Orange County Mental Health Diversion

Applying for Mental Health Diversion Under Penal Code 1001.36

Senate Bill 215 was signed into law on June 26, 2018 allowing for courts to grant defendants suffering from certain mental health disorders pretrial diversion. In Orange County, you must file a motion in writing with the court.  Not all offenders will be eligible for the program. Under Penal Code 1001.36, a defendant must have a recent diagnosis of a mental disorder identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Some of the most commonly accepted are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. A person diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder or pedophilia will not be eligible for mental health diversion.

Additionally, the court must find that the “defendant’s mental disorder was a significant factor in the commission of the charged offense.” The type of crime committed may preclude an offender from eligibility. The following offenses are not eligible for pretrial diversion pursuant to Penal Code 1001.36:

  • “Murder or voluntary manslaughter.
  • An offense for which a person, if convicted, would be required to register pursuant to Section 290, except for a violation of Section 314.
  • Lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 years of age.
  • Assault with intent to commit rape, sodomy or oral copulation, in violation of Section 220.
  • Commission of rape or sexual penetration in concern with another person, in violation of Section 264.1.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child, in violation of Section 288.5.
  • A violation of subdivision (b) or (b) of Section 11418.”

If the court admits a defendant into pretrial diversion, they must complete a treatment program. The treatment program must be completed in two years or less. The court must also find that the defendant has a long-term plan for mental health treatment and is not a danger to society if treated in the community.

Orange County offers a number of programs for people suffering from a mental health disorder. It is important to get the facts and understand your rights prior to accepting a plea agreement.