What Are the Benefits of Mental Health Diversion?

PC 1001.36 and Mental Health Pretrial Diversion


Penal Code 1001.36 allows for a court to grant pretrial diversion for individuals with diagnosable mental health disorders. There are several factors that determine a person’s eligibility for the program, including whether the offender’s mental disorder was a significant factor in the commission of the offense and whether the disorder is one identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

While some disorders are automatically excluded, such as antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia, many people are eligible. It is important to discuss your case with a licensed criminal defense attorney to determine whether mental health diversion would apply and is suitable for your situation.

Benefits of Mental Health Diversion

If performed satisfactorily, the defendant’s criminal charges will be dismissed by the court at the end of the diversion program. In addition, if the charges are dismissed, then the arrest will be deemed never to have occurred. The court orders that the arrest record be restricted or sealed pursuant to Penal Code 1001.9.

Mental health diversion requires that the offender complies with treatment. In addition, the court must be satisfied that the offender would respond to mental health treatment in order to qualify. In many cases, the treatment required can help an offender who is suffering from a mental health disorder get the professional counseling and assistance they need. In some cases, this is the only treatment they have received despite having a diagnosable disorder.

Qualifying for Mental Health Diversion

Not all offenses are eligible for mental health diversion. Because there are specific qualifications that must be met, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney as early as possible. For example, a defendant must have received a recent diagnosis by a qualified mental health expert, and the court must be satisfied with a number of conditions.