Pursuant to Hillsborough County Administrative Order S-2017-036, a mental health court has been established in Hillsborough County to keep jails from becoming repositories for the mentally ill. If you or a loved one have been arrested in Hillsborough County and have mental health issues you may be eligible to have the case transferred to Mental Health Court.
What is Mental Health Division “M”?
Division M was established as the specialized subdivision in the Circuit Criminal Division monitoring (a) eligible defendants who are identified as having a mental illness for voluntary admission into a mental health pre-trial intervention program; (b) eligible defendants found incompetent to proceed, and (c) all defendants adjudged not guilty by reason of insanity.
What Is the Mental Health Pre-trial Intervention Program?
Eligible defendants who are identified as having a mental illness may be placed in the Mental Health Pre-Trial Intervention Program in accordance with an agreement between the defendant and the State Attorney’s Office. The court shall dismiss the charges upon a finding that the defendant has successfully completed the pretrial intervention program. See Section 948.08(8)(b), Florida Statutes.
What Happens When Defendants Are Found Incompetent to Proceed?
A presiding judge of a standard division may transfer to Division “M” any defendant charged with a third-degree felony not involving a firearm who is found to be incompetent to proceed.
Why Did Hillsborough County Expand Eligibility for Mental Health Court Cases?
The goal of the Mental Health Court is to prevent local jails from becoming holding cells for people with mental illnesses. Mentally ill defendants will receive the evaluation and treatment they need to get better and stay out of jail. This means treatment, not incarceration.
People with serious mental illness often cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. The Mental Health Court is an avenue to keep non-violent, mentally ill individuals in the community with appropriate services and support.
Should I contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you or a loved one have been arrested in Hillsborough County and have mental health issues it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to have your case transferred to Mental Health Court which can keep you from going to jail and give you access to treatment and a chance to improve your life.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
If you or someone you know needs help understanding Mental Health Court, Fernandez & Hernandez will guide you through the process and may be able to assist you in getting the outcome you deserve. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Mental Health Court call Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation.
The criminal defense attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez will work diligently to get your case transferred to Mental Health Court if you have mental health issues and are amenable to treatment. Transfer to Mental Health Court can be complex. It is important to have the right lawyer to defend you.
The attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez are bilingual and will provide a free and confidential consultation so that you can discuss your situation. Fernandez & Hernandez can help you understand all of your options and may be able to help you find a solution to your problem.
Tampa Criminal defense attorney Daniel J. Fernandez has experience with Mental Health Court cases and will work diligently to get your situation resolved. Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez can help guide you through the system. If you need assistance with Mental Health Court, call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at (813) 229- 5353.