crime. However, is it available after the entry of a guilty/no contest plea or the commencement of trial?

In People v. Curry (2021) 62 Cal. App. 4th 314 that defendant was eligible for mental health diversion at any time prior to sentencing, including after a verdict at trial (Curry).  Id., at 325. Penal Code 1001.36’s provisions regarding mental health diversion were interpreted simply as being available as the statute stated, “until adjudication.” The Appellate court in Curry acknowledged that this may encourage defendants to engage in strategies to reserve a diversion motion after taking a shot at trial (Curry, supra, at 325, fn. 4).

This sort of loophole was, recently, highlighted in another opinion. In People v. Cory Juan Braden, Jr. (2021 DJDAR 3679), another appellate district disagreed with Curry and set  up the California Supreme Court for a ruling to resolve this conflict between the appellate court districts. In Braden, the Fourth District pointed out that in the text of 1001.36, it refers to mental health diversion as a “pretrial” program. The San Bernardino County Superior Court judge ruled Mental Health Diversion is strictly a pretrial program. So by starting a trial, a defendant would waive the right to this program.  The California Supreme Court will have to decide whether the legislature intended for the program to be available after trial.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, and think you may be eligible for the Mental health diversion pretrial program, contact us at once for your free consultation. As you can see it is very important to consider this prior to the entry of a plea deal or the commencement of  trial.  Get a legal team on your side well versed in this program who are committed to providing the best criminal defense for you.

Category: Criminal Defense

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.

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Michael E. Mitchell, at the Mitchell Law Group, Inc., is one of the top DUI defense attorneys in Fresno, California. He has over a decade of experience handling DUI cases throughout the Central Valley, including in Clovis, Madera, Tulare, Visalia. He is a certified field sobriety instructor and practitioner under the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association. His advice and knowledge is, routinely, sought after by other attorneys practicing in the area of DUI defense. He is an expert in the area of DUI defense in both Federal, State, and on the Appellate level. If you're looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Fresno to handle your case, give us a call today to see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.